Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, the 60th annual conference of the International Council for Small Business (ICSB), was opened at the Dubai World Trade Center. It was organized by the College of Business and Economics at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), who hosted this conference in the Middle East for the first time under the theme of ‘Entrepreneurship at a Global Crossroads.’
His Excellency Sultan Al Mansouri, Minister of the Economy and spokesperson for the conference, said in his opening speech that the UAE is one of the first countries in the region to become aware of the significant impact of SMEs on growth and the development of both the internal and external economy. Therefore the UAE’s leadership has paid close attention to the development and the provision of facilities for this vital sector. They have also created official bodies and institutions to support and sponsor youth projects many of which have turned into larger companies that now have an active role to play in the UAE economy.
His Excellency the Minister of the Economy added that the UAE believes in diversity, sustainable development, job creation and a growing economy. The UAE, thanks to prudent economic policy, is only 30% dependent upon oil and is seeking to reduce this. This is thanks to supporting global economic movements and sponsoring small and medium-sized enterprises. These are good models of what it means to begin with limited resources yet become pioneers in the field of entrepreneurship.
Dr. Ali Rashid Al Noaimi, Vice Chancellor of UAEU, in his speech offered thanks to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his patronage of the conference and his support of small and medium-sized enterprises. This is a new challenge for the nation. He added that Dubai hosting this international conference, organized by UAEU, reflects the implementation of the national leadership’s call for higher education institutions to foster entrepreneurship.
Dr. Al Noaimi added that the UAE is active in keeping up with the latest developments in the field of entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises. This is a key strategy in the development of society. He also thanked the sponsors who contributed to hosting the conference, especially Tawazun, the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and the Mohammed Bin Rashid Establishment for SME Development.
The Conference runs for three days, punctuated by a series of lectures and workshops that are organized and presented by experts, economists and business and economics students. There are approximately 500 participants representing 55 different countries.
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