ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Data Loss Protection, Cybersecurity, and Best Practices in Kuwait

 

FOR IMMEDITATE RELEASE

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Data Loss Protection, Cybersecurity, and Best Practices in Kuwait

 

June 30, 2021. The ABCK-AmCham Kuwait held a ‘Data Loss Protection (DLP), Cybersecurity, and Best Practices in Kuwait’ panel discussion, with the support of the Communication & Information Technology Regulatory Authority (CITRA) and the U.S. – Kuwait Business Council. The panelists for this discussion included Mohammad Altura -Chief, Market Regulations & Competition at CITRA, Vivek Joshi – Deputy Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, Alain Sanchez – EMEA CISO at Fortinet, Majd Abbar – National Technology Officer at Microsoft, Ayed Al Qartah, M.Sc. – Technical Solutions Architect at CISCO, Faisal M. AlAli- Enterprise Risk Management Manager at Zain. The discussion was moderated by Dana Winner, M.Sc. – Cybersecurity Policy & Certified Information System Security Professional (CISSP).

 

In his opening statements, ABCK- AmCham Kuwait’s Chairman, Frank Belonus welcomed the panelists and moderator and gave a special thanks to CITRA, the U.S. Embassy of Kuwait, and the U.S.-Kuwait Business Council for their support. He then introduced Dana Winner as the moderator for this discussion.

 

Winner introduced the topic by talking about the statistics on data breaches between August 2019, and April 2020, as the average cost of data breaches was estimated at 4 million USD in the U.S., in which healthcare data breaches cost more than 7 million dollars per breach, making Cyber-attacks a major costly issue. The core principles of cybersecurity are confidentiality, integrity, and availability (CIA). She stated that the purpose of this discussion was to create a better understanding of the subject of DLP, how it is related to cybersecurity, and details on how to better respond to threats and strengthen our vulnerabilities, especially in Kuwait.

 

Winner started the discussion by asking panelists about the entity responsible for DLP and Cybersecurity on a Macro and Micro level. Sanchez stated that we all have a global responsibility to imagine, design, maintain, and communicate cybersecurity to keep crucial assets safe. Cybersecurity is now more than technology; it is a mission that is to make our hyper-connected world a safer place. He added that in the past there was a department essentially in charge of cybersecurity, but this scope has now expanded. Joshi agreed and said that every incident begins with an individual; therefore, the responsibility falls on both the collective and the individual. According to Altura, the government is responsible for building awareness and ensuring an understanding of the risks that cyber-attacks pose to nations. He said that trends are happening at this time regarding national cyber-strategies, especially in building awareness. The government’s IT infrastructure is incredibly critical to building resilience and better protection for the nation. Abbar built upon this comment by proving a corporate approach, stating that the entity responsible is the one in the organization that can best propose recommendations to the security department, to ensure that red flags and hints do not go unattended. Al Qartah stated that cybersecurity breaches heavily affect the reputation of organizations, and cause major financial loss, and have multiple negative effects which can truly damage companies. He advised participants to be wary of different types of attacks as they evolve, for example, phishing attacks combined with social engineering are often used to compromise systems. AlAli finalized this question by stating that it is the responsibility of every single person however the main responsibility falls upon the CISO or the cybersecurity department, as it is their responsibility to enable the company employees to have the tools and awareness to fight off cyber-threats and protect crucial assets better.

 

Winner asked the panelists whether there is a specific budget that companies follow for cybersecurity and DLP. Joshi noted that the budget is inversely proportional to the amount of education and awareness. Higher awareness = Less budget as it has a direct economic impact in terms of how much an organization would be required to spend on cybersecurity. Altura spoke about the digital transformation hype happening in the industry, which reduces the cost of running IT within the organization, by using providers for secure cloud solutions. He mentioned that these providers can take on the cost of infrastructure as they already provide this, so the budget need for this infrastructure will be reduced. By using cloud computing to secure data, the customer can focus on the core business as the provider is mostly responsible for the security aspects of the cloud. Abbar mentioned by using cloud solutions, the responsibility becomes shared, but a large portion goes to the provider instead of the customer, he mentioned that the budget for this goes from 2% to 15% percent based on the organization’s needs. According to Al Qartah, the more regulated the organization the higher the cost that they must pay if they have a breach. Organizations must know where data is always stored by doing a data classification process, which is a continuous journey. AlAli also discussed that in his point of view, being a hybrid (cloud and on-premises) is most effective because in the case that companies input all their information on the cloud, and a country decides to issue a law in which all customer data must be in the country, it will be incredibly costly to bring all the data back into the server. Sanchez advises cybersecurity offices to present scenarios to not make the decision alone in order to involve the entire C-Suite.  Instead present the scenario to the clients, the partners, and stakeholders, so that everyone has a voice, and all agree to go at a specific level of risk and investment, to make a collective and informed decision.

