The Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) Development Company ‘Enterprise Qatar’ (EQ) has entered into a partnership agreement with Doha Bank in order to further support entrepreneurs and SMEs.
The agreement forms part of the activation process of the Rating and Accreditation programme launched earlier by EQ to help entrepreneurs and SMEs improve their commercial and financial processes.
The signing ceremony, which was held on Monday 21, 2014, was attended by senior representatives from the two organisations. Signing the official agreement was Omran Hamad Al-Kuwari, EQ’s Chief Executive Officer and Dr R. Seetharaman, Doha Bank Group’s Chief Executive Officer.
Under the agreement, Doha Bank will provide a comprehensive package of services and facilities to the companies rated by EQ. The package on offer to approved companies includes credit enhancement, discounts for debt arrangement and loans processing fees, preferential handling upon submitting requests for services, a reduction of security requirements and competitive pricing.
Commenting about the partnership agreement, EQ’s Chief Executive Officer Omran Hamad Al-Kuwari, said: “This agreement is the first practical step towards the activation of the Rating and Accreditation programme launched by EQ and shows real promise now that we have teamed up with Doha Bank, one of the active national banks in the banking and economic sector in Qatar. The agreement will enable all EQ approved companies to benefit from quality banking services, which will assist them in being both successful and competitive in the Qatari market.”
He added: “There is no doubt that EQ’s initiative and the subsequent cooperation agreements with major economic institutions within Qatar will bear fruit. The private sector will be empowered and SMEs will be supported, ensuring diversification of the Qatari economy. And our support for this vital sector will continue through our many creative and innovative initiatives.”
Dr R. Seetharaman, Doha Bank Group’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “SMEs play a critical role in innovation, advancement and sustainable development worldwide. In today’s increasingly globalised world, SMEs have to compete globally. SMEs are one of the fastest growing segments within the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). And Qatar has put great emphasis on the SMEs that utilise raw materials and finished products, as well as those that rely on oil and gas. Qatar’s economic diversification requires support of SMEs. Infrastructure development in the form of ports, roads, airports, rail, telecom, other utilities and huge construction activities will continue to take place in Qatar; which in turn, will require continued support from SMEs.”
SMEs applying for the Rating and Accreditation programme will undergo a comprehensive assessment across all aspects of the business, including financial performance, quality of management efficiency and effectiveness of the business model, in addition to market potential. The rating process includes a submission of data by the applicant followed by a site visit and detailed interaction with management to assess the performance of the company.
The Rating and Accreditation Service is one of many services offered by EQ to SMEs. EQ offers a full package of educational programmes and advisory services that seek to build and refine the management skills of entrepreneurs. EQ also cooperates with government authorities and the private sector in order to market SME services and products and overcome the challenges and obstacles that impede their development and growth.
For more information about the EQ’s programmes and advisory services, please visit: www.eq.qa
About Enterprise Qatar:
Enterprise Qatar was established in 2011 under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh/Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir, in order to support the SME sector in Qatar through creating a fertile environment for its development and growth.
The mission of Enterprise Qatar is line with Qatar National Vision 2030 which diligently and persistently keeps pace with the nation’s goal to build a diversified economy in which the importance of the role of the private sector increases and maintains its competitiveness through providing optimized climate for SME to develop and prosper and reducing the risks and activating the success factors.
The stakeholders in the public and private sectors as Enterprise Qatar believe that the entrepreneurship and initiatives are the way to build a prosperous and competitive economy. Hence, Enterprise Qatar, in partnership with the leading financial and educational institutions in the State, offers a full package of educational programs that seek to build and refine the skills of the budding entrepreneurs and future leader. Besides, Enterprise Qatar works with the government authorities and the public sector to market the SME services and products and overcome the challenges that impede their development.
Enterprise Qatar is proud to provide the best advisory, educational and research services to help the entrepreneurs and SME to achieve the desired goals.
About Doha Bank:
In 2008, Doha Bank was the first commercial bank in Qatar to acknowledge the important role being played by SMEs in Qatar and thus started a dedicated SME unit to tap this huge market. Doha Bank is committed to meeting the financial requirements of SME sector in Qatar and also through its offices in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Kuwait. Doha Bank is starting its operation in India in the current year. This will help entrepreneurs coming from India to set up their businesses in Qatar as well as Qatar based corporates who want to do business with Indian corporates.
Doha Bank already enjoys a sizeable SME customer base, strong corporate and retail business and it also has a branch presence across the country to meet customers growing requirements.
At Doha Bank, we know that doing business in today’s economic climate is challenging – and that situations and business needs can change overnight. Doha Bank can offer complete range of credit products like working capital financing, term lending products and non-fund facilities like letter of credit, bank guarantees, etc. to support the requirements of SMEs. In addition to the support for general facilities, DB can also support SMEs who are involved in specific contracts. Apart from lending products, DB also offers specialized services like cash management, payroll products, trade services, forex solutions, insurance solutions, etc.
Many challenges are faced by Banks in handling SMEs. Some of them include limited credit history, low quality of information, dependence of selective individuals, high growth rates, diversification into new areas. This initiative from EQ for promoting SME rating in Qatar will help Doha Bank to make better informed credit decisions which will in turn help DB to improve the overall credit quality of SME portfolio.