Addressing the media one month ahead of the start of the Celebration of Entrepreneurship, Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Abraaj Capital, and Fadi Ghandour, Member of the Abraaj Board of Directors and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aramex, explained that the two-day event is a crucial investment for the region’s future generations. For the first time in the region, the entire entrepreneurial ecosystem will congregate in a highly charged, wholly interactive environment, to celebrate everything about entrepreneurship – the ideas, the stories and the journeys – as shared by entrepreneurs and innovators.
The SME sector currently accounts for more than 70 per cent of the region’s employment but generates less than 30 per cent of its GDP, thus offering significant growth opportunities. The event is expected to cultivate the existing spirit of enterprise by energising entrepreneurs at the grassroots and creating an environment that is conducive for a thriving entrepreneurial culture – deemed essential to address the region’s employment and demographic challenges. The Celebration programme will feature workshops, inspirational talks by more than 120 high-profile speakers, one-on-one mentoring sessions with regional and international entrepreneurs and an opportunity to interact with policy-makers, institutions, finance providers and professional service providers.
More than 50 partners are mobilising their resources to share their expertise at the event and help the entrepreneurial movement in the region gain momentum.
A number of announcements are expected to be made at the Celebration, including the formal launch of Riyada Enterprise Development (RED), a $500 million investment platform exclusively dedicated to supporting SMEs across the region. The firm will also unveil Wamda, a comprehensive interactive online portal. The Celebration of Entrepreneurship will take place on November 8-9, 2010, at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre in Dubai, UAE.
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