 

Winner finalized the discussion by talking about the colonial pipeline shutdown caused by ransomware, and the breach on the solar winds supply chain breach. She asked panelists where we must assume that we will be breached and what should be our response if we are at that risk. Abbar mentioned that there is a 0-trust policy that is not a matter of if but when you will be a breach, how to detect it and how to recover from it, we must strengthen the international rules to ensure there are laws to deal with these attackers as one of the crucial steps. Al Qartah stated that we cannot rely on conventional security for attacks like that previously mentioned, we need to start with changing the rules of engagement, so we need to ensure that the environment is hardened, by increasing visibility, threat hunting, and 0-trust model to ensure that excessive trust that is given to network management tools is risky if it is being used by an adversary. Al Faisal spoke about the methodology of assessing the data, classifying the data, encryption, and masking, he says even though it is a matter of time to get breached, we want to make it harder for hackers to get the data if we follow a good methodology of encryption for critical data. Sanchez says that by educating your people whether they have the technical knowledge or not, you are raising the levels of cybersecurity in your company, along with using methods such as encryption, and authentication for passwords. Joshi said that quickly disseminating information on threats is incredibly important as is learning from mistakes from others. Altura agreed that learning from mistakes is incredibly important, by having organizations being more transparent about their breaches, others can learn how to protect themselves better, and this can be of great service to the rest of the world. Countries should implement transparency laws to help companies protect themselves through information sharing.

 

Winner closed the discussion by offering the audience the support of AmCham Kuwait, in order to support data protection in Kuwait. She thanked the panel for their crucial input, and she mentioned that the meeting was recorded and can be found on AmCham Kuwait’s YouTube.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium-sized companies, as well as prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media at @abck1985.

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Elects the new Board of Directors’ Officers for 2021

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Elects the new Board of Directors’ Officers for 2021

 

June 7, 2021: ABCK-AmCham Kuwait held its first Board Meeting post-elections for 2021. The meeting called for the Board of Directors’ members to elect the new Officers of the Board.

 

 

The ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has announced that results for the Officers Elections as follows: Frank Belonus was elected as the Chairman of the Board, Pete Swift was elected as the Vice-Chairman of the Board, Amit Arora was elected as the Treasurer of the Board, and Omar Dirani was elected as the Secretary of the Board. The Officers of the Board are elected on a yearly basis, and Board of Director positions have a tenure of 3 years.

 

The following Board Members were elected by the Chairman of the Board to Chair AmCham Kuwait’s Committees, as per the by-laws: Membership – Akram Kamal, Programs & Events- Rachad Abdallah, Policy & Strategic – Rashed Almanee, Nominating & Elections – Pete Swift.

 

The following AmCham Kuwait Members were elected to Chair AmCham Kuwait’s Focus Groups:

 

Banking & Finance (BF) : Chair- Amit Arora (EY), Defense, Safety & Security ( DSS) : Chair- Bob Bailey (Boeing), Education : Chair- Sam Jauhari (GFT), Energy: Chair- Fred Shuaibi (Honorary Member), Food & Beverage (FB): Chair- Akram Kamal (Del Monte), Healthcare: Chair- Tamer El Sallab (Viatris), Hospitality, Travel & Tourism (HTT): Chair- Mohamed Najia (Individual Member), Human Resources (HR): Chair- Angela Carrigan (Honeywell), IT/Cyber-Security (ITC): Chair- Alaeddine Karim (Microsoft), Knowledge Economy (KE): Co-Chairs Dr. Arezou Harraf (Learn & Evolve), Dana Winner (Individual Member), Legal: Chair- Philip Kotsis (Al Tamimi & Company), Logistics : Chair- Pete Swift (Individual Member) and Women in Business ( WIB): Chair- Dr. Arezou Harraf ( Learn & Evolve).

