Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: A high-level delegation composed of representatives from the Ministry of Economy and the Council of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises and Projects (SMEs Council), key businessmen and entrepreneurs, and other government officials, with a number of more than 50 persons, is set to visit Malaysia with the chief aim of exploring potential business and investment opportunities that both countries can benefit from. The trip, which is organized by the Ministry and the SMEs Council, will include key visits to some of Malaysia’s leading innovation centers and business incubators. In addition, the UAE delegation will also be participating at this year’s edition of the Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises Annual Showcase (SMIDEX), which will be held from May 16 to 19, 2016 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC). Both the scheduled visits and the coming participation at SMIDEX reflects the delegation’s chief objective of giving local entrepreneurs the advantage of gaining leads, knowledge, and experience as well as establish international business partnerships and networks.
H.E. Abdullah Al Saleh, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Economy for Foreign Trade and Industry Affairs, will lead the delegates who are flying to the capital city tomorrow May 15, 2016. Aside from Ministry and Council officials, representatives from various local chambers of commerce and industry and economic departments are also joining the high-profile group.
This will be the first foreign visit for the members of the SMEs Council. The Council was established in June 2015 in pursuant to a resolution issued by the Cabinet led by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and chaired by H.E. Eng. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy. It strives to develop policies and strategic plans to promote SMEs in the country.
With the backing of its own SME sector, Malaysia’s annual SME showcase provides an ideal platform to showcase products and services and build global partnerships. During the event, panel discussions will be held to allow participating entrepreneurs to meet their foreign counterparts, discuss innovative ideas, exchange experiences, and meet important economic figures to learn about key government economic policies related to the SME industry.
Under the theme ‘Rising to the Challenge,’ more than 300 exhibitors will showcase their products and services in a prime area of ​​10,000 square meters. Multinational corporations, SMEs, policymakers, government officials and leaders, industry experts, and investors are among this year’s participants.
Highlighting innovation and technology, the exhibitors will feature a wide range of products and services for various areas and industries such as oil and gas, machinery and engineering, ship building & repair, green technology, transportation, food and beverages, pharmaceutical, textile, information and communications technology (ICT), and chemical and petrochemical materials. The potential sales are expected to reach approximately USD 105 million.
H.E. Al Mansouri said the Ministry aims to regulate and further develop the UAE’s SME industry and other national business pioneering sectors in line with UAE Vision 2021, national economic diversification policies, and knowledge economy transition efforts. He noted that the SME sector contributes more than 60 per cent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
He said the visit to Malaysia is aligned with the common goal of both the Ministry and SMEs Council to support national companies and industries as well as increase the country’s exports, attract foreign investments, and foster leadership and innovation in the UAE business community.
H.E. Al Saleh further said that the visit will not only highlight the UAE’s success stories in terms of strengthening its SME sector but also learn about the latest international economic policies supporting the industry.
H.E. Al Saleh added: “The event is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain new experiences in managing and developing their projects according to international standards. It will also enable them to create business partnerships that are guaranteed to provide them with access to international markets.”
In organizing the visit, both the Ministry and SMEs Council will shoulder 80 per cent of the total costs. H.E. Al Saleh underscored that such a move reflects the government’s emphasis on SMEs and their significant role in economic growth. He also pointed out the importance of the Malaysian–UAE economic relations, noting that the Southeast Asian nation is ranked 20th globally in terms of its commercial importance to the Emirates. In fact, their total foreign trade in 2015 amounted to more than USD 3.7 billion.
Before heading to Malaysia, the Ministry of Economy held a preparatory meeting for the delegation to discuss its itinerary and main topics during the event’s panel discussions. During the briefing, Mohammed Nasser Hamdan Al Zaabi, Director of the Department of Trade Promotion and Investment, Ministry of Economy, also highlighted Malaysia’ pioneering initiatives to support its SMEs.
Among the prominent innovation centers and business incubators to be visited by the UAE team include Malaysian Technology Development Corporation (MTDC), which promotes innovation and encourages creative ideas that can be applied in the industry and business sector; and Technology Park Malaysia (TPM), which supports more than 3,000 Malaysian and international companies, especially ICT firms.
The UAE’s itinerary also includes bilateral meetings between UAE companies and their Malaysian counterparts, a visit to Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade), and other meetings between UAE and Malaysian officials.
Al Zaabi is confident that the participating entrepreneurs will benefit from the experience of their like-minded peers and learn the latest technology used in managing and developing the SME sector, which would help promote local products, stimulate exports, and increase mutual investments.