Sharjah: Entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Arab region showcased some of the pressing challenges they face when launching and developing their ventures at a brainstorming session titled ‘Entrepreneur Challenges, Who Owns Solutions?’, organised by the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), as part of its participation at the ongoing 11th International Government Communication Forum 2022.

At the session held at Expo Centre Sharjah, entrepreneurs pointed out that the prominent challenges impeding their growth are the repetition of ideas, absence of specialised centres for services, and an inherent skills gap in building competencies, especially amongst university students, who also lack crisis management skills and the ability to foresee opportunities.

Entrepreneurs, economic experts, and specialists in media management leading the session at IGCF 2022, held this year under the slogan ‘Challenges and Solutions’, called for increased support to create an enabling environment that contributes to the development of new ideas.

Mohammed Al-Hamid, founder and chairman of the Emirates Agricultural Pioneers Association, said: “The word ‘leadership’ is all about interaction and being an influence, and this does not apply to all who claim to be entrepreneurs as there is a difference between a project owner and one who has devoted himself to his work. The concept of an entrepreneur is completely different from entrepreneurship.’’

He added: "As project owners, we always look for support to develop projects, and at the same time the project owner must pay attention to the unique set of skills he acquires through his project. Facilitation and regulation by the government further supports entrepreneurs in developing their work.”

Ahlam Al-Bannai, a university professor at the College of Mass Communication, said: "I started my entrepreneurial venture with initial support from the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, and I was very happy with the enabling environment and facilities.”

Stressing the importance of sharing experiences and expertise with workers in the same sector, Al-Bannai said: "Entrepreneurs are wary of sharing their experiences with the next generation. However, the opposite is true, and I believe that we must work as colleagues to help each other develop our ventures."

Entrepreneur Dalia Obeidat explained that the challenges facing entrepreneurs are diverse and while some occur at the initial stages before the launch of the project, others relate to internal processes and come up after work commences on the project.” She pointed out that employees must be given an opportunity to learn, gain experience and improve efficiency for the overall growth of the business.

IGCF is organised by the International Government Communication Centre (IGCC) - an initiative of the Sharjah Government Media Bureau (SGMB). The two-day forum’s packed agenda this year comprises 7 main discussion sessions, 10 inspiring speeches, 6 workshops, 13 interactive platforms and 40 side activities. The agenda will be led by 160 senior public officials, thought leaders and experts who will highlight the role of government communication in overcoming local and global governance challenges, and social and economic crises while highlighting opportunities arising from them.