By Majd Othman
KUWAIT: Under the Patronage of Minister of Finance and Minister of State for Economic Affairs and Investments Abdulwahab Mohammed Al-Rushaid, the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development held on Monday “The Second Forum of National Fund Entrepreneurs”. The event saw entrepreneurs narrating their journeys of success since launching their businesses years ago, which were financed and incubated by the National Fund. The Kuwaiti entrepreneurs also discussed the obstacles they faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Director General of the National Fund Adel Al-Hasawi told Kuwait Times the event aimed to celebrate the success stories of businesses that were only studies once. “Today, these are big projects spread across several fields, be they industries, innovations or projects for special needs,” he said.
He pointed out the National Fund seeks to build solid projects that will contribute to the national gross domestic product (GDP) and help diversify income sources. “Therefore, we gathered all the entrepreneurs under one roof to share their experiences and benefit from each other, especially with the hurdles they may go through,” he added.
Hasawi mentioned that since the National Fund has stopped financing small and medium businesses, in accordance with the decision of the Cabinet, “we are providing moral support to 1,039 entrepreneurs who have already joined the fund. The fund has also frozen the repayment of the amount due from the entrepreneurs for the time being until we resume the funding again,” he said. “We are empowering them with training courses and pricing priority in government tenders of about 10 percent if the project is approved,” he pointed out.
He said the National Fund has a “national registry” project to provide entrepreneurs with advantages to support them in applying matters related to tenders. “We also provide them with incubators, courses or consultations,” he added. He also revealed the National Fund is working on a major project currently in collaboration with the United Arab Emirates. The details of the project are not available yet, although he stressed it will benefit Kuwaiti entrepreneurs.
Hasawi said it is unclear when project fundings will resume, adding the decision should be based on a request from the board of directors of the National Fund, which must be submitted to the Cabinet for approval. He added there isn’t an accurate number of defaulters due to the suspension of funding.