Kassar: “Our commitment stems from our belief in building tomorrow’s enterprises”.
As part of BLC Bank’s continuous support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which lies at the heart of its strategy, the Bank organized a first-of-its-kind conference entitled “SME Conference 2017: Growing locally, expanding globally” which was attended by a number of experts and participants from more than 200 enterprises.
Deputy Chairman and General Manager of BLC Bank Mr. Nadim Kassar took part in the event’s opening ceremony, shedding the light on the fact that this conference marks the 10th anniversary of the Bank’s strategy aiming at empowering SMEs, highlighting BLC Bank’s pioneering role in implementing such an initiative. He underlined the fact that this event renews the financial institution’s commitment and stands as a promise to keep moving in the same direction.
Kassar took this opportunity to mention the obstacles faced by Lebanese entrepreneurs which tend to be more challenging than those faced by their foreign counterparts. He explained: “despite the fact that these enterprises account for more than 95% of the local economy, banks put more efforts in attracting the remaining 5% in a belief that such segment is more profitable”.
He added: “We need to do our best in supporting SMEs and become their bank of reference for we truly believe that today’s small enterprises are tomorrow’s large companies”.
Deputy General Manager of Kafalat Mrs. Yolla Sarieddine was also part of the opening panel, and went over the different criteria that come into play when classifying micro, small and medium enterprises and focusing on Kafalat’s role, which was established to help enterprises gain easier access to funds. She also explained the protocols set in partnership with international institutions in order to grant local SMEs access to foreign funds, underlining the fact that some of these funds are used as donations which are granted to startup entrepreneurs. She also explained the means through which Lebanese entrepreneurs can make it to international markets and the essential role that IDAL can play in this regard.
As for H.E. Me Ziyad Baroud, he focused on the public policies and lack of legislation which hinders investments and praised the role women play in this sector and declared: “It is about time that our country gives this sector the attention and support it deserves for it is this sector’s development that will lead to our economic growth”.
The first session then took place, focusing on the ways in which SMEs can grow locally and expand on an international level, followed by three world cafés: the first one was dedicated to connecting SMEs to larger enterprises from both the public and private sectors, the second focused on different models to access global markets and the third focused on digital platforms as a growth engine for SMEs.
Last but not least, the conference was wrapped up with Lebanese entrepreneurs sharing their challenges and success stories and sharing with the audience how they made it.