 

Current Board Members of AmCham Kuwait: Frank Belonus -Chairman of the Board (Individual Member), Pete Swift-Vice-Chairman of the Board (Individual Member), Amit Arora- Treasurer of the Board (EY), Omar Dirani- Secretary of the Board (Fluor), Akram Kamal  (Del Monte), Alaeddine Karim (Microsoft), Dr. Arezou Harraf ( Learn & Evolve), Fatah Adour ( Citi Bank), Khadija Ouabala (The Sultan Center), Rachad Abdallah ( Honeywell), Robert Bailey (Boeing), Sam Jauhari ( GFT), Tamer El Sallab ( Viatris), Dr. Arezou Harraf ( Learn & Evolve), Omar Ben Naji ( Everyware Pro), Rashed Almanee (Individual Member).

 

Ex-Officio Board Members: Shari Stout (U.S. Embassy of Kuwait), Paola de la Roche (ABCK-AmCham Kuwait)

 

The ABCK-AmCham Kuwait looks forward to another successful year with its Board of Directors, as they bring forward their expertise and insights to the Chamber. The Board of Directors ensures that a broad range of industries and expertise is strongly represented through AmCham Kuwait’s activities and initiatives.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of more than 600 members from corporations, small and medium sized companies, prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs that are both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait acts as an advocate for American business interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channels at @abck1985

Kuwait B2B Inter-Council Speed Networking Event

 

June 3, 2021: ABCK-AmCham Kuwait, Australian Business Group Kuwait, British Business Forum Kuwait, Canadian Business Council, German Business Council- Kuwait, and Portuguese Business Council – Kuwait held their first Inter-Council networking event for 2021, to foster new relationships among member companies throughout the network of Chambers and Councils in the State of Kuwait.

 

The Inter-Council Networking event facilitated fast-moving networking sessions for business owners and executives. Attendees were placed into rooms with a few other individuals, and each attendee got to interact with several professionals in the State of Kuwait, as they shared their own business profiles with other attendees.

The Councils/Forums and Chambers represent together over 1,000 member companies and millions of dollars of foreign investment in the State of Kuwait. They are the go-to organizations in the country for anything trade-related.

 

As partners for their respective countries, the Councils and Chambers are devoted to supporting the development of commercial relations between Kuwait and their representative countries, but also focus heavily on networking Kuwait’s business community through unique events and programs year-round.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channels at @abck1985

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Board of Director’s Beach Clean-up

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Board of Director’s Beach Clean-up

 

 

May 24, 2021. The ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Board of Directors conducted a beach clean-up to collect plastic and other garbage along the Kuwait Free-trade Zone, near the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah causeway.

 

As part of the Chamber’s sustainability goals, the Board of Directors conducted a beach clean-up to collect refuse along the Kuwait Free-trade zone near the Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmad Al Sabah causeway. This zone is well-known for the large number of migratory birds that come around yearly, and it is important to maintain these shorelines’ cleanliness to enable better migration and conservation of threatened species. To adhere to government regulations, the AmCham Kuwait maintained this as a ‘Board Members-only’ beach clean-up, where they split into groups of four to minimize exposure. Each of them maintained an appropriate distance with others and paid heed to personal protection.

 

Pete Swift, Chair of the Events & Programs Committee and Vice-Chair of AmCham Kuwait, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Board Members for taking part in the Kuwait Free Trade Zone’s beach clean-up, and highlighted that once the government restrictions are lifted, this Corporate Social Responsibility initiative will be done with Member volunteers and their families. This activity was done in effort to spread awareness regarding keeping our shorelines clean and plastic-free, to protect our ecosystem.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, as well as prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channel @abck1985.

