The Resurgence of SMEs Amidst Government Support
The Global SME Economic Summit webinar was jointly organized by SME Chamber of India and World SME trade Centre on 26th Nov 2020 under the theme “Strategies to transform SMEs to revive and survive” Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank participated in the event. The other speakers at the event include Dr. Alberto Ribolla, President, World Manufacturing Foundation, Milano, Italy, Mr. John W.H.DENTON AO, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Paris, France, Mr. Chandrakant Salunkhe, Founder and President, SME Chamber of India and World SME Trade Centre and Mr. Viren Joshi, Chairman SME Development Centre and CEO & President, Sigma Electric Manufacturing Corporation India & USA. Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on global SMEs. He said “As a central pillar in the world economy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a critical role in innovation, advancement and sustainable development worldwide. They are both the most dynamic and the most vulnerable constituent in the global economy. The 21st century belongs to the SMEs. The SMEs promised to combine economic efficiency and low import intensity with good job creation and positive effects on exports and income distribution. Small business has led the U.S. out of every recession after the Great Depression. SME is the foundation of Japanese Industry. ”
Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the developments in Global SME sector due to COVID-19. He said “In Japan, Government came up with safety net loan and loan for crisis to support SMEs during COVID-19. 80% of UK SMEs confident they will recover from Covid-19. Again in UK Two thirds of the business owners questioned believe they will return to pre-Covid levels or better by 2021. In Australia unproductive debt will be left on SME balance sheets when the pandemic clears, demanding careful management to avoid it dragging on the economic recovery. In India the pandemic has brought the SMEs a great opportunity to reformulate their business strategy as per the new normal and they further believed that the current scenario brings long term opportunity for them. Doha Bank has entered into an agreement with a Chamber of the SMEs in Maharashtra, India.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted on the developments in Qatar SME sector. He said “Of the 25,000 private sector businesses currently registered in the country, more than 96% are classified as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).Local firms could provide up to 90% of supplies for state projects in the coming years, with the authorities looking to improve the capacity and diversification of services offered by SMEs. Qatar Development Bank (QDB) had promoted SMEs in Qatar through the launch of ’Al-Dhameen, Credit Guarantee’ program. Doha Bank has been offering both Al Dhammen and Tatweer for its SMEs. The Tatweer product of Doha Bank mainly provides funded and non-funded facilities to its SME customers. The Qatar Venture market is available for listing SMEs. The Qatar Business Incubation Centre and Qatar Sportstech Accelerator also provide necessary facilities to the SMEs. The SME businesses are greatly helping Qatar’s diversification story by playing an active role in the vast infrastructure development taking place in Qatar.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on Qatar SME during COVID -19. He said “The challenges faced by SME sector due to COVID-19 include substantial reduction in business, supply chain disruption, liquidity issues due to loss of revenue, demand depression due to low level of economic activity, business continuity and accessing emergency support. During COVID-19 Doha Bank partnered with QDB for National Response Guarantee Program (NRGP) announced by State of Qatar. Guarantee is for eligible sectors operating in private sector. Doha Bank provided liquidity support, deferment of term loan installments, receivable financing and invoice discounting to SMEs.”
Dr. R. Seetharaman highlighted the steps which can be taken by SMEs. He said “SMEs should assess the financial damage, relook at business plans and reactivating business linkages, funding plans, revamping of budgets and supplier relationships, timeline for rebuilding and a contingency plan for next crisis. The strategies for better business growth include exploring new revenue streams, cost reduction and leveraging on technology. Entrepreneurs who had experience of global financial crisis would have handled COVID-19 better due to experience. They can focus on SME’s resilience during challenging times. SMEs can step based on benefits from FTA and also understand the challenges. Fintech SMEs can get investment support, financing facilities or mentor facilities from Financial Institutions.