Zubair Small Enterprises Centre (Zubair SEC)’s ‘Tajribati’ monthly session discussed Islamic financing options and products available for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Banking experts actively participated in the discussion on how Islamic banks have made Shariah-compliant products a viable funding option for the SME sector. They also shared with participants how these products operate within the milieu of SME financing.
The ‘Tajribati’ series serves as a unique platform to connect industry experts with start-up owners and new entrepreneurs to exchange views, discuss common challenges and share best practices. The ‘Tajribati’ discussion initiative organised by Zubair SEC, a social responsibility initiative of The Zubair Corporation, is aimed at supporting young entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs.
Bader Al Abri, Islamic Affairs Researcher, Ministry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs, who was the key moderator of the session, facilitated the discussion in relevance to the practice and operational mechanism of Islamic banking for SMEs. He also deliberated on the potential of leveraging Islamic finance to grow SMEs and tapped on challenges that could be faced by SMEs who are reluctant to move away from traditional banking.
The session provided an outline of Islamic banking, its main products and how it compares with conventional banking. The meeting also discussed the challenges faced by aspiring entrepreneurs to secure loans and how Islamic banks can help overcome this challenge.
Guest speaker at the session, Hilal Bin Faqeer Al Balushi, Head of Trade Finance, Al Yusr Islamic Banking Window from Oman Arab Bank (OAB) said, “This is an extremely important topic for discussion because the lack of funding is one of the most important constraints faced by SMEs. Islamic financing is a promising solution for SMEs who are looking for financing. Most Islamic banks offer an assortment of Sharia-compliant products to meet the banking needs of SMEs. I hope Zubair SEC will continue to organise such sessions to reach out as many aspiring entrepreneurs and SME owners as possible. Lending to SMEs seems to be ideal option for Islamic banks since they are grounded around relationship loaning as opposed to the conventional form.”
Ali Shaker, Advisor – Business Development & Strategic Partnerships at Zubair SEC said, “Due to their structure and style of operation, Islamic banks are highly suited to address the financing needs of the SMEs. However, entrepreneurs looking to expand their business need to have clarity regarding the basics of Islamic banking and the products it offers. The intention of this ‘Tajribati’ session was to make SMEs aware and knowledgeable about Islamic banking products and what services may suit their requirements.”
Expressing delight over hosting the session, Bader Al Abri said, “The gathering was enriched by the active involvement of the participants. I appreciate Zubair SEC for organising a
session on a topic of extreme relevance to SMEs. The centre has been doing incredible work towards the advancement of young entrepreneurs.”
He encouraged young entrepreneurs in SME sector to benefit from the services provided by Islamic bank and Shariah-compliant products and services He also persuaded them to have a complete understanding of the product they opt for.
Zubair SEC has held several sessions covering a variety of topics pertinent to SMEs. Given the importance of such topics, the Centre plans to hold similar sessions to keep building capacity of its members in all critical areas.