PROPPING UP THE SMALL GUY
Developing small and mediumsized enterprises (SMEs) lies at the heart of Qatar National Vision 2030, the development plan guiding the country away from its reliance on hydrocarbons and towards a knowledge-based economy. With the first SME programmes now firmly established, experts hope to see efforts stepped up to make business education a priority at schools and colleges.
QATAR STEPS UP SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, AND A DRIVE TO ENCOURAGE ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN QATAR IS GAINING PACE, AS EFFORTS TO STREAMLINE THE START-UP PROCESS YIELD RESULTS.
One of the institutions playing a key role in supporting SMEs, particularly those founded by new graduates, is the Social Development Centre (SDC), which aims at promoting employment opportunities and youth empowerment. “The main goal will be to encourage entrepreneurship among young people, so they can act as ambassadors for private sector development,” Abdulla bin Ibrahim Al Ajail, Executive Director of the SDC, told OBG. The centre offers a mix of financial and technical support ranging from promotion and consulting to marketing and training at its Tanmia for Small and Medium Enterprises facility.
The SDC is currently directing its assistance programmes at small-scale, or “micro”, entrepreneurs and those between the ages of 18 and 40, as well as home-based businesses, with the centre's funding arm, Rasameel, offering interest-free loans of up to QR500,000 ($137,400) for applicants who meet its criteria. An at-home incubation programme has also been launched, which allows micro-businesses to channel their products into local markets and souqs.
Many of the centre's clients run microbusinesses, which usually have 15 staff or fewer, and a turnover of under QR10 million ($2.75 million). As these businesses