Pearl Initiative, International Chamber of Commerce Qatar Co-host Roundtable on Role of Corporate Governance in Enhancing SME Competitiveness

Event part of Pearl Initiative’s region-wide awareness programme on SME governance

Doha-Qatar: 12 April, 2017 – The Pearl Initiative, a leading Gulf-based non-profit organisation promoting a corporate culture of accountability and transparency as a key driver of competitiveness across the region, co-hosted a roundtable discussion with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Qatar today. Held at the Qatar Chamber headquarters in Doha, the event highlighted of the importance of good corporate governance in enhancing SME competitiveness in the region.

The discussion marks the launch of the Pearl Initiative’s region-wide programme to raise awareness about the benefits of good corporate governance and accountability for SMEs in terms of long-term business sustainability and profitability. The programme constitutes a series of interactive roundtables, workshops and a Gulf-wide survey that seeks to understand the challenges that SMEs in the region face and to identify solutions and opportunities.

Specifically tailored to the GCC region, the initiative complements the existing work of organisations and funds that support SMEs, whilst recognising the importance of developing best practices that are suited to regional needs. The programme brings together key stakeholders across the region’s SME ecosystem, and provides practical guidelines and tools for SMEs to implement corporate governance through an approach that is flexible and robust at the same time.

Speaking on the significance of the event, Carla Koffel, Executive Director of the Pearl Initiative, said: “The SME sector in the GCC region has witnessed rapid growth, and plays an instrumental role in driving economic development and job creation. However, smaller businesses are unable to give adequate importance to corporate governance practices, since they are often faced with the challenge of limited resources or urgent competing business needs.”

She added: “There is a pressing need today to raise awareness of the benefits that good corporate governance can bring to SMEs, whether in enhancing access to finance, reducing risk or achieving faster business growth. At the Pearl Initiative, we believe it is essential to encourage SMEs to adopt sound corporate governance practices early in their business development journey, as these systems can help them to increase the value of their business and achieve long-term success. We are excited to roll out our SME programme and unlock new opportunities for expansion within this crucial economic segment.”

The roundtable aligns with the drive of the Qatar government to promote the development of SMEs. Recognising that SMEs constitute the foundation of a diversified knowledge-based economy, the Qatar National Vision 2030 emphasises the government’s commitment to providing financial and non-financial support mechanisms that help incubate and grow SMEs.

For his part, Remi Rowhani- General Secretary of ICC Qatar, said: “We are delighted to partner up with the pearl initiative to promote and encourage SMEs, SMEs are an ever increasing important part of our economy, they should be supported and enhanced. The International Chamber of Commerce is a great supporter in pushing for SMEs within the Qatari economy and jointly with the Qatar Chamber organizes the annual SME conference that takes place in Qatar. The topics of the panel discussion will be of great interest to individuals working within the SME field, highlighting priorities for SMEs, issues that may arise and how to overcome them.  SMEs are rapidly growing in the GCC, in turn improving and benefitting the economy, they must be supported and helped in funding them”

As part of its efforts to strengthen the SME ecosystem, the Pearl Initiative is also set to conduct a region-wide SME survey next month. The survey will examine the challenges and priorities for SMEs with regard to implementing corporate governance and accountability practices. The findings of the survey will be compiled into a report that the Pearl Initiative is to release after the summer.

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About the Pearl Initiative

Developed in cooperation with the United Nations Office for Partnerships in 2010, the Pearl Initiative is the leading Gulf business-led organisation fostering a corporate culture of accountability and transparency.

It seeks joint collaborative action between regional and global business leaders, international institutions, government bodies and wider initiatives within the Gulf region, exhibiting positive leadership and sharing knowledge and experience in order to influence the entire regional business and student community. The Pearl Initiative, along with the United Nations Global Compact and its partner companies, is committed to implementing higher standards in areas such as corporate governance, anti-corruption best practices, inclusive management and boards, corporate reporting best practices and ethical leadership development.


For more information about the Pearl Initiative, please contact:

Christy Abraham

APCO Worldwide

Tel: +971 55 134 2859





Aparna Narayanan

APCO Worldwide

Tel: + 971 55 9653647


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