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Sharjah Chamber Of Commerce & Industry Launches Development Strategy for Small & Medium Enterprises

Initiative to enhance Chamber’s support for private sector & promotion of its role in Emirates’ development

Sharjah, UAE, April 1, 2009: The Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) has announced that it has launched a Development Strategy for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) in Sharjah, The move aims to enhance the role of private sector establishments in national economic growth and sustainable development. The announcement was made during a press conference held today (Wednesday, April 1, 2009) at the Chamber’s building in the presence of SCCI Director General Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi.

The initiative will provide a platform for SMEs to actively participate in national investment and development objectives; the development of an excellent administrative and legal environment; and the strengthening of partnerships and communications between establishments. It also advocates the upgrading of collective and individual marketing mechanisms; reducing unemployment; the adoption of technology; the optimal use of skills and capabilities; and the promotion of excellence and creativity.

The unique strategy is part of SCCI efforts to strengthen private sector enterprises, particularly through the creation of a regulatory framework that includes vital principles which support SMEs, highlight key business concepts, and focus on the social, economic and environmental importance of companies. The Chamber will pursue these via the adoption and development of an SME action plan which exchanges best practices, takes advantage of international experiences, and raises the productivity and market visibility of enterprises.

“The strategy is an important step in activating the role of SMEs in Sharjah’s business community. These organizations possess various capabilities but at the same time face many barriers and challenges, including lack of experience; low productivity; insufficient IT skills; and absence of financial control, among others. We aim to enhance the approach and strategies of these enterprises and streamline their visions so that we can help expand the scope of their visions and promote their broader inclusion in the UAE’s development process,” said Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi.

SCCI further revealed that the new strategy for the small and medium enterprises has been formulated based on the results of various studies conducted which clearly indicate that Sharjah is ideally suited to attract investment in the SME sector, especially since around 80 per cent of the businesses in the emirate are classified as small and medium enterprises. These studies have also indicated the importance of small and medium enterprises to economic growth and progress of a nation.

Al Mahmoudi emphasised that the Chamber will focus on coordinating with various government departments and financial institutions to enable small and medium enterprises launch new projects and fully benefit from Sharjah’s investor-friendly business environment. In line with this Al Mahmoudi also said that the Chamber will be implementing several programs and initiatives aimed at supporting the SME sector. He also pointed out that the SCCI plans to set up a working group to ensure the effective implementation of the new plans and strategies for the SME sector.

“This initiative emphasizes the Chamber’s commitment to further developing Sharjah’s business community by focusing on enterprises which have shown high potential and providing advice and support for organisations on how to boost their business and investments particularly during this difficult period, which has witnessed a lot of challenges and global changes. In this regard, we also seek to raise awareness on new business strategies and concepts concerning areas such as information technology; intellectual property rights; and policies, laws, standards and specifications, and quality standards that complement their operations and support future objectives. We are currently examining the establishment of a consulting firm under the supervision of the Chamber that will provide technical and administrative support for these areas,” added Al Mahmoudi.

The Chamber has been focusing on key action points to help SMEs overcome challenges and constraints that range from the administrative to the financial. These include expansion funding; the development of an SME information network that can substantially strengthen business partnerships; skills development and use of innovative tools and techniques; and the creation of a regional SME network. Environmental issues are also included in the SME strategy, as the Chamber wants these businesses to transform environmental challenges into real opportunities that can help support sustainable development throughout the emirate.

SCCI has been leading emirate-wide efforts to develop the private sector and promote its role in various areas in order to enhance productivity, increase growth, and support sustainable economic development at the local level.


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