Potential, a UAE-based business development company headquartered in Dubai, announced this week launch of the ‘SME Evolution Program’, a free web-training program which aims to enhance the global competitiveness of thousands of UAE and MENA small and medium enterprises.
As part of its ongoing support to the SME sector, TECOM Investments, a diversified conglomerate and a member of Dubai Holding, organised the launch of Potential’s program which was unveiled in a press conference with the support of the company’s five key partners: Google and Intel, two leading global blue-chips with big focus on the region, Aramex and Zawya, two leading SME success stories from the region, and Harvard professor Michael Porter’s AllWorld Network which helps advance the growth of companies in emerging markets worldwide.
The press conference this week will be followed by road shows across the MENA region to launch the country versions of the program through relevant local partnerships, including important SME-focused government initiatives.
The Program, aims to help SMEs improve their business efficiency and readiness to be able to compete internationally, expand their business and create more jobs. Over an initial period of six months, the ‘SME Evolution Program’ will provide a valuable blend of more than 50 free ‘webinars’ or online interactive training sessions as well as live workshops in collaboration with professors from top international universities.
“SMEs represent the backbone of the region’s economies, with employment opportunities in some countries representing up to 85% of GDP,” said Shadi Banna, Managing Partner of Potential. Speaking after the press conference, he told SME Advisor: “We plan to quickly reach about 500,000 of them in the first 12 months encouraging a large number of SMEs to attend.” The webinars, tailored to the size of companies, will enable SMEs to participate in focused practical exercises, templates and tools that they could use in their business, he added.
Wael Ghonim, Head of Marketing, MENA at Google, one of the leading partners of Potential in launching the ‘SME Evolution Program’, told SME Advisor: “SMEs are a crucial part of the ecosystem in the region. We’re excited to be part of this initiative as the Internet enables SMEs to be easily reached by their local and international customers and suppliers.”
“Most of the small and medium businesses, especially in emerging markets, don’t have the necessary IT infrastructure to operate efficiently,” said Nassir Nauthoa, General Manager for the GCC, Intel Corporation. “We at Intel provide training and resources to the system builders who serve that market segment so that more small businesses can manage their computing infrastructure efficiently. The SMB sector is the backbone of our economies and empowering their digital proficiency would not only boost their productivity and efficiency but also impact the economy on a macro level.”
Hussein Hachem, Chief Executive Officer for the Middle East and Africa at Aramex, the global logistics and transportation solutions provider, also highlighted the significance of Potential’s initiative in moving SMEs business to a further step of development. “Aramex is very pleased to partner with the ‘SME Evolution Program,’ an important initiative that will help regional small businesses achieve the next stage in their growth. Our support of this initiative reflects the core values and entrepreneurial culture of Aramex, which is committed to leveraging resources, knowledge, expertise and networks to nurture the expansion of SMEs across the region,” said Hachem.
“SMEs represent a significant segment of the Middle East’s economy,” said Gunnar Skoog, CEO, Zawya. “To remain competitive and grow their business, it is crucial that these companies have access to the most up-to-date and comprehensive market intelligence, which is what Zawya provides,” he added. “Our online information platform serves as a business enabler for all types of regional SME’s, including entrepreneurs and start-ups, providing them with innovative tools to promote their business as well as find and connect to potential customers and partners.”
The program will also allow SMEs to network with thousands of their peers throughout the Middle East where they can get support from each other and from other mentors who will be assigned to answer questions and inquiries.
SMEs are invited to register for the free webinars on the following website: www.potential.com/sme-registration