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SME Toolkit Partner Conference coming to Abu Dhabi

Conference will focus on innovation and technology for SMEs

SME Toolkit Partner Conference coming to Abu Dhabi
The SME Toolkit 2015 Partner Conference will provide a forum to discuss issues facing SMEs, says HE Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki.

The SME Toolkit initiative is to host its first ever partner conference in the Middle East.

SME Toolkit is a project by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector arm of the World Bank, which aims to help entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by providing an online information resource to develop sustainable business management practices, increase productivity, efficiency, and capacity, and improve access to finance and new markets.

The conference, the fifth edition of the event worldwide, will be supported by the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, and takes place from 9-12th November at the St Regis Hotel, Abu Dhabi.

The event is being held under the theme of ‘Unlocking SME Potential through Partnerships, Innovation and Technology Solutions'. Keynote speakers include HE Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of Foreign Trade and Industry in UAE; Mouayed Makhlouf, Director of the MENA region, IFC; and Stefano Negri, Manager, Competitive Industries Global Practice, The World Bank.

The conference aims to provide a dynamic platform to the representatives of the local SME Toolkit projects, as well as IFC and the private sector, to discuss future direction of the program and build partners' knowledge on the latest thinking in SME learning, innovation and technology. It also aims to reflect on experiences and lessons learned to date and allow partners to network with other expert members of the community.

The event will include the Innovation Conference 2015, a conference dedicated to discussing the role of different entities in supporting innovation in the SME sector, which will be attended by key government officials, global technical companies, public and private partners, academia and successful SMEs in the UAE.

HE Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, CEO of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, said: "SME Toolkit 2015 Partner Conference and Innovation Conference offer a prestigious global platform to exchange knowledge and experiences and discuss the challenges facing the SME sector in emerging economies and developing countries. At Khalifa Fund, we are keen to support value-added projects as we recognise the importance of innovation for developing a knowledge society and a knowledge-based economy."

"We have received an overwhelming response to the Ibtikari programme, which was launched earlier this year to help cultivate entrepreneurial culture among UAE Nationals and encourage innovation around specific themes. Since its introduction, a number of technical ideas and innovative applications have been launched. All of this demonstrates our commitment to creating a new generation of Emirati entrepreneurs by instilling and enriching the culture of investment amongst young people, as well as supporting and developing small to medium-sized investments in the Emirate," he added.

Jin-Yong Cai, IFC Executive Vice President and CEO, said: "SMEs are the basic engines of growth for the economies in the region due to its important role in providing job opportunities and promoting economic diversification. Hosting this global event confirms UAE's vision and support for SME projects and its efforts in creating the right business environment for the growth of these projects."

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