‘SMEs represent key investment opportunity in Pakistan’

Islamabad –– Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the engine of future economic growth and represent key investment opportunity in Pakistan, Tom Speechley, Chief Executive Officer of Riyada Enterprise Development (RED) told business leaders, academics and young entrepreneurs at a key industry event here Saturday.

“The provision of both financial and non-financial support to Pakistan’s SMEs is critical if we wish to see the sort of transformational change that has occurred in other emerging economies over the last few years.” Addressing delegates at Bounce Back, TiECON Pakistan 2011 conference organized by The Indus Entrepreneurs (TiE), he said while 90% of enterprises in Pakistan were SME in nature and generated 70% of employment opportunities, they contributed only 30% to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).

“This was not a challenge specific only to Pakistan, but rather one affecting emerging markets as a whole, and an issue that needed to be addressed through concerted support of private and public sectors in their respective areas of influence.” Recognizing distinct roles that private and public sector play, he encouraged creation of an environment where innovation and entrepreneurship could thrive.

“We must applaud work of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority (SMEDA), TiE organization and other bodies that are playing a leadership role in the SME space. For our part, RED is a firm believer in investment opportunities presented by SME sector in Pakistan and high growth, entrepreneur-led businesses in particular,” Speechley added.

Abraaj Capital, leading emerging markets-focused alternative asset manager, launched Riyada Enterprise Development (RED) in 2010 as USD$500 million small and medium enterprise investment platform dedicated to broader MENA region including Pakistan.

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