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Annual General Meeting of 2021

FOR IMMEDITATE RELEASE

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Annual General Meeting of 2021

 

May 23, 2021. The ABCK-AmCham Kuwait held their Virtual Annual Membership and Elections event, consisting of ABCK- AmCham Kuwait members and non-members from across different industries in Kuwait and the GCC region. The event was aimed at informing guests about ABCK- AmCham Kuwait’s goals, initiatives, updating them on past performance as well as upcoming plans.

 

In his opening statements, ABCK- AmCham Kuwait’s Chairman, Frank Belonus, thanked the membership and the Board of Director on their constant support and contribution to the organization. He informed the membership that Fred Shuaibi, former Board of Directors Member had been granted an honorary membership with the organization due to his contributions as one of the 15 founding members of the organization. Belonus gave a snapshot of the organization’s activities over the past year: “We saw a 45% increase in organizational growth over the past 12 months, despite the challenges that the pandemic brought to our organization and members We currently have over 600 members from top companies and leaders in virtually every industry in Kuwait”. Belonus also touched based on the organization’s increased regional collaborations with other AmChams and entities throughout the region, as this has increased the number of online activities that the Chamber has been able to do for their membership, to keep them engaged and informed.

 

Belonus then spoke about AmCham Kuwait’s industry-based focus groups which are comprised of every member within the organization, as this has allowed members to connect with others within their industry and collaborate to find solutions for challenges within their industry. Belonus introduced Dr. Arezou Harraf, Chair of the Women in Business Focus Group and Board Member, who spoke about AmCham Kuwait’s most recent achievement on becoming on the 30th signatory in the State of Kuwait for the Women’s Empowerment Principles from the United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Women.

 

Belonus also spoke about the new ‘Champion’ recognition that has been created for Chairman’s Club companies who have supported AmCham Kuwait within the past 18 months, with a special sponsorship that has strongly contributed to the sustenance of the organization. He announced to the participants the 2 companies that earned this prestigious recognition: GOFSCO and Lockheed Martin; He thanked the 2 organizations for the crucial support during the year of 2020, which allowed AmCham Kuwait to continue with its advocacy efforts.

Paola de la Roche, ABCK- AmCham Kuwait’s Acting Executive Director, then presented attendees with the financial performance for 2020, and allocated budget for the upcoming year.

 

De la Roche then introduced Rashed AlManee, Chair of the Policy & Strategic Committee and Board Member, who spoke about the U.S./Kuwait Strategic Dialogue of 2020, and thanked the U.S. Embassy for their crucial role in the strategic dialogue which involved topics such as economic diversification, education, economic growth, collaborations, among other topics during these visits. AlManee also spoke about AmCham Kuwait’s membership with the Middle Eastern American Chambers of Commerce (MECACC), as there will be a door-knock at the U.S. Capitol which will be held in September, and encouraged the American Members to be part of this door-knock in order to have their voices heard during the organization’s visit to the U.S..

 

Almanee finalized his updates by informing the members that AmCham Kuwait’s Membership with AmCham MENA has enabled stronger collaborations throughout the region, and he announced that AmCham MENA will be launching a virtual market soon for our membership base to announce their business opportunities around the region. This will also be reflected on AmCham Kuwait’s website in order to further showcase the members businesses.

 

After that, ABCK- AmCham Kuwait’s Vice Chairman, Pete Swift, spoke about past events and highlighted some of the events that ABCK- AmCham Kuwait has in store for 2021. Swift also reminded the attendees about the Board of Directors’ Elections for 2021, and he asked that each company choose 1 representative to vote on behalf of the whole company, as he informed the attendees that the results of the elections would be announced on the 20th of May.

 

The event concluded with virtual speed networking where new and existing members had the chance to get to know each other and learn about different businesses and industries.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, as well as prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channel @abck1985.

To watch the recording, click here

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Commits their Support to the United Nations’ Women Empowerment Principles

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Commits their Support to the United Nations’ Women Empowerment Principles

 

 

 

 

 

April 27,2021: ABCK -AmCham Kuwait has become one of the signatories for the United Nations’ (UN) Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), supported by its Women in Business Focus Group, chaired by Dr. Arezou Harraf. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait joins almost 4,800+ global signatory companies, and 30 signatory companies in the state of Kuwait, which are part of supporting and advancing the WEPs.

