SME Conference 2013

THE FIRST EAST AFRICA REGIONAL SME CONFERENCE

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BACKGROUND

The East African Community constitutes a major common market operating as an integrated customs union, since 01 July 2011. The East African Community provides a rare opportunity for the business community in the five countries of Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania to enjoy a seamless market.

This market has a population of 133.5 million and a GDP of US Dollars 74.5 billion. The GDP per capita is US Dollars 558.00. The opening up of East Africa provides rare opportunity for the business community in the region to explore and benefit from markets that have until very recently been beyond reach. Emphasis of the East African Community is on merchandize and trade. The potential is therefore vast, for the business community in the region.

So far, large and giant enterprises in the region are marking major inroads on this market, having in any event stamped their presence in regional markets even ahead of the East African Community . Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) have previously lacked the kind of financial and allied resource muscle that is for them to make independent forays into the region. They need to know the opportunities that exist, relative to their core business.

Breaking into the regional market requires making critical fact based decisions. You need to know who your potential partners and business associates are. You also need to know about the level of demand for your kind of goods and services, as well as the consumption patterns, seasons and price structures.

Then there is the need for your potential business associates to know that you exist and to know that they can work with you. So how do they get to know about you and your business? And how do you get to know about them and what you could do together? What potential exists for both of you? What are the challenges that both of you must confront and overcome so as to work together?

The SME Conference is an opportunity for the SME Sector in the East African Community to showcase itself in one stop shop. Here is your opportunity to get a genuine feel of the market and its potential for you, all in one location, over a three day period. You will not only have the opportunity to display your goods and services, but also to listen and participate in discussions on the major challenges and how to overcome them; as well as discover the opportunities in the region. The speakers at this conference include SME experts, SME policy makers and SME entrepreneurs. This is the one place where practice and reality meets with theory and policy. Entrepreneurs have the chance to influence the policy that regulates SMEs.

 

Conference Goal and Objectives:

The goal is to “Enhance SME Competitiveness in the Region.”

The objectives are:
1. To understand SME challenges and chart way forward
2. To network, share experiences and opportunities
3. To develop integrated policy framework for E.A.C
4. To identify ways in which SMEs can optimally benefit from the regional integration

 

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Structure of the Conference

25th June 2013

  • Arrival and an Evening cocktail

Day 1: 26th June 2013

  • Registration of delegates
  • Official opening

Sub theme 1 : Trade and Business Opportunities within the East African Community

  1. SME Support Initiatives
    • Transport and Infrastructure
    • Cost of doing Business in the Region
  2. Market Linkages ,Vertical and Horizontal integration & Experience Sharing
  3. Networking through Business Associations
  4. Role of Governments in Enabling Investments

Day 2: 27th June 2013
Conference

Sub theme 2 : Enabling Environment

Success Stories and experience sharing from the region

Day 3: 28th June 2013
Conference

Sub theme 3 : Enabling Policy Framework and SME Financing

  1. Overcoming non Tariff Barriers in the East Africa Region
  2. Policy Challenges for SMEs in the East Africa Community (E.A.C) region
  3. An Integrated Approach to Handling the E.A.C Market/Business Environment
  4. East Africa Community Regulatory Framework and SMEs – the Challenges and Opportunities
  5. Access to Finance- Available Offers
  6. Integrated Financial Opportunities

Conference closing at 2.00 pm

Expected Outcomes

  1. Documentation of SME challenges from an entrepreneurial perspective
  2. Contribution to policy recommendations for SMEs in the East African countries
  3. Identification of business forums and creation of business opportunities for SMEs in the East Africa Community
  4. Initiation of the process of database construction for SMEs in the region

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