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MEPRA survey reveals 60 per cent of clients do not pay according to contract agreements

30 small and medium independent communication agencies in the UAE were surveyed to assess the biggest challenges faced by this group

Acorn Strategy CEO Kate Midttun

The Middle East Public Relations Association (MEPRA) released results from their recent survey today, which revealed the top challenges faced by small and medium independent communication agencies in the UAE. The survey polled 30 organisations last month to determine how MEPRA can better support this group.

The survey, which will be run every year to monitor how MEPRA is helping to overcome industry challenges, revealed:

  • Managing overdue receivables, cashflow, accessing market reports and managing the RFP process were the four top challenges faced by small and medium independent agencies
  • 60% of respondents said clients don’t pay according to contract agreements
  • Almost 90% of respondents said they are challenged on price either at pitch stage or by clients and it’s “untenable”
  • Almost 40% of respondents say they hope to grow their businesses by 20% in terms of number of employees

MEPRA established a working group made up of small and medium independent agency board members to develop a strategy, which addresses the challenges faced by SMEs and consultants in the Middle East. The group, which includes Acorn Strategy CEO Kate Midttun (pictured), Brazen MENA’s Managing Partner Louise Jacobson, Matrix PR CEO Hilmarie Hutchison, Shakespeare Communications CEO Ananda Shakespeare, Sticky Ginger Managing Partner Kiera Purdue and Tales and Heads Co-Founder Margaret Flanagan has developed a series of support activity to be rolled out by MEPRA starting next month.

The tailored support includes bi-monthly workshops on cashflow management, legal support, building company culture and how to prepare for growth; a resource centre for small and medium independents and consultants, which includes a list of recommended supplier contacts, tips and guides tailored for SMEs; quarterly digital drop-ins and networking events to discuss challenges and opportunities; industry partner discounts negotiated by MEPRA on behalf of small and medium independents and consultants; an industry rate cards guide to assist with pricing and budget development; lobbying efforts to help assist with delayed payments for SMEs; and special payment terms for small and medium independents and consultants on MEPRA memberships and events.

MEPRA Chair of the Small and Medium Independents and Consultants Working Group, and Acorn Strategy CEO, Kate Midttun said:

“While the survey revealed many of our small independent members benefit from MEPRA’s free training, wellness support and branding opportunities, we realised there was still a lot of work to do in developing support which specifically addressed unique challenges faced by this group. Small and medium independents and consultants are vital to our industry and its future. Supporting their specific needs and ensuring they have access to resources and tools they need is an important contribution to the economy as well as our remit at MEPRA.”

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