 

The WEPs are a group of principles developed in 2010, which offer a holistic framework to organizations and businesses on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace, and community. The 7 WEPs principles are an initiative established by the UN Global Compact and UN Women, and these principles encourage companies and their leadership to improve gender equality, as well as other facets to advance gender equality in their workforce, supply chains, and communities.

 

Mr. Frank Belonus, Chairman of the Board of AmCham Kuwait said: “ABCK- AmCham Kuwait is proud to be one of many globally signing the Women Empowerment Principles by the United Nations Global Compact. Last year, ABCK-AmCham Kuwait launched a Women in Business (WIB) Focus Group, as we saw a need for a group that helps and empowers women in the workforce within our own membership and in Kuwait. Our WIB Focus Group aligns with Kuwait’s Vision 2035, which includes achieving gender equality and empowerment for women, as the role of women in the workforce and economic development is crucial for the economic development and diversification of any country. By signing the Women Empowerment Principles by the United Nations Global Compact, we step in the right direction as an organization, as we express our support in advancing gender equality by using the 7 principles of the WEPs as guiding points in benefit to our society.”

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait is proud to commit to work collaboratively with multi-stakeholder networks such as their own Corporate Members to foster business practices that empower women.

 

To learn more about the WEPS and sign the CEO statement, please visit www.empowerwomen.org/en/weps/about

 

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channels at @abck1985

AmCham Kuwait, and Microsoft for Startups host a Regional Webinar on ‘Achieving Growth with Microsoft for Startups.’

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait, and Microsoft for Startups host a Regional Webinar on ‘Achieving Growth with Microsoft for Startups.’

 

April 19, 2021. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait in collaboration with Microsoft hosted a regional webinar on ‘Achieving Growth with Microsoft for Startups’. The virtual webinar was organized with the support of AmCham Abu Dhabi, AmCham Bahrain, AmCham Oman, and AmCham Qatar.

 

The webinar started off with opening remarks by Mr. Frank Belonus, the Chairman of the Board of ABCK-AmCham Kuwait, as he welcomed the participants and introduced Mr. Roberto Croci- Managing Director of Microsoft for Startups, Middle East & Africa.

Mr. Croci opened the discussion by talking about what startups need to succeed in the market and the Middle East startup ecosystem. “For us, there are 2 main things, the first being technology- as we are a technology-based company, we can help and support startups to build on the cloud and leverage other solutions and products that Microsoft has. We help startups build products that can scale with solid and reliable architecture. Second: Startups need access to costumers to close deals and be visible. This area connects with value, as we also help startups connect with investors and access to talent”. – Roberto Croci

 

Mr. Croci then spoke about how to build a “connected ecosystem”, starting with Incubators and Accelerators: where there are startups that are working with these players for access to technology and marketsàFunders and Venture Capitals: in order to go through the startup’s portfolio and focus on the targets where they can add value as this will work to increase the valuation of the startups à Microsoft Partners (MSP, GSI, (i) CSPs) which can provide scale and provide access to different markets for startupsà Government and Public Sector: the ecosystem is mainly government lead when it comes to startups, as they have seen that the economy in the GCC is turning from being oil based to knowledge based, which means that governments are building policies to support startupsà Microsoft (MSfs, OCP, SMC): which provides the startups with knowledge solutionsà Technology and Business upskilling (Cloud Society and MS Learn): there are regional initiatives that have been launched, and there will be more initiatives for Microsoft for startups when it comes to training and skilling around entrepreneurship and focusing on youth.

 

One major asset that Microsoft offers is their worldwide scale, as this offers global support for companies that wish to emerge into new regions/markets, they also offer customer sales/support which aid startups from being market-ready to be enterprise-ready. Mr. Croci spoke about Microsoft’s technical expertise that is offered to startups, which start with infrastructure and cloud, including advanced services like Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Microsoft helps startups to build solid architectures and optimizing the cost to integrate them with other solutions. He also mentioned that Microsoft’s program can introduce startups to venture capitals and mentorship programs in which companies have access to opportunities to grow.

