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SMBs to defy the global financial crisis

24
Dec '09
SMBs (small and medium-size businesses), the backbone of the UAE economy, will defy the global financial crisis because of lower operating costs and sufficient liquidity on their hands,according to the organisers of the Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) Expo & Conference which will be held from 2 to 4 February, 2010, at the Dubai International Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Mr. Satish Khanna, General Manager, Al Fajer Information and Services organizing the show said: “Until now we didn't agree on a common term for small and medium enterprises. They are called SMBs or SMEs interchangeably. Simply, they are defined as companies whose headcount or turnover falls below certain limits which should be identified.”

The abbreviation SME is used commonly in the European Union and in international organizations, such as the World Bank, the United Nations and the WTO. The term small and medium-size businesses or SMBs is predominantly used in the USA. Khanna added: “Dubai is both a dynamic international business centre and a laid-back tourist getaway. It has long been acknowledged as the trading and re-export hub of the MENA region. The flexibility of opening up a business here made it a hot favorite amongst SMBs.”

The SME Expo and Conference serves as a platform to explore business opportunities, learn the latest SME market trends, establish contacts, enhance export and import, network, explore business opportunities, exchange expertise and display products and services. The lack of a universal definition for SMEs is often considered an obstacle for business studies and market research. Definitions in use today define thresholds in terms of employment, turnover and assets. They also incorporate a reasonable amount of flexibility around year-to-year changes in these measures so that a business qualifying as an SME in one year can have a reasonable expectation of remaining an SME in the next. The thresholds themselves, however, vary substantially between countries.

Khanna added: “SMBs form the pivot of the economic development in the UAE. They have the right directors who understand the market well and have professional techniques to move these companies forward. In addition, their operating costs are low, so they can defy the global crunch and emerge from it with the least damage, if not profit.”

According to the Planning and Economy Department in Abu Dhabi, SMBs constitute 94 percent of the total projects in UAE, followed by 92 per cent in Bahrain, Oman and Qatar, 78 per cent in Kuwait and 75 per cent in KSA. SMBs did not get as seriously affected by the crisis as the large enterprises, which shows their role in confronting the crisis. Importance of effective response to crisis will be discussed by international and local experts at the The Small & Medium Enterprises (SME) Expo & Conference 2010.


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