8:00 : Registration and welcome coffee
9:00 : Opening ceremony
An opening session led by Lebanese, regional and International government and business leaders.
•HE Mr. Raed Khoury, Minister of Economy and Trade – Republic of Lebanon ( Represented by Mrs. Alia Abbas, Director General of the Ministry of Economy and Trade)
•HE Mr. Ali Hassan Khalil, Minister of Finance – Republic of Lebanon (Represented by Mr. Georges Maarawi, Director General of Land Registry and Cadastre, Ministry of Finance)
•Mr. Toufic Dabboussi, President – Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture in Tripoli – on behalf of the Federation of the Chambers of Commerce Industry & Agriculture in Lebanon.
9:45 : Official opening of exhibition
10:30 – Session 1: The value of SMEs to the Lebanese economy-Challenges and Opportunities
What does the SME sector mean to the Lebanese economy? How is it defined, and what is the impact of a healthy SME community on the well-being of the Lebanese Society? This session will cover challenges and try to provide guidance to SMEs on how to deal with them (Session moderated in Arabic – with instant translation)
Session Moderator: Mrs Ghada Ballout Zaytoun , Journalist and TV anchor ,The “Al-Hiwar Al-Iktissady” TV programme, Arab Woman Television Station.
•Importance of Government initiatives in providing opportunities for SMEs – Principal speaker : Mrs. Alia Abbas, Director General of the Ministry of Economy and Trade, Republic of Lebanon
•Opportunities and initiatives by the Banque Du Liban – Speaker : Mr. Najib Choucair, Executive Director and Head of Banking Department, Banque Du Liban (BDL)
•Contribution of SMEs to the economy: Economic growth, job creations and government finances – Speaker: Dr. Mohammad Fheili, Assistant General Manager, Jammal Trust Bank, Lebanon
• Government bureaucracy – A major challenge to SMEs and Start-ups- Speaker: Prof. Jassem Ajaka, Economic, strategic expert – University Professor.
• Getting media exposure, a major challenge for SME branding in Lebanon – Speaker: Dr. Jad Melki, Chairperson – Department of Communication Arts – Lebanese American University (LAU)
12:00 – Stand up lunch
12:30 – Session 2: Opportunities for Lebanon’s SMEs – Learning from the best
Despite numerous challenges to SMEs in Lebanon, the country still offers a number of opportunities to this vibrant sector. This session discusses various opportunities on the local, regional and international levels.
Session Chairperson: Mr. Toufic Dabboussi, President – Chamber of Commerce, Industry & Agriculture in Tripoli; and Chairman, Dabbousi Group SAL -Lebanon
• Room for innovation in a free market economy– an important factor in the recipe of success – Success Story – Speaker: Mr. George Abboud, Chief Operating Officer, Earth Technologies
•Growth opportunities for SMEs through internationalization – Speaker: Mr. Sebastiano Mattia Gennaro Co-founder and director , Tadwil / Associate, Clifford Chance
• Opportunities in regional markets with local diversification visions – The example of Kuwait – Speaker: Mr. faris Al-Obaid, Advisor at the office of the Secretary General, Supreme Council for Planning and Development – State of Kuwait
• Opportunities for SMEs in large scale projects Speaker: Mr. Mahmoud N Dalloul, President and CEO, Project Management and Control wll (PMC) – Kuwait
14:00 – Networking coffee break
14:15 – Session 3: Opportunities for SMEs in the Oil and Gas sector
Few investors and entrepreneurs can see the endless potential for their businesses within the nascent oil and gas sector and energy. This session provides an educational element as well as a practical view for those entrepreneurs particularly on how to identify and grab a good opportunity.
Session Chairperson: Mr. Wissam Zahabi, Head of Economic and Financial Department , Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)
• An overview of Lebanon’s Petroleum sector and its potential Speaker: Mr. Wissam Zahabi , Head of Economic and Financial Department, Lebanese Petroleum Administration (LPA)
• Understanding Supply Chain in the oil and gas sector Speaker: Dr. Naji Abi-Aad, International Energy Expert, COO – Petroleb, Lebanon
• How to get a share in the oil and gas pie according to industry standards, best practices, and contractors’ requirements. Speaker – Dr. Elie Daher, President, Lebanese Petroleum Business Network / Executive Vice President – CMO, United Safety Internatioinal, Dubai, UAE
15:45 – End of Day I
Theme II: Supporting Startups and SMEs in Lebanon: Initiatives and Prospects
This part of the conference focuses on creating the proper environment for a small or medium sized business to excel and grow.
