Tasks of the first version of the GCC Entrepreneurs Annual Forum 2021, representing more than 50 GCC trademarks, kicked off yesterday (November 8) in Muscat, Oman, a media report said.

The forum is organised by the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (ASMED) in cooperation with the Secretariat General of GCC States, reported Oman News Agency (ONA).

Halima Rashid Al Zar’ee, Chairperson of ASMED, said in a welcome speech that the forum rallies efforts of GCC states for the empowerment of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in implementation of the decisions of the GCC Economic Cooperation Committee at its 57th session held in Muscat in May 2019.

The forum showcases success GCC entrepreneurship stories, said Halima, adding that the gathering is an opportunity to exchange expertise and identify available funding opportunities.

Meanwhile, Dr. Nayef Falah Al Hajraf, GCC Secretary General, said that GCC leaders, during their 41st summit (Sultan Qaboos & Sheikh Sabah Summit), held in January 2021 at Al Ula city, laid emphasis on supporting small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs due to their significant role in economic growth.

Al Hajraf pointed out that small and medium enterprises constitute 90% of business entities, according to the International Monetary Fund’s report issued in October 2020. SMEs contribute 35% to the gross domestic product, said Al Hajraf, who stressed the need to encourage SMEs, being a vital pillar and a basic propeller of economic diversification.

Al Hajraf spoke about the change of scenario in the economic and financial arena during the peak of Covid-19 pandemic during which new opportunities emerged as a result of activation of technology in various areas of digital economy. This, he observed, led to the acceleration of electronic business and rates of digitization of the economy. It also encouraged the emergence of new services based on SME data about the activities of SMEs that gave rise to new vistas in marketing and funding outlets.

During the event, prizes were distributed to winners in different SME contests.

The three-day forum explores the future of entrepreneurship and financing of SMEs and investment, besides investment opportunities for entrepreneurs in GCC states.

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