Sri Lanka participates in ‘2nd Global Franchise & Sme Exposition and Forum’ in Bahrain


The high profile "2nd Global Franchise & SME Exposition and Forum" in Bahrain was conducted and organized by Middle East & North Africa Franchise Association (MENAFA), which is the membership organization of franchisors, franchisees, SMEs and services providers in the region of MENA. This Association, which is global in nature, consists of industry association serving USD 30 billion franchise sector growing at an unprecedented rate of over 25% annually in the MENA region.

The Global Franchise and SME Exposition and Forum promotes economic, business and commercial growth, advancement and expansion, with particular focus on SMEs and franchises, regionally and globally. The forum selects, each year, a couple of personalities with extensive and expansive experience and exposure in the realm of SMEs, Franchises, Entrepreneurship Development and geo-economic issues to deliver the Key-note addresses at the Opening Ceremony of the Global Franchise and SME Exposition and Forum. The forum organizers have invited Dr. A. Saj U. Mendis, ambassador of Sri Lanka to the Kingdom of Bahrain and Dr. Ahmed Al Saloom, chairman of Bahrain Development of Small and Medium Enterprises Society, respectively. A large number of select invitees were present including secretaries & senior officials of ministries, senior bureaucrats and technocrats, ambassadors and diplomats based in Bahrain, corporate executives and captains, leading franchises, presidents & board members of SME and entrepreneur associations in the region and academia, among others. The Chief Guest of this prestigious forum was the Governor of Capital Governorate of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

The chairman of Middle East & North Africa Franchise Association (MENAFA), in his opening remarks, underscored and underlined that the Bahrain Franchise and Exposition presents a unique market place for the growing Franchise and Small and Medium Entrepreneurs (SMEs) to become mid-level to large corporates and entities and then to transcend to regional and global players on the economic and commercial landscape of the region as well as the world. The Chairman further added that this Forum would extend exhibitors with the opportunities to showcase and profile their brands, products and services in a professionally organized and structured environment with a highly targeted audience of potential buyers, investors, franchisees, entrepreneurs and industry professionals to establish and to forge partnerships and generate new business and commercial ventures.

Both the key-note speakers i.e. Dr. Saj Mendis and Dr. Ahmed Al Saloom, highlighted the vitality and seminality of the SME and entrepreneurial sector to any country, be it a developed nation or a developing nation. Ambassador Dr. Mendis, in his address, stated that the government of Sri Lanka is extending increasing degree of importance and conspicuity to the SME and entrepreneurship sector as well as to entrepreneurship development. This is particularly because a vibrant and strong SME sector coupled with entrepreneurship development could fuel economic, business, investment and commercial advancement and augmentation. Further, both the speakers added that the SME sector is often referred and defined as the pillar of any given economy. However, the critical role played by the SME sector has not been extended due distinction and significance opposed to "Fortune 500" companies and other large multi-national corporates.’

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