Gitex Technology Week 2012 to empower SMEs like never before
- United Arab Emirates: Wednesday, September 19 - 2012 at 13:01
- PRESS RELEASE
Small and medium sized enterprises (SME) across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) region are set to ramp-up their information technology (ICT) budgets as they aspire to become engines for economic growth and sustainable job creation.
Most of last year's financial activity was split between Saudi Arabia (11%), the United Arab Emirates (9%), Turkey (12%) and South Africa (26%), and this geographic trend is expected to continue in the coming years.
SMEs are regarded as integral to a developed economy and play an essential role in employment generation. In the UAE, more than 80% of the private sector is comprised of SMEs, according to the Ministry of Foreign Trade.
With an estimated 200,000 small and medium sized enterprises currently in operation in the UAE, the contribution of this key business sector to the country's economy is significant. According to the UAE Ministry of Economy, SMEs have become vital to the growth of the UAE economy, contributing 60% of the national GDP in 2011.
Intent on boosting the MEA's burgeoning SME potential, Gitex Technology Week is officially launching its SME Zone following last year's successful trial run. Sponsored by security software giant Symantec Small and Medium Enterprise, which is an SME Zone Partner, and tailored to maximise return on investment, the new feature will serve as a conduit for SME Information and communication technology (ICT) businesses from MEA to engage with a high concentration of influential investors. In 2011, C-level executives at Gitex represented a combined ICT budget of $50bn, and the average order stood at $1.2m.
As part of the SME Zone, attendees will also have the chance to hear ICT SME success stories and glean insights from a range of carefully selected experts at the International Lounge, including Christian Illmer, Senior Director Application & Solution Enterprise, ADVA Optical Networking (Germany); Klaus Mochalski, CEO, Adyton Systems AG (Germany); Jung Ji Bum, Team Leader (Next Generation Industry Team), NIPA(Korea's National IT Industry Promotion Agency); Mohamed Chakib, General Manager of DATAPLUS and President of APEBI's export committee (Morocco); and Thulani Mpetsheni , Director - Electrotechnical Sector, The Department of Trade & Industry (South Africa).
In addition to the SME ZONE, Gitex Technology Week will also put a high-profile spotlight on a range of solutions suited to SME enhancement via its Gitex Consumer Tech, Gitex Mobile Apps & Content World, Gitex Card Technology and Gitex Digital Marketing sectors.
Prajit Arakkal, Director of SMB and Distribution Sales for Emerging Markets, Symantec, said: "At Symantec, we are very aware that small businesses are driving our global economies and we are proud to lend our support to Gitex's SME Zone. As SMBs don't typically have dedicated IT personnel focusing on the information protection they need to keep them out of harm's way, making them more susceptible to risks than enterprises, Symantec delivers products and services tailored specifically to SMBs to ensure they are protected so they can focus on what they do best - accelerate their businesses.
Symantec understands the SMB environment and the challenges they face. The Symantec SMB team works around the clock to protect the information that fuels the livelihood of this important community in the MENA region and around the world."
Dhiraj Daryani, Research Manager, IDC MEA, said: "IT is enabling SMEs to operate like big companies, and acquire the wherewithal to compete and win business on a greater scale than ever before, and we are witnessing encouraging receptivity for the latest technology across the MEA region. Today's cutting-edge solutions are no longer unwieldy, incompatible and prohibitively expensive, which presents considerable and exciting new avenues for growth and innovation."
Yousef Aljamal, General Manager of Jordan-based Qalam Soft, an advanced search and recognition company that has pioneered the first software in the world capable of reading natural Arabic handwriting in real-time, said: "Innovation is all well and good, but in today's competitive environment businesses of our size are likely to suffer if we do not get the right support and publicity. Gitex Technology Week 2012's focus on the SME sector is a hugely beneficial initiative and gives us a unique, highly credible opportunity to network and secure potentially profitable new routes to market."
Trixee Loh, Senior Vice President at Dubai World Trade Centre, which organises Gitex, said: "SMEs can be powerful engines for economic growth in the MEA region, which is why we have created the SME Zone to specifically connect emerging businesses with the decision-makers that can help them succeed. We will also bring to light technology that can improve the business prospects of SMEs of any description, from cloud and mobility to new avenues of impactful digital marketing and beyond."
Now in its 32nd year, Gitex Technology Week connects more than 138,000 ICT professionals from 144 countries and over 3,500 suppliers from 77 countries across five continents, making it one of the world's top three ICT exhibitions. This year's Gitex Technology Week is themed "Where Technology Means Business".
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