13/09/2018 08:04 AST

The US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, in collaboration with Saudi Aramco, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, and the US Commercial Service, has announced the launch of the US-Saudi SME Forum: Accelerating Growth and International Partnerships.

Taking place on Oct.1-2, 2018 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE in California, the SME Forum will offer a high level perspective on the roles of SMEs in boosting bilateral trade, sharing of know-how, and co-innovating solutions to benefit the US and Saudi markets.

Edward Burton, CEO of the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council, said estimates show that SMEs comprise 90 percent of businesses in Saudi Arabia and account for 60 percent of total employment.

“As part of its Vision 2030 strategic plan, Saudi Arabia’s national attention has turned to the small & medium-sized sector as a fundamental source of economic dynamism whose growth and progress would benefit the country as a whole. With this pivotal focus in mind, the US-Saudi SME Forum will provide a venue where Saudi and American SMEs network and share their experiences as serious entrepreneurs operating in complex environments,” said Burton.

US and Saudi speakers will discuss the main focus areas of the SME ecosystem, including improving procurement opportunities, regulation and financing, business management skills and financial literacy, and workforce technical skills and subject matter expertise.

Council Co-Chairmen Abdallah Jum’ah, Chairman of The Saudi Investment Bank, and Steve Demetriou, Chairman and CEO of Jacobs Engineering, will speak on the role of SMEs in local and global trade. Other speakers include Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of Neom; Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power; and Jim Breyer, Founder and CEO of Breyer Capital.

The Forum’s sidelines will offer in-depth case study workshops with selected Saudi and US SMEs, who will collaborate in small groups to identify solutions for rea world business challenges.

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