Monday 18th July 2022
SMEs represent 97 percent of registered private sector companies in Qatar, and account for some 15-17% of non-oil GDP, Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani has said.
In an interview with the Oxford Business Group published in its recent release “The Report: Qatar 2022”, HE said that SMEs are the backbone of any economy, and they are important drivers of economic diversification and GDP growth.
Sheikh Khalifa also said that various initiatives have been launched to support these companies, including funding programmes through governmental institutions and guarantee mechanisms such as Al Dhameen.
“The country also has several incubation programmes targeting SMEs and start-ups,” he added.
To further boost SME performance, HE stressed the need to encourage banks to offer solutions suitable for entrepreneurs who seek to expand their business or launch a new one and the importance of enacting legislation to protect, promote and empower SMEs, alongside offering services to facilitate the launch of businesses and providing training services, consultations, orientation, and incubation opportunities for entrepreneurs.
As for the Qatar Chamber’s role in supporting SMEs, HE said that the Chamber has been keen on helping SMEs to compete in the national economy and it hosted three editions of the SMEs Conference and shared best practices from foreign partners.
QC also supports entrepreneurs and owners of family businesses by promoting their products through exhibitions, foremost of which is the Made in Qatar expo.
HE also pointed out to a partnership with Qatar University and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) resulted in an initiative called Ma’an – which means “together” – to support entrepreneurs.
Through this initiative four editions of the Best Innovative Ideas of Entrepreneurs competition were held to offer support for the most forward-thinking start-ups. The SMEs Excellence List Award was another partnership with QDB in which 50 high-achieving enterprises from the local private sector are recognised.
In a reply of a question on sectors that offer the best potential to accelerate economic diversification, Sheikh Khalifa said that many sectors have seen significant growth during the pandemic such as the industry and food security sectors.
“Qatar attracted QR293bn ($80.3bn) in investment in 2020 and had 835 operational factories as of 2022,” he said.
HE also underscored the progress made by the state in the food security sector, affirming that it is a top priority for Qatar and is one of the main pillars of sustainable development under Qatar National Vision 2030.
“Apart from these two areas, sectors most likely to accelerate the country’s economic diversification are construction, tourism and hospitality, ICT, retail, and real estate,” he noted.
On the impact of developing ESG standards on business communities around the world, Sheikh Khalifa indicated that strong ESG practices can help companies improve their reputation, increase competitiveness, and attract investment.
“Other benefits include boosting revenue by raising productivity and reducing costs, protecting shareholder value, creating opportunities for growth and innovation, retaining talent, and setting the foundations for long-term success. Businesses with effective ESG policies can contribute to safeguarding the environment and improving society, all the while enhancing their own performance.
“The growing focus on ESG standards is compatible with Qatar’s development and diversification strategies. Promoting ESG among investors, companies and the wider business community will contribute to the realisation of the economic, human, and environmental goals laid out in Qatar National Vision 2030.” HE added.
“The Report: Qatar 2022” has been produced with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and Qatar Chamber.
It marks the culmination of more than six months of field research by a team of analysts from Oxford Business Group. The publication assesses trends and developments across the economy, including those in macroeconomics, infrastructure, energy, banking, and others.
It features interviews with a broad range of high-profile personalities including Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani; Qatar Chamber Chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohammed Al Thani, Minister of State and Qatar Free Zones Authority Chairman Ahmad Al Sayed, Investment Promotion Agency CEO Sheikh Ali Al Waleed Al Thani and 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar CEO Nasser Al Khater.
View on OXFORD BUSINESS GROUP