SME Sector will Play a Key Role in Qatar’s Sustainable Development

SME Sector will Play a Key Role in Qatar’s Sustainable Development

Doha Bank hosted a Knowledge Sharing Session event under the theme “Empowering SMEs” on 8th September 2014 at Doha Bank Tower, West Bay, Doha, Qatar. The Speakers at the event include Mr. Omran Bin Hamad Al Kuwari, CEO of Enterprise Qatar (EQ), Mr Hamad Khamis Al Kubaisi, Executive Director of Strategy and Business Development at Qatar Development Bank (QDB), Mr. Rashid Bin Ali Al-Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Exchange (QE), Ms. Aysha Al Mudahka, CEO of Qatar Business Incubation Center and Mr. Gareth O’Brien, Director of Trade & Investment at the British Embassy Doha. Dr. R. Seetharaman, CEO of Doha Bank welcomed and honoured the speakers at the event. Key industry players, experienced Bankers, Government representatives and Business professionals participated in this event.

SME Sector

SME Sector

At the Inaugural session Dr. R. Seetharaman gave insight on major developments impacting Global economy. He said “The U.S. economy is recovering and the Federal Reserve reduced its monthly stimulus, which will end in October 2014. US economy grew at 4.2% in 2nd quarter of 2014. European Central Bank cut interest rates and set plans to buy European bonds sold by the private sector. The Bank of Japan continued with its easing measures. The Global capital markets have rallied on account of the easing measures.With recovery yet to pick up the thrust is on Sustainable development for the economies with focus on growth and employment. In recent meetings G20 has aimed for increasing GDP by more than 2 per cent above the current trajectory over the next five years. To improve growth there is particular attention to policies to improve employment, enhance trade and promote competition which are relevant to the business environment for SMEs. The measures which should forward as part of the comprehensive growth strategies should bear directly on creating an environment where SMEs can flourish and contribute to growth and jobs. “

Dr. R. Seetharaman also gave insight on regional trends in GCC. He said “SME is one of the fastest growing sectors in GCC. Investment in SMEs in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow to more than USD 70 billion by the end of 2015.In Kuwait the National Assembly in Jan 2014 approved amendments to a law on the establishment of a national fund to support SMEs. Infrastructure development taking place Qatar requiring the need for SME businesses. Doha Bank would be looking forward to participate in Qatar’s diversification story by encouraging the SME Sector. The SME Sector will play a key role in Qatar’s Sustainable development. ”

Mr. Omran Hamad Al Kuwari, CEO of Enterprise Qatar(EQ), said,“ Enterprise Qatar is highly committed to the Qatar National Vision 2030, and the SME Rating & Accreditation Programme launched in collaboration with Dun & Bradstreet, is one of the cornerstones of EQ’s support network to the private sector as it strengthens our support of the diversification of Qatar’s national economy. We believe that through the implementation of this new programme, Enterprise Qatar will help SMEs gain access to government, semi-government and private business opportunities. It will also allow business owners the opportunity to gain an understanding of the internal gaps and challenges that exist within their operations. However, once such existing disparities are identified they can be addressed through EQ’s suite of programmes that offer guidance on the necessary improvements, enhancements and interventions required for successful business performance.”

Commenting of this participation, Mr. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, CEO of QDB, said: “We are proud to partner with Doha Bank at this event, which embodies our mission to support and empower SMEs in Qatar. We believe that this sector has a crucial role to play in Qatar’s future development and the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030.”Mr. Al Khalifa added: ”Designing and implementing Al Dhameen program is part of an integrated effort by Qatar Development Bank to promote the economic diversification of Qatar and enhance the private sector’s contribution to GDP. Al Dhameen helps SMEs with insufficient credit or collateral overcome a common obstacle by enhancing access to lending through a strong network of partner banks.”

Al Dhameen program provides various financing options for new SMEs, including guarantees for 85 percent of facilities costs and QAR 15 million credit. For existing businesses, the program guarantees 75 percent of core capital and a maximum of QAR 15 million.

Mr. Al Mansoori, From Qatar Exchange “Like all our colleagues here tonight, Qatar Stock Exchange recognizes the importance of the SME sector which globally provides the foundation for successful economies, contributing employment opportunities, wealth creation and increased output. With the addition of the QE Venture Market to our listing opportunities, we are providing young and entrepreneurial companies a customized route to market to ensure they have access to the necessary funds to contribute to Qatar’s economy. The characteristics of the market reflect the objectives of allowing SMEs to list and raise capital more easily and cheaply and with less stringent requirements than would be the case on the Main Market.”

For her part, Aisha Al-Madhahka, CEO of QBIC, said:” Our participation in this event is of utmost significance as we believe it is important for us to help SME’s achieve their development goals in Qatar, in line with the essence of the QBIC National Project. We aim to inspire leading businesses and emerging companies to compete and work hard to promote their projects, and contribute to achieve economic growth. Our goal at QBIC is to create companies valued at 100 million QR, by developing, connecting, investing and incubating which will empower entrepreneurs and project owners through development, guidance and by embracing their business and providing investment. QBIC is the largest entrepreneurial hub and mixed use incubator in the Middle East, providing offices for entrepreneurs, smart funding and a entrepreneurship real business life program called Lean Startup. We encourage budding entrepreneurs to apply for the program this September through our website”

Mr Gareth, From UKTI said “The UK Trade & Investment team at the British Embassy is very happy to support British and Qatari SMEs wishing to do business. SMEs are the bedrock of any society and they will be instrumental in strengthening the UK and Qatari economies going forward”.

The event witnessed active participation during the Question and Answer session and concluded with a dinner.