Emirates NBD, a leading bank in the region, announced today that it will serve as Lead Partner to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit - Entrepreneurial Ventures of Arabia (GES-EVA), held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, at the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) from December 11 to 12, 2012.
A catalyst for economic change, development and knowledge exchange, GES-EVA will bring together the region’s policy makers, regulators, entrepreneurs, SME stakeholders, investors, corporate leaders, incubators, procurement decision makers and key influencers.
“Entrepreneurship is widely associated with innovation, diversification and sustainability, the key elements for the success and welfare of any economy,” Suvo Sarkar, General Manager, Retail Banking, Emirates NBD, said. “With global economy increasing its dependence on small and medium-sized enterprises, the need to bridge ties among various stakeholders is crucial, especially if we want to maintain our socio-economic sustainability and help create employment opportunities. Emirates NBD is pleased to support the GES-EVA, which is an ideal platform to showcase the UAE’s strong business climate.”
Besides its lead sponsorship of the entire Summit, Emirates NBD will act as an exclusive supporter of a panel discussion themed “SME Financing: How are the Middle East Lenders Lightening the Financial Pressure of SMEs?”
“Small and medium-sized enterprises are among the most resilient business segments in the United Arab Emirates, and a critical area of focus for Emirates NBD,” said Vikas Thapar, Head of Business Banking, Emirates NBD. “Emirates NBD is pleased to facilitate one of the top debates on SME financing at the upcoming GES-EVA Summit and we hope this discussion will go a long way towards supporting small businesses, as we believe this segment has high-growth capability.”
Helal Saeed Almarri, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, said: “As the region’s definitive platform for encouraging the growth of SMEs, GES-EVA brings together stakeholders from across the SME supply chain, and facilitates their networking with C-level business leaders, policy makers, academicians, and venture capitalists, among others. The participation of Emirates NBD as a Lead Partner of the GES-EVA Summit and Exhibition underlines the strong interest of the region’s leading bank in engaging with the fast-growing SME sector.”
According to official statistics, the UAE has more than 230,000 small and medium-sized companies that contribute more than 30 per cent to the country’s GDP, and employ in excess of 42 per cent of its workforce. While SMEs are widely seen as having considerable potential for growth, they also face challenges in accessing financing. Recent studies state that SMEs have a share of less than 5 per cent of total investment portfolios of banks operating in the Middle East region, compared to almost 25 per cent extended by their peers operating in other developing countries.
To cater to the growing demand from the SME market, Emirates NBD established its Business Banking division in 2009, which has grown over the past few years into a market leader with 24 per cent market share. The main scope of its activities focuses on transaction banking, cash management services, remittances, lending propositions, advisory services, dedicated relationship managers, specialized packages for SMEs, and dedicated teams for products, assets, trade and investments.
As one of the largest local financial services providers in the UAE, Emirates NBD also manages Al Tomooh (Ambition), a financial scheme designed to stimulate creativity and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit amongst UAE Nationals. In keeping with its name, Al Tomooh focuses on supporting small businesses owned by UAE Nationals, where the total required investment cost does not exceed AED 2 million. Emirates NBD also supports several CSR initiatives the latest being its Emirates NBD Global Business Series, a series of networking sessions for SMEs with UAE business icons. The bank also supports several programmes that the UAE leadership has initiated in support of the SME sector including the Khalifa Fund and Dubai SME 100.