Hamad Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Economic Zones
Dr. Eng. Hamad Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Economic Zones World’s R&D arm Dubai Institute of Technology (DIT) and SVP, Corporate Communications, was recently appointed Vice President of the International Network for Small and Medium Enterprises (INSME), underscoring the potential for SME development in the region.
His appointment was made at the 7th INSME Association Annual Meeting held under the theme “Competitiveness, Culture and Cross-Border Collaboration” in Helsinki, Finland recently. Dr. Eng. Hamad Al Hashemi is one of two serving VPs on the INSME Association Board and the highest ranking Middle Eastern representative.
Commenting on his recent appointment, Al Hashemi said: “I am very honoured to be nominated as Vice President of the newly constituted INSME board. This gives me further opportunity to capitalize on INSME’s expertise and knowledge resource to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SME’s) in the UAE and the region.“
“SMEs are globally recognised as the backbone of any economy and we can do much to support the sector. They play a leading role in the UAE’s economic progress. SMEs make up 95 per cent of total businesses in Dubai, employ 42 per cent of the work force, and contribute 40 per cent of the emirate's gross domestic product. SME sector offers the most economical use of capital in relation to job creation and provides the strongest growth channel for regional development. Enabling the sector with a productive and innovative environment and appropriate financing is crucial to sustaining long-term economic growth. INSME and its vast member network can play an important role in this area in the region. While Middle Eastern nations were examining financing options and looking into sustainable solutions for the future of SMEs, there were plenty of untapped opportunities and potential for development,” he added.
A senior World Bank official recently stressed the need for banks to expand lending to small businesses across the Arab world saying at present only 8 per cent on average of bank lending goes to SMEs which is low compared to international standards. Approximately US$2 billion (Dh7.34bn) is being made available to SME initiatives through the Arab Development Fund, created last year by Arab finance ministers.
The 7th INSME Annual Meeting on “Competitiveness, Culture and Cross-Border Co-operation: Assisting SMEs to Grow, Innovate and Reach International Markets” took place recently in Helsinki, Finland. This event was organised in collaboration with EPROCA – European Pro Cluster Association (INSME Member) and supported by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, the Finnish Innovation Fund – Sitra, the City of Helsinki and the British and Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce in Finland.
The Rome-based INSME Association is engaged in stimulating trans-national cooperation and public-private partnership in the field of innovation and technology transfer to SMEs. The INSME Association currently includes 80 Members from 5 continents: 16 governmental bodies, 17 International Organisations, 12 International NGOs and representatives of 33 networks and intermediaries acting in the field of innovation and technology transfer to SMEs.