 

Microsoft for Startups’ focus is on Business-to-Business (B2B) startups that have “traction”, as they are launching a program in August 2021, in which they will work with 15 startups in corporate engagement for 3 months with workshops, mentorships, and investor demo day. World-class mentors and experts will work with these 15 startups to make them more sellable to corporates and “market-ready”. For the long term they will have an initiative that will start with youth’s entrepreneurship, as the program will come with a layer of certifications provided by Microsoft; this will support the youth with employability and will help them learn different entrepreneurial skills.

 

Mr. Croci finalized the discussion by informing participants that during June 2021, Microsoft for Startups will launch a competition that will be done through ‘Growth X’. With these programs, there is added vision and real programs that can cover the different stages and cycles across startups to have a global impact in the local ecosystem. The program schedule for Microsoft Startups Global has the mission to help B2B Startups scale their business via technology enablement and access to the market. Some of the benefits of this program include USD$25,000 – USD$250,000 Cloud credits, enterprise licenses for github, PowerApps, Visual Studio & O365. They also will support those startups with co-marketing, as well as exposure to governments, corporates, and investors.

To conclude the event, Mr. Belonus thanked Mr. Croci for his input, as well as participants for their engagement. He also encouraged attendees to follow Microsoft for Startups to stay informed about the upcoming competition.

 

For more information, please visit Microsoft for Startup’s website at: https://startups.microsoft.com/en-us/ , and follow us on social media at ABCK-AmCham Kuwait for more upcoming events.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channel @abck1985.

B2B Regional Speed Networking for ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Members and U.S. Chamber of Commerce affiliates in the GCC

B2B Regional Speed Networking for ABCK-AmCham Kuwait Members and U.S. Chamber of Commerce affiliates in the GCC

 

April 11, 2021: ABCK -AmCham Kuwait in collaboration with the GCC AmChams held their first ever Regional Speed networking event, to foster new relationships among member companies throughout the network of U.S. Chamber of Commerce affiliates in the GCC (AmChams).

 

Seven affiliates of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in the GCC invited their member companies to participate in the event, which facilitated fast-moving brief networking sessions for business owners and executives. Attendees were placed into rooms with a few other individuals, for 4 minutes at a time. Each attendee got to meet dozens of other professionals in the GCC and were given many chances to share their own business profiles with others.

 

To close the event, the AmChams in the GCC did a raffle for the participants, in which Del Monte MENA provided 3 winners with fruit baskets or a box of dates (based on the country of residence).

 

The event also highlighted the launch of an exclusive LinkedIn group called: “Members of AmChams in the GCC”. This group will serve as a professional development and networking group where current AmCham members may post articles, questions, opportunities, promotions, job postings, and discussion topics.

 

AmChams in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Dubai, KSA, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman represent over 1,000 member companies and millions of dollars of U.S. investment in the region. They are the go-to organizations in each country for anything U.S. trade-related.

 

Covid-19 has strengthened regional collaboration between all AmChams, and we are extremely excited to introduce ABCK-AmCham Kuwait members to other AmCham members within the GCC.

 

As the official affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Kuwait, the ABCK -AmCham Kuwait is devoted to supporting the development of commercial relations between Kuwait and the U.S., but also focuses heavily on networking Kuwait’s business community through unique events and programs year-round.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channels at @abck1985

Regional Webinar on ‘How to Franchise U.S. Brands, Investing in the U.S., and the Legal Aspects of Franchising.’

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait, the U.S. Commercial Service- Kuwait, and Al Tamimi & Company host a Regional Webinar on ‘How to Franchise U.S. Brands, Investing in the U.S., and the Legal Aspects of Franchising.’

 

April 13, 2021. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait in collaboration with the U.S. Commercial Service – Kuwait, and Al Tamimi & Company hosted a webinar on how to Franchise U.S. Brands, Investing in the U.S., and the Legal Aspects of Franchising. The virtual webinar was organized with the support of AmCham Dubai, and AmCham Oman.

 

 

The webinar started off with opening remarks by Mr. Frank Belonus, the Chairman of the Board of ABCK-AmCham Kuwait, as he welcomed the participants and introduced Mr. Joel Stewart- Founder of International Franchise Marketplace, Mr. Fady Ghanem- Partner, Corporate Structuring of Al Tamimi & Company, and Mrs. Shari Stout – Senior Commercial Officer of the U.S. Commercial Service in Kuwait.

