Press Release

September 07, 2020

Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData announce virtual conference to help accelerate recovery of the region's SME ecosystem

Gulf Capital and MEED-GlobalData have announced the ‘Gulf Capital SME Insights Summit’ on September 9, 2020, culminating the successful webinar series, which provided access for SMEs to resources and experts on critical topics following the current financial climate amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Gulf Capital SME Insights Summit is a virtual conference that will bring together industry experts to provide valuable insights on the way forward for SMEs during their road to recovery. Thought leaders including Gulf Capital, Beehive, Clyde & Co., DTEC, The Benton Group, The TECOM Group, TiE Dubai, SHERAA and more will explore pertinent issues to enable SMEs to navigate the current challenges, such as liquidity and debt management, corporate governance and negotiations, as well as investment readiness to attract investors and expand.

“There is no question on the importance of SMEs in the region and the key role they play in the realisation of the regional visions and economic growth,” said Dr. Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital. “However, the current pandemic has severely impacted the regional economies, with SMEs in the region feeling the brunt of the economic slowdown. Gulf Capital has always been a backer and champion of SMEs in the GCC. During the pandemic, our team has dedicated their time and energy to help SMEs navigate the current pandemic and to provide them with the right tools and guidance to counteract the impact of the economic slowdown and to streamline and optimize their businesses so they come out stronger on the other end of the crisis. The upcoming Gulf Capital SME Insights Summit will summarize a lot of the learnings and recommendations and provide valuable insights on the way forward for SMEs during their road to recovery.”

According to a recent survey of over 30,000 small business leaders from more than 50 countries, a total of 26% of SMEs worldwide suspended their activities between January and May due to the pandemic, with some countries reaching as high as 50%. Surveyed SMEs in the MENA region – 51% in Egypt, 50% in the UAE, and 35% in Saudi Arabia – reduced their employee numbers due to the pandemic. However, the survey also noted post-pandemic business optimism, including 61% in the UAE, 59% in Saudi Arabia and 52% in Egypt. 1

The ‘Gulf Capital SME Insights’ bi-monthly webinars – which started in July and saw over 800 users tune in during a two-month period – discussed topics such as technology, finance, legal, and communications strategies, featuring a panel of industry leaders – including Oracle, IBM, SAP, The Fund – Dubai SME, DTEC, Hub71, startAD, and in5. The webinars addressed the key challenges faced by SMEs in the region and allowed for additional dialogue between participants and individual panellists for further insight and awareness through a virtual roundtable.

“Covid-19 has had a devastating impact on small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), and the focus for many over the past few months has been simply on survival,” says MEED Editorial Director Richard Thompson. “But the pandemic has also forced people to do things differently. It has encouraged businesses to innovate, streamline, and collaborate in order to adapt faster and ensure business continuity. The Gulf Capital SME Insights Summit aims to be the catalyst for a swift recovery of the GCC’s SME sector, connecting businesses to experts, serving as a platform to support them during this period of uncertainty, and providing inspiration for the next generation of entrepreneurs to set up shop in the region.”

During the virtual summit, SMEs will gain access to key learnings and best practices as well as speed networking opportunities, live video/voice calls with fellow attendees and 1-on-1 sessions with industry experts.

The virtual conference is free to watch, but pre-registration is required:

Full details on the upcoming programme are available on the Gulf Capital SME Insights website

On December 9, 2020 an awards reception will be hosted to celebrate the SMEs that have demonstrated outstanding resilience, agility and innovation to sustain and grow their business. Free entry submission for multiple categories is open until 18 September 2020.

For more information criteria and category details, please visit:

Gulf Capital SME Insights Summit is supported by Founding partner: Gulf Capital; Audit partner: Grant Thornton; Association partners: DTEC, in5, She Is Arab, startAD, TiE Dubai; Communications partner: Four Communications; Endorsing partners: Dubai SME, Khalifa Fund For Enterprise Development; Knowledge and Research partner: Diligencia Consulting Limited; Leadership partner: Young Arab Leaders; and Strategic partner: Beehive P2P Limited.