The Qatar Chamber (QC) 1st SMEs Conference recently concluded successfully in Doha, with a wide participation of business leaders from both Qatar and Germany.
QC chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani lauded the efforts made by Qatar under the wise leadership of HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which contribute to the strong economic development in the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference, Sheikh Khalifa praised the government directives, laws, facilities and the encouragement to businessmen to invest in this sector. Due to the vision of Qatari leadership, he said, the country has succeeded in achieving a high profile internationally. Key representatives of the local business community participated in the conference showing a strong support for the initiative lead by QC.
Under the patronage of HE Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim bin Mohamed al-Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce, the two-day event was jointly organised by QC, the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE), ICC Qatar and German Qatar Joint Council for Industry and Commerce (AHK).
Sponsored by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) as strategic partner and QNB as platinum sponsor and Ooredoo as main supporter, the conference aimed to promote entrepreneurship, stimulate services for SMEs, support diversification and create employment opportunities for the national work force.
The German delegation of more than 120 German companies was led by Sigmar Gabriel, vice-chancellor and Minister of Economy and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The programme of the conference featured a mix of presentations and panel discussions to maximize the interaction with the audience. Whilst the first day was more informative on business opportunities for SMEs, the second day focused on the direct experience of young entrepreneurs.
Speaking about the opportunities the event could create for the country, Waleed al-Sayed, chief operating officer, Ooredoo Qatar, said: “Ooredoo works hard to support businesses in Qatar and we give special attention to SME’s with our wide portfolio of ICT services and solutions dedicated to helping them grow in line with the 2030 National Vision. The Qatar Chamber of Commerce offers a platform for companies to come and be in direct contact with their peers and suppliers and we thank the Chamber for hosting this event and letting us take part.”
Sheikh Khalifa attended the panel discussion dedicated to “Women in SMEs”, which discussed the important role played by businesswomen in supporting SMEs.
Ebtihaj al-Ahmadani, QC board member and head of Qatar Businesswomen Forum (QBF), addressed the session, highlighting the role of the Forum in enhancing SMEs. “SMEs helped several businesswomen to occupy prominent position in the business community,” she said.
In the meantime, Sheikha Noor al- Thani and Jawaher al-Kuwari, QBF’s members, gave two presentations on the roles of both QBF events, the external relations committee and the productive families committee in supporting women’s roles in the economic development.
Other sessions covered the opportunities provided by the mega-projects in the country and the development of important sectors such as healthcare and energy and environment with the participation of authorities like the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Ashghal, Qatar Rail, the Supreme Council of Health and Kahramaa.
The last session of the conference, dedicated to entrepreneurship, explored the opportunities and the challenges faced by businessmen and entrepreneurs.
“One of the best achievements of the 1st SME Conference was the organization of B2B meetings alongside the conference sessions, whereby many German SME participants could establish contacts with Qatari companies and establishments, thus laying the ground for successful and sustaining business partnerships in several sectors” said Dr Peter Goeprich, CEO AHK.