Mr. Stewart opened the discussion by talking about how to Franchise a U.S. Brand. He mentioned the main 3 aspects that one must investigate prior to franchising: Identifying the reasons for wanting to franchise a U.S. brand, identifying the leverageable elements of a U.S. franchise, and engaging with the franchise that will meet ones’ objectives. He further elaborated on these 3 elements by speaking about the different franchise development models, whereas the single unit development is the basic core of the franchise system, the area development system which is where someone agrees to open a of series franchise units in a specific geographic area, and the master franchise agreement which is when someone becomes the franchise developer of a region, and they can sub-sell unit development agreements to others.

 

Another important element is the brand and the operations of the franchise. In which the brand represents a “substantial similar costumer experience, and this is the real power of a franchise, you could go to a location in another country and that experience should be substantially like the franchise that you opened right next to your house. The power of the brand is created through the brand operations, in which the brand has experimented and refined their operations to be efficient and to create a very pleasant costumer experience, this allows your franchise to be powerful”, Mr. Stewart noted. He informed the participants that if they were interested in finding available U.S. Franchises, they can reach out to franchise brokers, such as himself, or the U.S. Commercial Service.

The topic of the legal aspects of franchising was opened by Mr. Fady Ghanem, who spoke about the legal aspects to consider when opening a franchise. He also spoke about the different industries that are available for franchising, and he also urged those who are interested in expanding their business to ensure that their intellectual property is protected in any place in which they wish to expand the brand to. He also asked franchisees to investigate their trademarks to ensure that they are recognized locally and regionally, depending on the nature of the business and scope of the franchise.

 

Mr. Ghanem also spoke about franchise agreements, as he mentioned that no two franchise agreements will ever be the same, but that they should include the following: the term of the franchise, Trademark licensing and business operation along with the limitations on usage , Fees and mode of payment, Territory and scope, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and Manuals, Restrictions, Termination of the franchise agreement, Obligations for execution, termination, and post-termination, Non-compete agreements, Confidential information, Responsibilities and obligations of franchisor and franchisee.

 

Mr. Ghanem spoke about the main role of a franchisor, which involves securing protection for their intellectual property, licensing the use of their brand name, in which he mentioned that is incredibly important for franchisors to monitor the franchisee’s activities to ensure that they are following the SOPs and manuals, and their role is to conduct research and development to improves sales and customer adoption. He also finalized his talk by talking about the main roles of the franchisee, which involve paying royalties, complying with procedures, and complying with franchise targets.

To finalize, Mrs. Shari Stout spoke about the U.S. Commercial Service’s mission. Their mission in Kuwait is to promote the export of goods and services from the U.S., supporting U.S. companies to identify local partners, support Kuwaiti companies on finding U.S. suppliers, and aiding Kuwaiti companies interested in investing in the U.S., which is done through their customized services.

 

Mrs. Stout spoke about the benefits of investing in the U.S., including the fact that the U.S. has a vast population of 325 Million people, with a 20 trillion USD GDP. The U.S. also offers strong intellectual protection laws, as well as diversity and innovation with a well-trained workforce. The U.S. Commercial Service aids companies to invest in the U.S. through the SelectUSA Investment Summit, and this year’s program will be held virtually through June 7-11, 2021. The purpose of the program is to introduce international investors to the U.S. by introducing them to economic development organizations virtually, as well as having them participate in investor education sessions that will be hosted over the course of the 4-day period. To learn more about the Summit please contact the U.S. Commercial Service-Kuwait office.

 

To conclude the event, Mr. Belonus thanked participants and panellists for their input and questions and encouraged attendees to follow ABCK-AmCham Kuwait on social media for more upcoming events.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: Is a non-profit organization operating since 1985 and is composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interest in the state of Kuwait. For More Information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media channel @abck1985.