9:30 : Session 4: Financial Support : Public / Private Initiatives and programs
This session looks at all available financing initiatives from complementary sources working either within government initiatives, or independently from government.
Session Chairperson: Mr. Najib Choucair, Executive Director and Head of Banking Department, Banque Du Liban (BDL)
Initiatives by Lebanese Banks and the role of Kafalat– Speaker: Mr. Hassan Sabbah, Head of SME Banking, Bank Audi – Lebanon
Micro credit platforms — Venture Capital, Angel Investors, Crowd-funding, etc… Speaker: Mr. Fawzi Rahal, Managing Director of Flat6Labs Beirut, Flat6Lab Beirut
Development funds and their impact on SMEs and economic development – speaker: Mr Patrick Atme , Team Leader Business Support ,Economic And Social Fund For Development – Lebanon
11:30 – Networking Coffee Break
12:15 – Session 5: Beyond financial support – Services and initiatives for growth
Are financial factors the only ones needed for business growth within the SME business community? This session will look at other forms of support that may be equally important for SMEs to grow.
Session Chairperson: Mr. Joseph Chatta, Chief Executive, Bureau Veritas, Beirut, Lebanon
Role of government in supporting SMEs: the Italian experience – Speaker: Francesca Zadro, Trade Commissioner, Italian Trade Agency – Beirut.
Auditing and finance services –Importance of managing Finances – Speaker: Ms. Chloe Jacquin Financial Education Coordinator , Positive Planet
Legal services and standards – conformity and mitigation in local and export markets – Speaker: Mr. Joseph Chatta, Chief Executive, Bureau Veritas, Beirut, Lebanon
Organizational development support and governance – Speaker: Mr. Samer El-Safah – General Manager – Micro Credit Programme – Makhzomi Foundation
Enterprise resource planning (ERP) and integrated IT solutions to manage SME growth – Speaker: Mr. Wassim Hassanieh, Managing Partner, Procons, Professional consultants – SAP Products, Beirut
13:30 –Stand up lunch
14:00 – Session 6: Marketing and Branding support
Innovation in marketing and in penetrating existing and new markets is essential for the growth of SME businesses in Lebanon. Such markets can be local, regional or international. SMEs can excel in those markets with the proper support.
Session Chairperson: Mr. Jimmy Ghazal, Innovation & Digital Director, M&C Saatchi MENA
Innovative marketing for SME growth in local and foreign markets – Speaker: Mr. Jimmy Ghazal, Innovation & Digital Director, M&C Saatchi MENA
The role of business psychology in boosting performance Speaker: Mr. Dani Ibrahim, Business Development Manager – MENA region / Business Development Services, Positive Planet
Franchising – An innovative tool for expansion within Arab markets – Speaker: Mr. Khaled A. Taki, , Arab Franchise Association / , Franchise Business Consultants – Beirut Lebanon
Mastering the Social Media – Speaker: Mr. Joseph Yaacoub, Digital Marketing Strategist & trainer, josephyaacoub.com
15:30 – Networking Coffee Break
16:00 – Session 7: Managing talents: recruitment, learning and leadership
Many SME owners cannot assess their own training and development needs and those of their employees. Members of this panel will mainly listen to small and medium sized entrepreneurs and try to clarify myth and reality in the minds of managers, emphasizing the importance of talent management along with personal and employee development; and explain why training and coaching is Key.
Session Chairperson: Mr. George Awad, National Projects Officer in Communication and Information, UNESCO
• Panelist: Dr. Wafaa Haidamous Hallasou, Managing Director/ Senior Consultant , BCTS – Lebanon
• Panelist:Dr. Naji Bejjani, CEO, NBTS International Training and Consulting Company, Beirut Lebanon.
• Panelist: Mr. Nicolas Pinton, Director, Institut Europeen de cooperation et development (IECD) – MENA region
• Panelist: Mr. Tarek Hamdan, Chief Commercial Officer, Procons Professional consultants – Representing LinKedIn, Beirut
17:30 – Closing session and recommendations
18:00 – End of Conference
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