GCC SMEs struggle to obtain bank funding as alternatives needed

Economists, financiers, bankers and business owners met late last week to debate the state of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the GCC region, and considered various alternative models for financing SMEs in light of the need for cheaper and more available growth capital. The roundtable examined the importance of SMEs to the economy and considered new opportunities for funding to help these businesses grow. However, for banks, the cost to serve SME clients remains high due mainly to the breadth of risk and experience required to assess that risk. One of the most pressing areas to address is in the provision of financial support for start-ups and micro businesses. According to the panel of SME experts, new technology platforms can make a significant contribution.