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SMEs Navigating COVID-19 : Lessons from the UK & the MENA Region.

Date(s) - 06/15/2021 - 06/29/2021
6:00 pm

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Brunel Business School

SMEs Navigating COVID-19 : Lessons from the UK & the MENA Region.

About this event

This valuable session, jointly hosted by Brunel University, UK & IEL International, and the UK serves as a platform to share knowledge, experiences, and solutions to rebuild SMEs in both the MENA and the UK. We welcome distinguished speakers from the UK, Oman, and the UAE to discuss how SMEs are leading through times of crisis and change to emerge as resilient, human-cantered, agile organisations. We will hear SME recovery stories and learn how the COVID crisis has disrupted traditional business models, ushered in new ways of working and operating, and changed the face of strategic decision-making. We will explore the following key questions: What are the specific and common challenges being faced by SMEs in the UK and the MENA under COVID-19? Beyond financial rescue packages, what more do we need to aid SMEs through the recovery ahead? What skills do SME owners need to acquire in order to future-proof their operating models and adopt a more human-cantered, sustainable, and inclusive approach to business recovery and growth?

Dr. Souad Moahmed

Dr. Souad is the CEO of IEL International, who specializes in Co-developing programmes and partnerships for Executive Education, Knowledge Exchange, Research and Development with leading UK universities and MENA’s governments, businesses, universities, and other organizations to make a sustainable impact in a fast-changing global world. She is currently a Visiting Fellow at the London School of Economics. Her former executive roles include – Chairperson, Adviser to Board of Directors, Governor, Board member of Trustees and Leader of International Projects Group. Dr. Souad is an interdisciplinary scholar, woman empowerment and youth development expert with over 15 years of experience in learning and development in the UK. She is a Senior Lecturer in International Business, and leads on subjects such as Communication for Global Business; Leading the Knowledge-Based Organizations; People Organizations & Management; and Web-enabled Business. Her multidisciplinary research includes women leadership development with a focus on top management career trajectories in the MENA region and Human and Sociotechnical considerations of new technology adoption in multinational companies. Her work has been published at international conferences and in refereed academic and management journals.

Dr Ainurul Rosli

Dr Ainurul Rosli is a Reader in Enterprise and Entrepreneurship and also the Director of Business Engagement at the Brunel Business School. Currently leading the Brunel Small Business Leadership Programme (SBLP) supporting around 180 businesses since October 2020 – and has been instrumental in designing, planning and delivering small business support programme, both in the UK and internationally. As an Entrepreneurship Team Coach and Entrepreneurial Mindset Practitioner (EMP), she believes in the importance of university-industry-community interaction and research with impact, which drives forward businesses and societal transformation. She has led a range of innovative business support programmes to better connect academic experts, industry partners and learners together for value co-creation.

Nadine Halabi

As Dubai Business Women Council’s Business Development Manager, Nadine helps drive business success by adopting a ‘start-up’ style of management that fosters innovation, takes advantage of new opportunities, and interprets industry trends to maximize strategic objectives. In 2021, Nadine Halabi was nominated as one of the 50 Most Influential Women in the Region under the list of ‘Women of Influence in the Arab World 2021’ by CEO Middle East. Throughout her tenure at the Council, Nadine managed to bring on board long-lasting strategic partnerships with organizations and companies that share the same mission and vision, and who delivered tailor-made content for exclusive workshops for the members of the Council with the main purpose of helping them develop their entrepreneurial skills. Through her demonstrated intrapreneurial approach to business, Nadine is considered in a strong position to continue charting the course of helping working women in Dubai develop their skills and abilities while maintaining mentorship and accelerator programmes to continuously support the members of the Dubai Business Women Council as well as the entrepreneurs in Dubai.

Sharifa AlBarami

Sharifa is the Co-Founder and CTO of, an e-commerce marketplace that aims to improve lifestyles. Previously, she was the Managing Director of the Oman Accelerator Fund, a US $15M seed fund and accelerator program aimed at investing in technology startups at the seed stage. She is also the Executive partner and co-founder of AlJazeera Global Services & Investments (AGSI). Sharifa was the primary consultant hired to design, execute and manage Oman’s first start-up accelerator & seed fund initiative, the “CELL”, a CSR initiative for OMIFCO, an Oman Oil Company Subsidiary. She also spearheaded the setup and launch of the Cisco Entrepreneur Institute for AMIDEAST in Oman in 2010-2011, as Business Consultant, Programs Manager and trainer, she is an active advocate for Oman’s tech entrepreneurship and small business ecosystem. She has experience of over 16 years in the public and private sectors. Sharifa was awarded the title of Admirable Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, 2015. She also won the Women of Excellence Award in Entrepreneurship in Oct 2012 and the Business Personality of the Year (Businesswoman Category) in Jan 2012.

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