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Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Discusses Future of SMEs at AUK

 

The American University of Kuwait (AUK) hosted the Small Enterprises, Future Ambitions Forum last week under the Patronage of His Highness the Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah. The event came as part of the Small Enterprises, Future Ambitions Forum's tour of Kuwait universities that aims to inform young Kuwaitis about the establishment of the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises. During the AUK visit, Sheikh Mohamed Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, supported by government officials and local business leaders, spoke to AUK students about the important role small businesses will play in the future of Kuwait.

Addressing the students, Sheikh Mohamed explained that the purpose of the fund is to assist young entrepreneurs, both financially and technically, to establish their own businesses. He stated that KD 2 billion is currently available in the fund, and urged the young innovators to take advantage of this resource and create self-employment opportunities for themselves. Sheikh Mohamed also discussed the upcoming urban area in Subiya, Silk City, and the business opportunities it will provide for small and medium businesses upon its completion. On a final note, he reminded the attendees of their responsibility towards the economic development and prosperity of Kuwait and how participating in such initiatives will contribute to the country’s growth.

Building on what Sheikh Mohamed said, MP Rakan Al-Nisf explained that the purpose of the initiative was to prepare the current generation for challenges they may face in finding employment in the future as result of the increase in the youth population of Kuwait. As the government is obligated to provide jobs for its citizens, it may encounter difficulties in catering to their professional needs due to projections that indicate that in 15 years, the government will be required to find jobs for approximately 74, 000 people, which may cause an economic burden to the country. The purpose of the fund is to provide opportunities for young entrepreneurs to create their own jobs and become self-employed.

Following the MP, Mr. Abdul Mohsen Al-Mutairi, the Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, explained that today's youth are privileged to be directly supported by His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who is committed to providing them with financial and moral support. Al-Mutairi also addressed some of the challenges that young entrepreneurs confront when establishing their businesses, such as finding suitable locations, obtaining the necessary licenses, and exposure to false information. These challenges may hinder their creativity and ambition and direct them towards seeking employment in the government sector, where opportunities for growth are difficult to come by. He suggested creating an industrial zone for the youth where, with the appropriate guidance, they will be able to gain the relevant experiences they need to establish and manage their businesses.

Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Lughani, Vice Chairman of the National Fund for Small and Medium Businesses, added that many Kuwaiti companies and projects have established themselves as solid brands within the Arab world over the past few decades. Their examples are inspirational and their stories can motivate the youth to apply themselves and be proactive in shaping their futures.

Mr. Faisal Sarkhouh, Executive President for KAMCO, said that the fund will facilitate the process for the entrepreneurs to finance their projects, since finding financial backing is one of the major obstacles faced by young innovators. He advised the young entrepreneurs to commit themselves to their education and to work hard on developing their projects, urging them to take advantage of the concessions made by the government to the private sector, which were put in place to facilitate the successful development of ideas into small and medium enterprises.

Eng. Fares Al Enezi, Director of Planning at the Manpower and Government Restructuring Program (MGRP), explained that finding employment in the private sector is competitive nowadays, so the government is providing monthly salaries to Kuwaitis who are exploring the option of establishing their own ventures, and it promises to offer specialized training courses and programs, as well as marketing services, free-of-charge, to help start-up SMEs.

Finally, the President of AUK, Professor Dr. Nizar Hamzeh, addressed the attendees, who were comprised mostly of AUK students, and spoke of the benefits of a Liberal Arts education and how it can stimulate students' creativity and innovation, and teach them the necessary technical and leadership skills to enable them to transform their ideas into a reality.  

 

Sheikh Mohamed Al-Abdullah Al-Sabah, Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs


AUK President, Professor Dr. Nizar Hamzeh


MP Rakan Al-Nisf


Audience

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 22nd February 2015

Photography by the Office of Public Affairs (C) 2015



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