Strong Corporate Governance is Key to Growth of Regional SME’s, According to Just Falafel
Sound Growth Framework is Vital to Securing Investors and Taking Middle East-Based Brands Public
Just Falafel, named as one of the UAE’s leading small- and medium-sized enterprises, is encouraging the region’s emerging brands to create a strategy for strong corporate governance as part of their growth strategies. Khaled Mersi, a veteran financial services executive with more than 25 years of experience in the banking sector, is both the chief business officer and the chief corporate governance officer for Just Falafel, and is directing the company’s efforts to increase transparency and accountability ahead of securing investment in the brand.
“The Middle East has a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and fast-growing brands need to establish sound structures and processes from the beginning as part of a good corporate governance strategy. Solid corporate governance delivers better performance and reduces risk in new businesses, while sending positive and compelling signals to customers, employees, partners and potential investors,” said Mersi, chief business officer and the chief corporate governance officer at Just Falafel.
Established in 2007, Just Falafel has grown from two modest storefronts to sixteen thriving outlets across premium locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Fujairah, with franchise agreements in place for more than 300 additional branches of the vegetarian fast-food chain around the Middle East. In sharing their approach to good corporate governance with other SMEs in the region, Just Falafel aims to raise the bar in helping other emerging businesses to establish sound practices.
Just Falafel’s chief corporate governance officer recommends four stages of growth framework for SMEs in the Middle East:
· Creating an active board with independent members, proper committees and oversight
· Solid management control through formal committees, modern systems for HR and IT, robust planning and strategy, and internal and reputable external audits
· Increased disclosure and transparency on financial and non-financial matters
· Solid shareholder practices, including financial reporting and dividend policies
“The need for employment opportunities in the region, alongside the diverse investor base here, means that there is tremendous scope for the next wave of emerging businesses in the region to become publicly traded in the next decade. At Just Falafel, we recognized the enduring appeal of a ‘humble’ and healthy food from this region and are determined to create an international business, which is why good corporate governance has been at the heart of our organization since we launched,” added Mersi.
In 2012, Just Falafel was recognized as #49 among top 100 Dubai-based SMEs out of 72,000 companies. The company is currently eyeing expansion opportunities in India and the UK, while launching outlets in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall, and recently-opened Fujairah City Centre.
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About Just Falafel:
As of June 2012, Just Falafel will have 16+ outlets in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Fujairah, with significant expansion plans throughout the UAE, the region, and the globe. Just Falafel’s vision is to create specialised centres of excellence in fast food, elevating the status of the humble falafel from the Middle East to a global phenomenon, while keeping in mind superior quality, taste, and value. Just Falafel focuses on bringing all ethnic varieties of falafel under one roof, around the Middle East and around the world. For more information, visit: www.justfalafel.com.