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SME Financing Focus by Bahrain

Bahrain’s Industry and Commerce Ministry is organising a conference on “Enhancing SME Access to Finance and Corporate Governance”. The full-day conference will take place on February 25 at the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel – Taj Ballroom.

The event will be held in partnership with the Economic Development Board – Labour Fund, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority and in alliance with the Commercial Law Development Programme, a programme of the US Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel and Financial Services Volunteer Corp.

It is being organised under the patronage of Industry and Commerce Minister Dr Hassan Abdulla Fakhro. The conference will commence from 8:30am and continue to 5:30pm and targets small and medium business owners, entrepreneurs, commercial bankers, lawyers who represent small and medium business owners, representatives from non-bank financial institutions, representatives from Bankers’ Society of Bahrain and representatives from Bahrain’s government agencies.

The morning session will be dedicated to introducing best practices of SME financing, highlighting the role of banks in providing financial services including credit to SME’s and outlining the products currently available in Bahrain for SME financing.

The conference will draw on the experiences of both local and international expertise in providing financing solutions to small and medium sized businesses and good corporate governance practices.

The speakers include officials from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, reputed members of the Bankers Society of Bahrain, representatives from a number of local reputable banks, experts in providing financing solutions from the Commercial Law Development Program of the US Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel and Financial Services Volunteers Corp.

The evening portion of the conference will introduce the Corporate Governance Code of the Kingdom of Bahrain and focus on the impact on companies of implementing the Code.

Small and medium sized enterprises are the backbone of all economies and are a key source of economic growth. All businesses, small or large, tend to face the same issue in their early days – finding the funds to enable them to start and build up the business.

However in general, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are at a disadvantage when trying to obtain financing or attract private investors relative to larger and more established firms.

The difficulties that SMEs encounter when trying to access finance may result from an incomplete range of financial products and services, regulatory barriers or gaps in the legal framework or a lack of information on both the banks’ and the SMEs side. The global demand for improved corporate governance could not be greater.

The increasingly complex legal and regulatory environment, high profile corporate scandals, greater participation of foreign investors in developing markets and increased investor awareness of the risk associated with poor corporate governance practices has led to extensive governance reforms in nations throughout the world and greater demand for improved disclosure about how organizations are run.

The global focus on governance has created a need for organisations to assess the effectiveness of their governance structures, programs and processes.

Good corporate governance is vital for Bahrain’s financial and economic development. Global experiences have proven that good corporate governance practices protect investors’ rights, attract investment and enhance the value of companies. The Corporate Governance Code of Bahrain aims at highlighting good governance practices for companies doing business in Bahrain. (via TradeArabia News Service)

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