Dubai SME, the agency of the Department of Economic Development mandated to develop the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector, together with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank, recently organised a capability development workshop for companies ranked under the Dubai SME100 initiative.
The primary aim of the workshop programme was to create awareness among Dubai SME 100 companies on the importance of embracing corporate governance, and how to execute in practical terms its key aspects. Participants in the training programme were also given a diagnostic tool kit to help them craft their action plans for execution following the training.
Financial governance, corporate transparency and enterprise risk management have become even more important for all organisations irrespective of their size in the aftermath of the global economic downturn, and in many cases critical in building and sustaining national economic competitiveness.
For SMEs in particular, corporate governance presents a critical competency providing greater access to finance, talent and management expertise for sustainable growth.
A first-of-its-kind ranking launched by Dubai SME in 2011, the Dubai SME 100 is a strategic development programme that identifies outstanding SMEs and groom them to be more bankable.
The IFC Advisory Services works with both private and public sector entities across Middle East and North Africa (MENA) to promote knowledge and adoption of corporate governance best practices and standards in countries where it is needed the most. It also lends support and advice in building corporate governance capabilities locally and works with regulators in developing relevant laws, codes and listing requirements.
Abdul Baset Al Janahi, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai SME remarked: “I am indeed pleased that an esteemed international organisation such as the IFC is partnering with Dubai SME to run this important workshop. The IFC lends high expertise and experience in this area and is well qualified to conduct the workshops for our SMEs. I am confident that the workshop has opened the minds of the SME100 participants and encouraged them to accelerate their corporate governance journey.”
Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for MENA, added: “SMEs comprise a large segment of the market and are crucial to private sector growth in the UAE and across the region. It’s important for these companies to embrace principles of good governance to help them maximise performance, improve access to finance, and foster continued growth.”
Around 35 participants, represent the first group of Dubai SME 100 CEOs/CFOs, attended the two-day workshop which was conducted in the Business Village. Dubai SME and IFC has scheduled three workshops – the first round on the 16th and 17th April, the second in May and the third in the last quarter of 2012.
Activating and advancing corporate governance capabilities among local SMEs is a key focus area of Dubai SME 100. Overall, the ranking will act as a platform and catalyst to identify promising SMEs – to groom them to become bigger, better and sustainable enterprises; eventually graduating them to large globally-oriented companies.
Unlike other rankings, which are based mainly or purely on financial indicators, the Dubai SME 100 places a balanced emphasis on financial and non-financial dimensions that affect enterprise performance and development. The non-financial dimensions cover Innovation, International Orientation, Human Capital Development and Corporate Excellence. The combined turn-over of the top 100 SMEs based on their latest financial records is estimated at AED 2.3 billion, the estimate total assets are worth at AED 1.4 billion, and the combined profit is AED 220 million.
Before joining SME Advisor, I worked as a producer/reporter for Forbes Media in New York. I obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and International Studies at the University of South Florida in the US. I am currently in Dubai working as Sub-Editor for SME Advisor Middle East, which is a business magazine published by CPI. You can follow me on Twitter: @joumanasaad or @SMEadvisorME and (Joumana Saad) or (SME Advisor) on LinkedIn.