SME Conference Program for Small & Medium Lebanon Enterprise

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

Theme I: The state of SMEs in Lebanon – Challenges and Opportunities

This part of the conference will discuss the current status of Lebanon’s small and medium sized enterprises in light of social, economic and market conditions and variables. It will provide a detailed objective account on the challenges and opportunities that the Lebanese market and economic condition present to SMEs in general.

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 DaherPresident, 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  KafalatSpeaker: 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
  • Opportunities for Lebanese SMEs, through foreign financing – Speaker: Mohamad El-Nahi, Senior Consultant, Banca UBAE S.p.A, Italy
  • A profitable investment: Returns on investing in Lebanese SMEs – Speaker: Mr.Gilles de Clerck, Executive Director and Managing Partner, EuroMena Fund, L.P.

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,

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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