Nov 22 2008

Organized by Mawarid Finance and Saud bin Saqr Programme in Ras Al Khaimah

Ras Al Khaimah Mawarid Finance , in coordination with Saud bin Saqr Programme for Young Business Leaders, organized on Saturday evening at Hilton Ras Al Khaimah Hotel a discussion forum about the concept of Islamic finance in its relation to small and medium enterprises. Attended by representatives of local government departments in Ras Al Khaimah and other SME support organizations from Dubai and Abu Dhabi emirates, the Forum addressed the role of government and private organizations in the advancement of the young entrepreneurs.

More than 300 young entrepreneurs attended the forum and gave their views of the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises, while representatives of competent authorities responded to such concerns explaining the proper ways to overcome such challenges.

Mr. Mohammed Mosabeh Al Neaimi, Chief Executive Officer; Mr. Saleh Al Hashimi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Mrs. Rehab Lootah, Senior Vice President from Mawarid Finance Group of Companies participated in the discussion forum.

Dr. Kareem Nasif, a legal expert, indicated the basic requirements for establishing an enterprise and focused on many aspects such as registration of intellectual property rights, trade name and trademarks and approaching competent authorities for concluding memorandum of association and articles of incorporation besides other requirements.

Mr. Mohammed Abdul Rahim Al Olama, a Shariah expert, stressed that Islam attaches great importance to employment relationships and contracts that these contracts should be concluded in accordance with Shariah principles and labor laws and regulations applicable.

Mr. Abdul Sahib Al Sajwani, Entrepreneurs Forum, illustrated the concepts, objectives and services of the Forum and how enterprises may become members.

Mr. Khalid Muqalid, Sharjah Establishment for Support of Pioneering Projects (Ruwad), shared with the attendees some interesting numbers and statistics for the year 2007/2008, saying that the United Arab Emirates issues a license every 12 minutes, while America every 8 minutes and that media costing in the United Arab Emirates is estimated at 14 million dirhams annually.

Mr. Abdul Rahman Al Shayeb pointed out the role of the Chamber of Commerce in providing its services to financiers and businessmen, and stressed that the Chamber is keen to support entrepreneurs throughout the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah and to provide them with access to all investment opportunities available.

Mr. Hamad Muradad, General Director, Saud bin Saqr Programme for Young Business Leaders, explained the role of the Programme in providing its services to the entrepreneurs enabling them to realize their visions and achieve their goals.

Dr. Talib Al Hayyali, Department of Economic Development, addressed the projects launched recently by the Department such as Future License (Rukhsat Al Ghad) Project which targets nationals of both genders less than 21 year, and allows them to carry out their favorite home based activities.

Mr. Nizar Shanyour, Khalifa Fund to Support and Develop Small & Medium Enterprises, stressed the importance of training national members of the Fund, stating that 700 nationals of both genders joined the training course and that the Fund have three programs established to achieve its objectives.

Mr. Nidhal Haidar, Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Business Leaders, revealed that the Establishment provides finance to SMEs ranging from AED 80.000 to AED 3 million payable within 8 years with grace period of 3 years; and he said that the Establishment's finance is available not only to startups but also to existing businesses with current expansion plans.

Ms. Najla Al Mutawi, Emirates Business Women Council, mentioned in its presentation that the number of businesswomen in the United Arab Emirates is estimated at 11000 running various investments of AED 12.5 billion.

Mr. Saleh Al Hashimi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Mawarid Finance Group of Companies, addressed corporate finance process stating that every project should be reviewed from all aspects taking into account the project's feasibility and that such project has to be evaluated by the financier to ensure that loans extended will be repaid.

Mrs. Rehab Lootah, Vice President for Corporate Communication, Mawarid Finance Group of Companies, raised the issue of proper marketing of a product by choosing the right brand name and advertising colors in addition to establishing communication channels with various media; Mrs. Rehab brought up examples of inappropriate names and colors of some products and distributing marketing media such as SMS messages.

"We can't stress enough how important it is to build strong relationships with media, keeping consistent contact by creating a media database, provided that products shall be marketed not only on local but also on broader scale," Mrs. Rehab added.

"We should be aware of the problems faced by some entrepreneurs running a small enterprise as some investors may confuse their personal account with the corporate one, or may not give enough attention to the recruitment of professionals and experts; investors have to balance cash flow to avoid any credit problems that may result in overdue cheques, and also have to allocate all amounts received in the bank account from time to time," said Mr. Mohammed Mosabeh Al Neaimi.

"SMEs should identify their customers in a proper way to avoid major competition, and they should make every effort to be visible and accessible," Mr. Al Neaimi added.

With valuable questions by the attendees and answers by representatives of competent authorities, the discussion forum addressed many issues of special importance to SMEs including privileges given to the members of SMEs support organizations like Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment and Saud bin Saqr Programme; moreover, an announcement was made that negotiations are underway to conclude a mutual agreement to be entered by all SMEs support organizations to serve national entrepreneurs on a wider scale.

- Ends -

© Press Release 2008

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