MANAMA: The American Chamber of Commerce Bahrain (AmCham Bahrain) is gearing up to host the AmCham Mena Regional Council’s Forum next month with more than 400 top level participants expected.
The forum, to be held on March 15 and 16 at the Ritz Carlton, Bahrain is themed Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) Unlocking Economic Potential in the Mena Region.
AmCham Bahrain president Qays Zu’bi told a Press conference at the Capital Club that great interest has been building in the forum from business leaders, as well as decision and policy makers.
Participants are set to comprise representatives from the US and Mena governments, multilateral financing institutions supporting SME development in the region, as well as key players from the regional SME and entrepreneurship scene.
From the private sector, the event will feature representation from Mena council member AmChams of Abu Dhabi-UAE, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, in addition to representatives from other regional US business councils and a broad range of international and regional business associations.
Participants who have confirmed their presence include US Chamber of Commerce Middle East and Turkey Affairs senior vice-president Khush Choksy, Economic Development Board chief executive Khalid Al Rumaihi, Egypt-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Small Business Support National programme manager Reem El Saady and Mondelez Bahrain plant director Mohamed Shalaby.
In addition to discussion-based engagement, the forum will also offer companies the opportunity to take part in pre-organised business-to-business meetings and introductions as well as workshops offering practical solutions and support to help in the expansion of markets and achievement of business goals.
This year’s forum also incorporates a new and exciting feature in line with its focus on SME development.
In co-operation with CH9 (http://chnine.com), a company helping start-ups and SMEs, and with technical and knowledge support provided by Microsoft, a half-day pitch session is being organised.
The session aims to provide AmCham member companies with the opportunity to present their business case to groups of potential partners, investors and clients in support of accelerating international business growth.
Ten AmCham member SMEs from across the region will be selected to present after being shortlisted by organisers and supporting parties.
“Held every two years for the last 12 years, the conference provides a unique platform to strengthen business ties between Mena markets and the many US entities either already doing business or keen to transact in the region.
“We look forward to focussing our efforts to promote the development of SMEs and support their integration into regional and global trade.”
Mr Zu’bi said the growth of SMEs is critical to regional economic development and the forum aims to provide SMEs from across the region with new ideas, connections and resources to extend their reach, expand their markets of opportunity and effectively achieve growth.