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ABCK-AmCham Kuwait hosts a Women in Leadership Panel Discussion

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait hosts a Women in Leadership Panel Discussion

 

April 4. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait’s Women in Business Focus Group hosted a virtual panel discussion on “Women in Leadership: Secrets to Success.” The panel discussion was led by Her Excellency Alina L. Romanowski, U.S. Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, Mrs. Eaman Al Roudhan- CEO of Zain Kuwait, Ms. Khadija Oubala- CEO of the Sultan Center Group, and Dr. Abeer Al Omar- Senior Executive Corporate Communications & Government Affairs at EQUATE Petrochemicals Company. The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Arezou Harraf, Chair of the Women in Business Focus Group and CEO of Learn & Evolve.

 

Dr. Harraf started the discussion by emphasizing that “Women’s participation in the economy can increase employment rates, reduce poverty, and help in economic diversification.” Dr. Harraf added that ABCK’s Women in Business focus group aligns with Kuwait’s Vision 2035, which includes advocacy for women in the workplace. She announced that ABCK -AmCham Kuwait will become signatories to the Women Empowerment Principles of the United Nations Global Compact as part of the organization’s efforts to advance gender equality.

 

Her Excellency Alina L. Romanowski, U.S. Ambassador to the State of Kuwait, discussed ABCK-AmCham Kuwait and the U.S. Embassy’s efforts to strengthen both cultural and economic connections between the United States and Kuwait. She pointed out that ABCK-AmCham Kuwait is celebrating its 36th anniversary and congratulated the organization on their recent launch of Women in Business focus group.

Dr. Harraf opened the panel discussion by asking Ambassador Romanowski about the skills that she acquired during her time as an Ambassador and as a government official. H.E. Ambassador Romanowski responded that she has developed skills like public speaking and dealing with the media, and as an Ambassador, “you have to be articulate to policy issues and what we stand for even if you might disagree with others in the arena.”

 

Dr. Harraf asked Mrs. Al Roudhan -CEO of Zain Kuwait, about the most significant barriers in her career. Mrs. Al Roudhan replied, “The main difficulty most women face in big organizations is the fact that management (and the system) sometimes does not fully prepare and expect women to get the top executive posts.”

 

Mrs. Al Roudhan added that women do not get as much proper training as male colleagues. For example, men are usually tasked with more difficult or challenging tasks than their female counterparts. She noted that society expects women to be “nice and soft spoken,” but society also expects leaders to be assertive. She mentioned that in the beginning of her career she struggled to balance this, but with time she was able to learn from her experience about how to be a kind yet assertive leader.

 

Dr. Harraf asked Ms. Khadija Oubala – CEO of The Sultan Center Group, about her definition of success; Ms. Oubala replied that “Success is a moving target.” She noted that her definition has evolved since she was younger, and added “success is, being able to look at what I have achieved in my life at any given moment and feel fulfilled and satisfied with what I have accomplished. Not only professionally but also personally and socially. It is also to have no regrets but rather to know that you made the best of which you are capable.”

 

Dr. Abeer Al-Omar- Senior Executive Corporate Communications & Government Affairs at EQUATE Petrochemicals Company was asked about her inspiration for success. “Since starting my career, I’ve learnt to take inspiration from as many people as possible – one person is my mother who as pioneer of education in Kuwait, taught me to trust in myself and what I believe in. There is no easy route to climbing a career ladder, but there is every opportunity for you to do so if you are determined and motivated.”

The moderator asked Ambassador Romanowski about the skills she finds most important to live a successful life based on her definition of success. Ambassador Romanowski replied, “I think it is really important to know what is important to you, and what are your priorities.” Her Excellency said that balance is the key factor to success depending on what the person is focusing on, as everyone prioritizes different facets of their life. Based on that, people will find their own success.

 

The panel discussion came to an end as the panelists were asked for the advice that they would give to young women entering the business world and what skills would be the most important for women in leadership positions. Dr. Harraf opened the floor for questions for panelists about their leadership skills and experiences. The moderator ended the panel discussion by thanking the attendees for their participation and acknowledged ABCK-Am-Cham Kuwait’s mission of promoting women in business.

 

ABCK-AmCham Kuwait: A non-profit organization operating since 1985 composed of 500 corporations, small and medium sized companies, and prominent business leaders and entrepreneurs, both American and Kuwaiti. ABCK-AmCham Kuwait has acted as an advocate for American interests in the State of Kuwait. For more information, please visit our website at www.amchamkuwait.org or follow us on social media @abck1985.