2nd International SME Conference

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The summary apprehends a two-day program of presenting academic research and practitioner projects, panel discussions and enriched interactive dialogues at the 2nd International Conference on “Catalyzing SME growth through Research”, which took place on March 15-16, 2017 at Hotel Pearl Continental, Lahore. After the great success of 1st National SME conference, UMT School of Business and Economics with joint efforts of Ministry of Industries & Production and Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) organized this magnificent opportunity at an international level where a large number of SME professionals, research experts, business representatives, faculty members and students participated with national and international background. The conference was privileged by a group of partners including AMDIP, University of Lahore, George Mason University (USA), UNIDO, SPX Pakistan, BCNED, Akhuwat and Italian Development Cooperation.

The conference encouraged expert debates for the leading role of SMEs in promoting Government development to address current and future development challenges and strategies for higher performance. The forum discussed various themes to review the conspicuous role and challenging hurdles to SME sector of Pakistan in the light of best practices prevailed worldwide. It efficaciously achieved its agenda and provided a valuable networking opportunity by bringing together representatives of all sections of society, International SME market specialists, Government departments, renowned analysts, International development agencies, financial institutions, group of enterprises, professors and scholarly aspirants from various business schools.



The 2nd International SME conference began with inaugural remarks by Sheikh Allauddin, Minister for Industries, Commerce & Investment, Government of Punjab; Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad; Rector UMT, Mr. Sher Ayub Khan; Chief Executive Officer, SMEDA; H.E. Serdar Deniz, Counsel General of the Republic of Turkey in Lahore and Dr. Rebecca Fox; representative of George Mason University, USA, which continued with shared panel discussions, presentations and briefings on topics of interest to the future of SME sector of Pakistan. The conference provided open opportunities to participate in multiple ways with valuable learning experience. It structured a set of presentations of real Academic issues and Market project cases from public and private sectors describing new and noteworthy initiatives relevant to the conference theme. The conference received 51 research papers among which 12 were selected after double blinded review by one local and one international fellow.



Four different thematic areas on SMEs concerns were managed separately by respective session panel, each consisting of one academic expert, market expert and SME representative. Session I- Theme ‘Developing a Conducive Business Environment for SMEs’ was led by Dr. Jawad Syed (Dean, LUMS) for gaining richness of skills and expertise on the theme. Session II- Theme ‘Local & International Market Development for SMEs’ was chaired by Dr. Mehtab S. Karim in the board that proved as a strategic think tank. Session III- Theme ‘Entrepreneurship & Enterprise Development’ was moderated by collaborative panel of Dr. Ijaz Qureshi (Dean, UOL) and Mr. Saqib Chohan (Representative of VC, CUSIT) that acted as ideal platform for raising issues on the theme. Session IV- Theme ‘SMEs Access to Finance’ was held on second day of conference and provided an opportunity for practice and constructive dialogue on Pakistani SMEs in which Dr. Jan Mohammad (Director UOB, Quetta) chaired the session.



In every session, a number of Private and Public projects of each theme were presented to receive thoughtful reflection. Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan, Japan International Cooperation Agency, PCSIR, National Educational & Vocational Training Authority, USAID Pakistan’s Financial Market Development, CPEC Research Centre, Pakistan Stock Exchange, State Bank of Pakistan, Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry and Punjab Small Industries Corporation were the prominent project presenters of 2nd SME International Conference. Dr. Naveda Kitchlew (Associate Dean SBE, UMT) led the final session that comprised of project presentations in a discussion board that critically comprehend at what people see as ways to improve the quality of SMEs. The enriched and valuable discussions, debates and feedback over the presented material suggested ‘Good Practices and experiences’ are not transportable and replicated from one context of SME sector to another but should be taken as ‘inspiring experiences’. The venue of two-days program was fully packed and also provided a great opportunity for social networking and professional interaction among participants.



Mr. Ghulam Murtaza Khan Jatoi conveyed gratitude to all participants, particularly session moderators, panelists and presenters in his capacity as Minister for Industries & Production. Mr. Sher Ayub Khan (CEO, SMEDA) appraised the efforts of organizing team and contributors, and announced for the next SME Conference to be held in 2018. The appreciating comments of Dr. Shahid Amjad Chaudhary; Chairperson Association of Management Development Institutes of Pakistan (AMDIP), Prof. Bob Wheeler; Dean SBE, UMT and Dr. Ijaz Qureshi, Dean UOL extended the gratitude to organizers of 2nd SME Conference for their efforts.

On the final day of 2nd SME conference, cash prizes were awarded to the first five position holders. The Closing session committee also expressed satisfaction with the interactive nature of the discussions and congratulated participants on the extensive networking that took place, which they hoped would continue to grow.



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