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Conference to produce recommendations to support SMEs

By Dana Al Emam - Feb 22,2014 - Last updated at Feb 22,2014

AMMAN — The Jordan Chamber of Industry (JCI) is seeking to join the efforts of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), service providers and governmental bodies at a regional conference in April, organisers said on Saturday.

The conference will highlight the role of chambers and business associations as “drivers of change” that can bridge the gaps between the three parties in a way that improves the performance of SMEs in the Middle East and North Africa, the organisers said.

JCI Chairman Ayman Hatahet said the conference will review the experiences of countries that succeeded in supporting SMEs.

“The conference is to open the discussion for all parties to discuss the challenges that SMEs face and the future of these enterprises,” Hatahet told reporters. 

SMEs usually face difficulties in securing the needed financing and government support, in addition to their need for consultation services, he added.  

“The JCI has established a technical support unit for SMEs, in cooperation with the Amman, Zarqa and Irbid Industry chambers, to push for better decisions,” Hatahet said at a press conference.

JCI Director Maher Mahrouq said the April conference, which is expected to host over 250 participants from several countries, will include keynote speeches by local and international experts on topics that include non-financing services to SMEs and possible creative fields for projects.

“The two-day conference, which is scheduled to start on April 28, will provide recommendations for decision makers in all concerned sectors to help in drawing up a road map to support SMEs further,” he added.  

Industry, Trade and Supply Minister Hatem Halawani said SMEs have proven their stability, adaptability and ability to grow after the global financial crisis, where larger enterprises were substantially affected. 

“One of the main pillars of the fiscal reform project is enhancing economic growth by supporting SMEs,” Halawani said, adding that the ministry seeks to promote the culture of medium- and long-term financing.

“The ministry also provides managerial and technical assistance to owners of SMEs, and constantly seeks to find new markets for Jordanian products,” he added.

Halawani noted that Jordan’s SMEs provide nearly 70 per cent of jobs and contribute 60 per cent to the Kingdom’s exports.

The conference will be held in partnership with the Jordan Enterprise Development Corporation, the Arab Planning Institute, the Jordan Trade Facilities Company, the United National Industrial Development Organisation and the Economic and Social Council of West Asia.

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