New Business Journey report puts spotlight on Qatar’s SME ecosystem

A new report produced by the global research and advisory firm Oxford Business Group (OBG), in partnership with Qatar Development Bank (QDB), maps out the country’s efforts to put entrepreneurial activity and innovation at the heart of its long-term growth strategy.
The Business Journey Report shines a spotlight on Qatar’s start-up and SME ecosystem, combining detailed analysis, key data and infographics relating to the socio-economic landscape in an easy-to-navigate and accessible format.
The country’s ongoing economic diversification and private sector development agenda, which sit at the heart of the Qatar Vision 2030 roadmap, are a key focus.
Here, the report charts the measures being implemented to nurture new growth engines, boost FDI and strengthen Qatar’s competitiveness, which will help to provide a buffer against future shocks to global energy markets, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It also pinpoints several segments of the economy that have been earmarked as ripe for development, with smart manufacturing, ICT, financial services, tourism, logistics, professional services and science-related industries, among those identified.
Subscribers will find extensive coverage of the digital transformation process under way in Qatar, which gathered pace during the coronavirus arrived and is set to accelerate further as more firms move to harness the potential of tech-led solutions.
In addition, the report contains an in-depth analysis of the country’s export trajectory, noting that rising demand in Asia meant international sales had returned to pre-pandemic levels by early 2021. With energy-related shipments accounting for the bulk of sales, it also considers what Qatar can do to tap new overseas growth opportunities by developing a more diverse export basket and encouraging SMEs to sell products and services beyond the country’s borders.
The report explores the key role that development partners, including QDB, have played in supporting Qatar’s SMEs through the pandemic in an increasingly digitalised economy, with initiatives that range from funding options for expansion to accelerator programmes for emerging industries.
Licence holders will find an in-depth interview with Abdulrahman Hesham Al Sowaidi, Acting CEO, QDB, in which he shares his thoughts on the need for new ideas to achieve sustainable development and economic stability locally and globally, in the aftermath of the pandemic.
“This is why QDB is focusing on a number of key areas to help the SME ecosystem and the private sector adapt to changes and thrive in the new economy, including digital transformation, achieving self-sufficiency in target industries, enhancing localisation opportunities, and promoting healthy competition, all while nurturing innovation and helping introduce forward-looking solutions to new economic challenges,” he told OBG.
Jana Treeck, OBG’s Managing Director for the Middle East, said that a combination of strong economic fundamentals and hydrocarbon wealth had enabled Qatar to weather the economic challenges of the pandemic relatively well, with the World Bank forecasting a robust near-term recovery.
“Qatar’s diversification efforts are already delivering results, with non-hydrocarbon growth projected to outstrip the oil and gas sector next year,” Treeck said. “While the country’s role as host of the FIFA World Cup 2022 will provide an abundance of opportunities for start-ups and SMEs in the services sector, the stage is also set for high-potential segments like fashion and design, smart manufacturing and fintech, to become new avenues of growth in a more innovation-led economy.”
The Business Journey Report forms part of a series of tailored reports that OBG is currently producing with its partners, alongside other highly relevant, go-to research tools, including a range of country-specific Growth and Recovery Outlook articles and interviews.