In an interview with Entrepreneur Magazine, Abdulwahab Al-Roshood, Acting Group Chief Executive Officer at KFH said that since 1980s KFH has been a pioneer in supporting the youth and the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
He added that KFH is a success partner with SMEs and entrepreneurs, where several companies started their relationship with KFH with a credit facility of KD50k, and now the credit facility surged to reach KD3mn. This underlines the significant role of KFH in improving these businesses and transforming them into larger companies.
Al-Roshood said “the SMEs unit in KFH serves the needs of SMEs and Micro business and provides more attention, assistance, and financial consultation for the SMEs. This comes in line with KFH`s social responsibility and the stimulus plan that CBK launched in 2020 where SMEs was a main league among the segments.
In respect of opportunities and trends, industries are expected to rise in the months ahead, something which Kuwaiti entrepreneurs should take advantage of. Al-Roshood said that technology has short- and long-term positive outlook; however, he advised entrepreneurs to consider the fast changes happening in this specific sector.
Meanwhile, Al-Roshood indicated that as entrepreneurs face unprecedented challenges, patience, agility and ability to adopt to change are important qualities they should have, in addition to proper management of cash flows, capital raising, good marketing and communication strategies and learning from competitors.
He added that entrepreneurs should also have clear visions while realizing the importance of perseverance, initiative, and responsiveness, and most importantly they should have strong belief and confidence in themselves.
Advice to entrepreneurs
Al-Roshood said that Kuwait and the banking sector have always been supportive to entrepreneurs and the SMEs sector, as this segment plays an instrumental role in boosting the economy and paving the way to larger projects and more advanced and innovative businesses, while creating jobs for the youth and achieving prosperity and development.
He advised entrepreneurs to remain in customers minds as the preferable choice, and to protect assets, secure smart financing with proper budgeting and consider digital transformation through innovation, readiness and agility.
Al-Roshood said that despite the ravages of the Covid-19 pandemic, 2020 has taught us great lessons about the importance of adapting to change, coping with crisis, having different attitudes to risk and redesign priorities. Most importantly, it taught us that digital transformation is not a choice, but a must.
“We learned that what matters most for businesses is to offer customers uninterrupted services under all circumstances. This is possible through having a stronger digital presence with adaptive systems and multiple channels both physical and virtual, along with rigid controls to defend the interests of both customers and shareholders,” He added.
Al-Roshood emphasized the role of KFH in supporting SMEs, saying that it is one of the main sectors that are targeted to receive support from the government, and subsequently from the banks, to achieve Kuwait 2035 vision.
He added that KFH is considered the first bank in Kuwait to designate a financing department for SMEs sector.
Al-Roshood said that the growth of SMEs segment was going in acceptable direction, however, during 2020, SMEs sector has faced a huge challenge due to COVID 19 Pandemic as it is considered the most affected sector by economic instability due to its size, structure and nature.
He pointed out that KFH was considerate towards the situation and circumstances of the SMEs which were hit by the COVID 19 Pandemic and its economic repercussions. KFH worked closely with the SMEs sector and provided them with varied and flexible solutions through restructuring and deferring debts until they recovered and resumed business activity.