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SME focus of Bahrain Conference

Ways of supporting small and medium enterprises were the focus of a major conference in Bahrain. Bahrain’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce held the conference on “Enhancing SME Access to Finance and Transparency in Corporate Governance” in partnership with the Labour Fund, the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), and in alliance with the Commercial Law Development Program, a programme of the US Department of Commerce Office of the General Counsel, and Financial Services Volunteer Corp (FSVC).

The conference was held under the patronage of Dr Hassan Abdulla Fakhro, Minister of Industry and Commerce, at the Sheraton Bahrain Hotel. Drawing on the experiences of both local and international experts, conference speakers included Shaikha Hissah bin Saad Al Abdulla Salim Al Sabah, from Kuwait, and experts from the Commercial Law Development Programme of the US Department of Commerce and Financial Services Volunteers Corp.

The conference's opening address was given by Dr Fakhro, the Minister of Industry and Commerce, and introductory remarks were given by William T Monroe, US Ambassador to Bahrain; Deon Woods Bell, senior counsel, Commercial Law Development Program, US Department of Commerce; and Andrew Cunningham, managing director, FSVC.

The conference addressed a number of vital topics, integral to SME growth and development: The Role of Banks in Providing Financial Services to SMEs; SME Financing Scheme Products; The Role of Small Business Administration in Facilitating the Creation and Growth of SMEs; Accessing Non Bank Finance: Equity and Venture Capital; The Role of SMEs in Growing Economies; Productivity and Entrepreneurial Financing; Bahrain’s Draft Code: Nuts and Bolts; The Impact of the Corporate Governance Code; and The Role of LMRA in Improving Governance.

Approximately 200 people participated in the Conference, including: 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. (TradeArabia News Service)

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