19 March 2017
Synergy to strengthen region's SME ecosystem

Pearl Initiative to build region-wide awareness on SME governance through targeted programme

Dubai – UAE – Homegrown confectionery business, Baklawa Made Better (BMB) Group has partnered with the Pearl Initiative, a leading Gulf business-led non-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of competitiveness across the region, to encourage the implementation of best practices in corporate governance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and in family businesses.

BMB Group is one of the largest manufacturers of chocolate and Arabic sweets in the GCC region, with over 1,000 employees across its operations in the UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Headquartered in Dubai, the Group focuses on providing solutions for chocolate and bakery professionals through its trading and confectionery business that sources ingredients, specialises in bespoke packaging for confectionery and produces a wide range of sweets. 
BMB Group uses an innovative approach to incorporate corporate governance practices into its organisational structure, adopting a bottom-up strategy, to drive a change in mindset in the organisation through to its department leaders.

The partnership is aligned with the Pearl Initiative’s plan to roll out a comprehensive programme to enhance the competitiveness of SMEs in the region through raising awareness and initiating dialogue on the benefits to business of good corporate governance and accountability principles in SMEs. The Pearl Initiative will hold a series of round tables and workshops and develop practical tools and guidelines specifically for current and aspiring SME leaders in the Gulf region. SMEs comprise more than 90 percent of all registered companies in most GCC countries and the sector is anticipated to grow significantly over the next decade.

Carla Koffel, Executive Director, the Pearl Initiative said: “SMEs play an instrumental role in driving job creation and economic growth. The Pearl Initiative sees a huge opportunity to strengthen the SME ecosystem by encouraging stronger corporate governance standards that will allow SMEs to increase the value of their business. We welcome our partnership with the BMB Group, which we are confident will help us build on our ongoing commitment to advancing corporate governance standards in the region.”

Founded in 2006, the BMB Group has embarked on an ambitious journey to introduce professional structures into the family-run business. Commenting on the collaboration, Bilal Ballout, CEO, BMB Group said: “The sustainability of SMEs and growth is an ongoing challenge in the region. There needs to be greater awareness about the benefits of corporate governance for SMEs as well as the mechanisms for implementing these structures. As we advance our own journey of implementing good corporate governance practices at the BMB Group, it is a privilege for us to partner with the Pearl Initiative, given their strong understanding of the region’s SME landscape and expertise in family business. Through our work with the Pearl Initiative, we hope to positively impact the region’s SME ecosystem by supporting their SME programme and partnering with them in their efforts to enhance the sector’s competitiveness.”


About the Pearl Initiative
Developed in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships in 2010, the Pearl Initiative is the leading Gulf business-led organisation fostering a corporate culture of accountability and transparency.

It seeks joint collaborative action between regional and global business leaders, international institutions, government bodies and wider initiatives within the Gulf region, exhibiting positive leadership and sharing knowledge and experience in order to influence the entire regional business and student community. The Pearl Initiative, along with the United Nations Global Compact and its partner companies, is committed to implementing higher standards in areas such as corporate governance, anti-corruption best practices, inclusive management and boards, corporate reporting best practices and ethical leadership development.

About the BMB Group
BMB, Short for “Baklawa made better”; is an innovative confectionary business that was founded on the principles of providing solutions for chocolate & bakery professionals. Our values and ethics mean we only work with quality ingredients that support good “livelihoods” and to stay at the forefront of providing an exceptional service in a world where relationships mean everything.

BMB has two main businesses: Trading and Confectionery. With our headquarters based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, we have widened our distribution network to be able to have a more global outreach

For more information about The Pearl Initiative: 
Christy Abraham
APCO Worldwide
Tel: +971 55 134 2859
Email: cabraham@apcoworldwide.com   

Aparna Narayanan
APCO Worldwide
Tel: + 971 55 9653647
Email: anarayanan@apcoworldwide.com  

© Press Release 2017