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AMCHAM MENA Forum focuses on SME growth

AmCham MENA Regional Council’s Annual Forum continued with its second day in Bahrain where more than 300 delegates have gathered to promote the expansion of trade and investment between the markets of the MENA region and the United Sates. Among those in attendance at the Forum have been senior representatives from the US and MENA governments with the opening day having seen participation from William Roebuck, US Ambassador to Bahrain and keynote addresses from the US’s top ranking diplomat for the MENA region, Ambassador Stuart E. Jones, Acting US Assistant Secretary at the Bureau for Near Eastern Affairs. Zayed R. Alzayani, the Minister of Industry, Commerce & Tourism, Khush Choksy, Senior Vice President, Middle East and Turkey Affairs, US Chamber of Commerce and Qays H. Zu’bi President- AmCham, Bahrain. Also present at the Forum are high ranking members of multilateral financing institutions, private sector companies and representatives from the US Chamber of Commerce and the MENA Council member AmChams of Abu Dhabi-UAE, Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia. Representatives are also present from other regional US and international business councils. While the Forum’s opening day saw keynote speakers and three panel sessions highlight the role of SME’s as drivers of economic growth and the keys to unlocking economic potential in region, this year’s Forum theme, day two looks more specifically to provide attending SMEs with the practical knowledge and tools required for more effective trade and engagement with the US market. Workshops, given by experts in the field, cover: "How to do Business with the U.S. Government" and "A Guide to U.S. and International Trade Fairs and Breaking into the U.S. Market" followed by a special discussion session on "Unlocking the Power of Women Led SMEs" featuring HRH Princess Basmah Bint Saud and other women entrepreneurs. The Forum concludes with a special afternoon SME Pitch Session conducted by CH9, an SME accelerator, with technical cooperation from Microsoft. The Session sees 10 up-and-coming MENA based SMEs present their business case to a jury panel which will provide them expert feedback on how to scale up for international trade and investment and insight into what international partners, investors and clients are looking for. "We have been extremely pleased with the level and calibre of participation we’ve had at the Forum this year," Zu'bi said. "It has been our aim to bring together business leaders, associations and government representatives from the Middle East and North Africa region and the United States to create the opportunity for greater engagement and economic cooperation."

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