Joumana Saad takes the pulse on key business trends in the region and gives an update on upcoming events to add to you calendar.
Soon enough it will be business as usual in this part of the world, as companies begin make their plans for the next year. Overall, it has been an eventful summer, compared to previous years, as many companies announced new partnerships and ventures. During a recent press conference, SAP and Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority announced a new joint venture to open the UAE’s first IT-specific training institute at Dubai Silicon Oasis. The USD 450 million initiative will aim to significantly drive job growth by certifying 2,000 new consultants within the next four years, tripling the company’s existing consulting capabilities in the region. The institute will offer a variety of programmes tailored specifically to young graduates as well as SAP partners and clients, many of them being SMEs.
Meanwhile, other companies have used the downtime to train their professionals. I recently spoke to Bev Mileham, General Manager at biz-group, who the company’s training arm biz-ability has seen an increased demand from the business community during the summer, as operations are more frantic and employees have more time to devote to skill learning.
Despite, the fact that so many businesses are implementing corporate training programmes, recent research by The ROI Institute shows that 60% to 90% of all skills learned from such programmes are never applied on the job. Many in the HR industry have woken up to this reality in recent years, and are currently exploring new ways to maximise the return on investment of training.
Looking ahead to quarter four which begins in September, there will be no shortage of important events to choose from. What’s more interesting, is the rising number of SME-specific conferences and networking events that are being planned for the upcoming months in the region. This clearly shows the governments’ and private sector’s commitment to empowering SMEs to drive innovation and job growth. CPI and SME Advisor will have you covered in this area, with a number of Success Series workshops and networking evenings starting in September. Our biggest event of the year, the SME Advisor Stars of Business Awards & Forum will take place on November 28th in Dubai. Interested SMEs can check out the forum agenda and nominations process by visiting www.smeadvisor.com/awards2012/.
Dubai Knowledge Village will host the World @ Work Summit 2012 on 6th September. The summit will bring together executives and professionals and will focus on the latest global developments, research, trends and best practices in key workforce areas of leadership. Sessions will also address issues surrounding talent management, employer branding, workforce planning and social media. Speakers will include senior executives and representatives from adidas, LinkedIn and biz-group.
Businesses in the IT and ICT sectors are already preparing for the region’s biggest technology trade show. GITEX Technology Week 2012 will descend on the Dubai World Trade Centre 14th to 18th October. This year, the spotlight will be on SMEs, as the new SME Zone will make its debut at the show. The zone will be a key platform for the ICT sector’s SMEs to showcase their offerings and engage with a high concentration of influential investors.
Also new to GITEX, is the Africa In Focus exhibit which aims to amplify the importance of the continent’s burgeoning economic potential. In the past year, there has been growing interest from visitors from Africa to expand and participate in the annual trade show. Industry players are also excited about ITU Telecom World 2012, which will happen alongside GITEX in Dubai. A leading platform for high-level networking, strategic debate and knowledge-sharing for the global ICT community, the event is organised by ITU, the United Nations specialised agency for ICT companies. This marks the first time Dubai will host the landmark event.
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.