Qatar’s Support for Entrepreneurship
The State of Qatar affirms great importance on supporting entrepreneurship and the adoption of small enterprises, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, especially “Decent Work and Economic Growth” and “Quality Education”.
It topped the global entrepreneurship environment, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report 2018 featuring 54 countries worldwide. According to Qatar Development Bank (QDB), a GEM member, the report showed that the local environment index for business entrepreneurship in Qatar registered about 6.7 points out of 10, and Qatar is ranked first among all countries participating. This assessment reflects many of the efforts made by the State through its various institutions to support entrepreneurship, as illustrated in the examples below:
Qatar Development Bank (QDB)
QDB adopts the distinctive projects proposed by citizens, contributing in financing those projects and reviewing the feasibility study proposals, legal, financial, and marketing consultancy services which contribute to their success. The services provided by the Bank include the following:
- Direct Lending
Direct Lending is a simple, competitive option to easily finance new initiatives or existing companies, given that the projects are in any of the following sectors: manufacturing, education, healthcare, services, agriculture, livestock, and fisheries.
- ITHMAR (Seed Funding)
Ithmar is a Shari’a-compliant equity product, which is an integrated, comprehensive approach giving entrepreneurs the investment support needed to start their businesses in Qatar.
- Business Consultancy and Mentoring Services
The Business Consultancy and Mentoring Services provide citizens with the necessary guidance and support to launch a successful project, as QDB advisors provide citizens with guidance on the basic requirements to embark on their journey with QDB.
- CO-Working Office Space
CO-Working Office Space offers shared office space with a package of services for entrepreneurs who need offices to register their start-ups to crystallize, complete and grow their ideas. The program will normally run for one year (non-renewable), during which the entrepreneur will submit monthly and quarterly reports on the progress of his/her startup project, which would be reviewed by the SMEs Incubation team after every phase.
- Entrepreneurship Leave Program (ELP)
In cooperation between QDB and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, the Entrepreneurship Leave Program (ELP) program gives Qatari entrepreneurs a career break, on condition of devoting their full time to develop their businesses according to the agreed plan with QDB.
Digital Incubation Center (DIC) of Ministry of Transport and Communications
The Digital Incubation Center (DIC) affiliated to the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MOTC) was created to boost ICT innovation in Qatar, particularly among young people at the critical early stages of starting or growing a technology-related business.
DIC is looking for entrepreneurs capable of harnessing emerging technologies to create innovative products, solutions, or services that would contribute to Qatar’s digital economy.
It also offers startups free office space training, guidance, and mentors who can help new businesses avoid the typical startup pitfalls, and the exposure and public relations from being a part of the DIC.
DIC offers three tracks:
- Startup Track
The Startup track supports potential entrepreneurs and early-stage tech startups that have a market-ready product or prototype. We provide the necessary expertise, services and tools to help entrepreneurs overcome challenges and make their businesses successful.
IdeaCamp is a program from DIC for entrepreneurs, developers, and designers who have great ideas for technology solutions.
- Co-working Space
Co-working is changing how to work. At its core, co-working occurs when entrepreneurs, and businesses, large and small, collide in a shared working environment and create synergies.
Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC)
Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) is a unique mixed-use business incubation center providing business support services to help entrepreneurs and companies that either have an idea to start a business or want to grow an existing business. QBIC was established by leading institutions working to promote entrepreneurship in Qatar, namely QDB and the Social Development Center “NAMA”.
QBIC supports high-level and promising projects as part of its wider ambition to play an active role in Qatar’s journey towards a knowledge-based economy. It urges all budding entrepreneurs to pursue what they love with passion, turn challenges into opportunities, and ultimately drive economic diversification for the future, through the following programs:
Start Your Company
Start Your Company program offers a leading methodology for streamlined business management and is run twice a year in spring and fall, providing realistic learning through hands-on experience on how to successfully start projects.
Accelerate Your Company
Accelerate Your Company program helps to accelerate the growth of companies and industrial workshops at QBIC for modern companies that have great potential for growth.
Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP)
Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) Incubation Center is a technology-focused incubation program that aims to foster local tech entrepreneurship in the State of Qatar.
The program aims to accelerate the establishment and growth of promising tech startups through quick incorporation, collaborative co-working space, business facilitation, and support services that provide access to a network of mentors, funding programs, training, and prototyping facilities.
The period of the incubation is 12 months, allowing the startups to focus on achieving the following objectives:
- Develop a product/service,
- Acquire early customers
- Fund raising
Benefits of the Program
- Quick and affordable incorporation in QSTP free zone
- One year of 100% subsidized co-working space
- Subsidized business support services
- Training, workshops and networking events
- Prototyping facilities’ access
- QSTP funding programs’ access
- Mentors’ network
- Access to QSTP’s tenant network of high tech companies and R&D centers