Over 1,000 participants attend SME Evolution Programme’s 2011 fall roll out
Potential.com, a leading UAE-based business development company, attracted over 1,000 participants for the second live webinar under its ‘SME Evolution Programme’ in the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Lebanon, registering a 110 per cent increase in participation in comparison to the first edition earlier this year.
The curriculum included new modules based on the success of the initial round of workshops and feedback received from participants. The areas of study included 12 topics focusing on communication and negotiation skill development, financing and funding, leadership, productivity, as well as time management and planning. In addition, mentoring on business development and growth were also provided by the webinar sessions.
A first-of-its-kind initiative, the SME Evolution Programme was launched in the MENA region in response to the sector’s increasing contribution to the region’s economic growth. The programme, which empowers business enterprises with skills and know-how to compete effectively in the international marketplace, includes free weekly webinars in English and Arabic.
Apart from the online training sessions, Potential.com conducts a series of live onsite workshops to help SMEs network with their peers throughout the Middle East and gain mutual support. Specialized experts from universities such as the American University of Beirut and the Carnegie Mellon University, in addition to leading speakers from the event partner organisations are also assigned to extend guidance as well as answer enquiries.
The live training initiative has already earned high credibility and participation in the UAE, Qatar, Oman and Lebanon. Building upon its results-oriented success, the programme aims to foray into new markets including Saudi Arabia and Turkey. Towards this end, Potential has joined hands with Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to sponsor the ‘SME Evolution Programme’ in Saudi Arabia and the region.
SMEs in Saudi Arabia represent almost 93 per cent of total enterprises and account for about 24.7 per cent of total employment. The SME Evolution Programme’s foray into Saudi Arabia comes on the back of extensive surveys carried out by the Council of Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CSCCI) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization that document the main concerns of businessmen including lack of credit to finance capital expenditure.
Zawya and Aramex, two regional success stories, as well as international top market players such as Google, Intel and AllWorld Network, an organization established by Professor Michael E. Porter of the Harvard Business School, are key partners that contribute to the effective delivery of the SME Evolution Programme.
Shadi Banana, Managing Partner of Potential, said: “Since its launch in February 2011, more than 1,000 business owners have participated in the webinars and gained valuable support. The second wave of the SME Evolution Programme reaffirms our commitment to sharing knowledge among keen entrepreneurs. On average, SMEs represent up to 94 per cent of established businesses in Lebanon, Qatar, Oman and the UAE. With the SME Evolution Programme’s launch in Saudi Arabia, we expect a significant boost to the sector. This, in turn, will directly contribute to the overall economic growth of the Saudi Arabia market. We are glad that our initiative is providing the right platform for this sector to notch further growth.”
The SME Evolution Programme allows participants to gain best practices for improving efficiency, expanding presence and growth as well as competing internationally. It also facilitates the creation of job opportunities and provides valuable exposure to small and medium enterprises.
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