This month CPI has proudly introduced the SME Club Middle East. Some of you might ask – well what makes this different, or what separates this from the other dozen or so business groups and clubs scattered across the region? In response the engineers of this club will tell you that it is quite simply the first exclusive membership of its kind dedicated specifically to supporting SMEs in the Middle East. But there is much more.

The platform is designed not only to add value and save money on an unlimited variety of products and services, but can also help extend client networks and generate new business opportunities through the use of online initiatives and networking events. I won’t go into all the details here but you can gain a better all-round understanding of it all on pages 36 and 38, with the club’s Director, James Khoury, talking to SME Advisor about the ins and outs.

What the club does signal to the SME community in the region is that we are all safer, more profitable and better able to grow when operating in sync and in numbers. Imagine a database of regional businesses, all on a streamlined system, where services are offered for reduced rates, where SMEs with similar interests can make the relevant ties and where networking opportunities are regularly created for meet and greets. The possibilities are indeed endless.

Also contained within this month’s issue are some inspiring stories from both a global entrepreneur and a newly formed regional business – what we endeavoured to give you this issue is a varied perspective – life for an entrepreneur after years of experience, and the outlook of someone who has just recently dipped his toes into the entrepreneurial whirlpool.

Lastly, at a time when IT is continuing to accelerate with its options for businesses, we take time to pause and offer some legal advice about how best to protect your data, about laws surrounding privacy and some food for thought regarding consumer protection. With all the recent talk around cloud computing and the struggle between whether to implement it or not, SMEs should first try to navigate through the legal minefield that surrounds the digital world.

We’ve decided to give the magazine a bit of a make-over starting with the June issue – nothing drastic, but do keep an eye out for it and let us know what you think.'

Michael Byrne

Before joining SME Advisor as an Assistant Editor in 2010 I obtained a Bachelors Civil Law Degree (Hons) from the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland, in 2005. I worked as a trainee lawyer in Dublin, Ireland, specialising in defence litigation and criminal law before obtaining a Masters in International Journalism from the University of Cardiff in 2009. At present I am the Editor of SME Advisor Middle East, which is a publication within the CPI Business Group. You can follow me on twitter: @mikey_byrne or @SMEadvisorME. Also, you can join me on Linkedin (Mike Byrne) or at (SME Advisor).