GITEX gives green light to SME Zone
Expo to give technological leg up to MEA small businesses
Following last year's well-received trial GITEX Technology Week is officially launching its Symantec-sponsored SME Zone, which is intended to serve as a focal point for MEA ICT firms to reach out to potential investors.
In 2011, C-level executives at GITEX represented a combined ICT budget of $50bn, and the average order stood at $1.2m.
The SME Zone will also stage seminars from experts at the International Lounge, including Christian Illmer, senior director application & solution enterprise, ADVA Optical Networking (Germany); Klaus Mochalski, CEO, Adyton Systems AG (Germany); Jung Ji Bum, team leader (next generation industry team), NIPA(Korea's National IT Industry Promotion Agency); Mohamed Chakib, general manager of DATAPLUS and president of APEBI's export committee (Morocco); and Thulani Mpetsheni , director, electro-technical sector, The Department of Trade & Industry (South Africa).
In addition to the SME ZONE, GITEX Technology Week will also put a high-profile spotlight on a range of solutions suited to SME enhancement via its GITEX Consumer Tech, GITEX Mobile Apps & Content World, GITEX Card Technology and GITEX Digital Marketing sectors.
"At Symantec, we are very aware that small businesses are driving our global economies and we are proud to lend our support to GITEX's SME Zone," said Prajit Arakkal, director of SMB and distribution sales for emerging markets, Symantec.
"As SMBs don't typically have dedicated IT personnel focusing on the information protection they need to keep them out of harm's way, making them more susceptible to risks than enterprises, Symantec delivers products and services tailored specifically to SMBs to ensure they are protected so they can focus on what they do best - accelerate their businesses. Symantec understands the SMB environment and the challenges they face. The Symantec SMB team works around the clock to protect the information that fuels the livelihood of this important community in the MENA region and around the world."
SMEs across the MEA region are set to increase ICT spend from 2011's $16.7bn to $24.5bn by 2015, according to market analysts IDC. Most 2011 actvity was split between Saudi Arabia (11%), the United Arab Emirates (9%), Turkey (12%) and South Africa (26%), and this pattern is expected to continue.
Because of their scale, SMEs are powerful enablers for an economy, acting as catalysts for job creation and GDP growth. An estimated 200,000 operate in the UAE with greater than 80% of private sector companies being in the small to medium class, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade. And Ministry of Economy figures reveal that in 2011 60% of UAE GDP was due to SMEs.
Dhiraj Daryani, Research Manager, IDC MEA, said, "IT is enabling SMEs to operate like big companies, and acquire the wherewithal to compete and win business on a greater scale than ever before, and we are witnessing encouraging receptivity for the latest technology across the MEA region. Today's cutting-edge solutions are no longer unwieldy, incompatible and prohibitively expensive, which presents considerable and exciting new avenues for growth and innovation."