SME Advisor Summit sneak peek! SME Advisor Summit sneak peek!

The SME Advisor Summit, held on the morning and afternoon before the awards, proved a huge crowd pleaser. Entrepreneurs and business people gathered for a day packed with keynote speeches from renowned international and regional entrepreneurs, an informative panel discussion, workshops and one-on-one consultations for attendees. Here is a sample of what’s to come in next month’s edition of the magazine!

Internationally renowned keynote speaker

Jeff Leach, Co-Founder, N_K_D Pizza

“My journey began in New Orleans in 2006. Following hurricane Katrina, the city became a hub for entrepreneurs. I got into the pizza business for the same reason a bank robber robs and bank – because that’s where the money is and pizza is where the people are! It took three years to develop the pizza and we renamed it Naked Pizza, naked in that there was nothing unnatural in our pizza, so basically it’s an easy brand and a fun brand. So I set up a tiny store, about 498 square feet, the building leans and the roof still leaks till this day! And from that tiny little building we became the most blogged about restaurant in the world over a year and a half ago and still are today as far as I know!”

Jeff Leach, Co-founder, N_K_D Pizza addressing the audience during his keynote speech


Claire Fenner, Co-Founder, Heels & Deals

“I consider myself quite a new entrepreneur – it was only three years ago that I set up my own company, but those three years have been the most amazing of my life and in terms of the learning curve. Many people feel that they are not big enough to become an entrepreneur or that their business is insignificant in comparison to all the talk about global economies, but in the words of the late Dame Anita Roddick: ‘If you feel that you’re not big enough to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito!’ There is one thing that unites entrepreneurs and makes them different. A lot of people have ideas but never actually do anything about it. With entrepreneurs there is a can do attitude, a belief in themselves and a stubbornness not settle for anything less than reaching for the stars!”

Claire Fenner, Co-founder, Heels & Deals


Ashraf Ghori, Founder of Xpanse CGI Dubai-based filmmaker

“One thing that marks entrepreneurs out from a crowd is their inability in accept no for an answer and to give up after initial rejection. It took me man years of working small gigs and planning and finishing my education before I finally set up my own business in 2007 here in Dubai, with an ambition to concentrate more on the quality of my work and the satisfaction of customers with this work. I got help from my friends, used some of my own money and used social media to reach out to people and get my ideas out there through video interaction online.”

Ashraf Ghori, Dubai-based film maker and Founder of Xpanse CGI

Workshop module: Effective cash management

Prabhakar Kamath, Partner & CEO, Morison Menon Limited

“Cash flow is the primary indicator of the health of a business, the single most indicator and the life blood of a company and this is why we in the business world sometimes refer to it as ‘cash is king’. Cash flow is the movement of money in and out of a business – it is not the profit, as is sometimes assumed by some people. The operating cash flow and the amount generated by a business. In a well run consolidated business, the regular cash flow always exceeds the net profit.”

Workshop module: Retaining customers during turbulent times

Reggie Fernandes, Director, Gulf Operations, Sage Software Middle East

“Statistics show that through the last recession, the businesses who acted swiftly to retain and acquire new business took a quantum leap out of the recessional period much faster than businesses that were not prepared to make the tough changes. The worst thing a business can do is to think they can carry on doing business in the same way as they have done, pretending to themselves that they can hold on and push through.”

To view the participants presentations during the SME Advisor Summit please visit

Rushika Bhatia Editor

Rushika Bhatia is one of the region’s leading commentators on business and current affairs issues. She is the Editor of SME Advisor magazine - the flagship title of CPI Business. She is passionate about infographics – with special emphasis on data, research and statistics. Rushika has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University, USA and is also CIMA qualified.

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SME Advisor Summit 2010 presentations

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