Posted on March 03, 2015

The 2nd Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum has come to a close on Tuesday, 3 March 2015, with the impressive presentations and discussions from some of the most accomplished personalities in the academe, business and government sectors having successfully highlighted the importance of entrepreneurship in economic development.

The Forum, which was conducted on 2-3 March 2015 at the Sheraton Doha Resort and Convention Hotel in Qatar, was held under the patronage of H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce. The two-day event was organised by Qatar University College of Business and Economics (QU-CBE), in collaboration with the Qatar Ministry of Economy and Commerce and Interactive Business Network (IBN).

“Throughout the two days, the message that was clearly sent across by all the speakers at the Forum is that entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship are vital components in any economy’s move towards a more sustainable growth and development,” said Mr. Raed Chehaib, Chief Executive Officer of IBN. “Its contribution across the microeconomic and macroeconomic levels of society transcends any personal aspiration and satisfaction of being able to put up and start one’s own business.

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“Apart from its overall impact to a nation’s business and economic activity, as well as its GDP, it also encourages the cultivation of innovation and creativity as well as opportunities for the provision of jobs,” he added. “With our hope that this Forum has indeed inspired and helped some of our participants to be among the next generation of entrepreneurs, I wish to extend my sincerest thanks to H.E. Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al-Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce for his patronage of the event, to Qatar University College of Business and Economics, to the distinguished speakers and to all the participants for making this second edition of the Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum a huge success.”

The second and final day of the Forum began with a panel session on ‘Knowledge economy and the new Know-How: New forms and competitiveness for SME’s’. With Dr. Marios Katsioloudes – Qatar University acting as moderator, the panellists included Mr. Jeby Cherian, CEO, iSHA Leadership Academy  – India; Ms. Ruba Hachim, Country Marketing Manager, Microsoft Qatar – Qatar; Mr. Munthir Al Dawood, Acting Executive Director, SDC – Qatar;  Dr. Mahmoud Abdellatif Khalil, Director, Center of Entrepreneurship, Qatar University- Qatar; and Mr. Abdul Baset Al Janahi, CEO of SME Dubai – UAE.

This was then followed by a keynote message delivered by Ms. Duha Al-Buhendi – DIC Marketing & Entrepreneurs Engagement – Qatar, who talked about ‘ICT Qatar’s Digital Incubation Center – Boosting ICT innovation in Qatar’.

Soon after, a Case Study on ‘Digital transformation as an entrepreneurship development enabler’ was presented by Mr. Simone Eliantonio, Head of Strategic Projects and Innovation, Vodafone – Qatar, followed by another keynote message from Mr. Adrian Tan, Center Director ME, IDA – Singapore, who revealed how the Singapore government supports their SME's in developing and internationalising their business to the Middle East region. The sixth keynote message of the two day event and the third of the final day was then delivered by Mr. Ali Al Othaim - Chairman of the National Committee of Young Business Council of Saudi Chambers – KSA, who zeroed in on the topic of ‘Entrepreneur Empowerment…Why & How?’.

This was followed by last panel session on ‘Social entrepreneurship and innovation: the growing importance of social innovation’, which had Mrs. Eatidal Al-Qatami – Qatar University acting as moderator to a panel composed of Ms. Layla Nathmi, Entrepreneur, Riyadah Center – KSA; Mr. Dawood Al Maarefi, CEO, Al Shiraa Company – Kuwait; Mrs. Amal Al Mannai, CEO, QFSW – Qatar; and Ms. Shareefa Fadhel, Managing Director and Co-founder, Roudha – Qatar. Then a case study about “How SMEs can tender to win business opportunities in Qatar Shell supply Chair was delivered by Mr. Amro Ahmed, Qatar Local Content & SME Manager – Qatar Shell Companies.

The last keynote messages of the Forum were on the topic of ‘Innovative Entrepreneurship and Public Private Partnerships’ delivered by Dr. Roy Broersma, School of Business & Economics – University of Maastricht – Netherlands, and ‘Entrepreneurial Potentials at the college of North Atlantic’ by Mr. Robert Madronic – Marketing Instructor / School of Business – College of North Atlantic – Qatar and ‘Sweeden: A success Story of Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ by H.E Mrs. Ewa Palano, Ambassador, Embassy of Sweden- Qatar.

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The recommendations from this forum were:

-           It is important for Qatar University College of Business and Economics to cooperate directly with the Entrepreneurs sector

-           Foreign investors to contribute significantly to the national agenda using their scale and international abilities to develop the private sector and achieve diversity in the national economy.

-           Prepare the largest number of Qatari youth to become entrepreneurs and provide them with the knowledge and necessary resources to establish their businesses. As well as promoting passion towards their business ideas and the ability to take risks and accept failure to reach to success.

-           Invest in human competences, develop skills and build partnerships around the world to exchange experiences and ideas

-           Provide financial support by banks to convert innovative ideas into successful projects

-           Find solutions for entrepreneurs by providing lands and continuously encourage investors to create an environment suitable for entrepreneurs

-           Use technology, big data and business analytics in ventures since they contribute to the success and development of businesses 

-           Encourage the use of scientific research to support entrepreneurs

-           Include entrepreneurship awareness in education curriculum since childhood

-           Build a system from the private sector because he owns the motivation and vision for the development of efficient markets.

-           Establish a legal and organizational body that will facilitate the establishment of projects specially a regulation to protect from bankruptcy

-           Promote cultural change in the society in terms of entrepreneurship as change is possible within less than a generation

-           Focus on removing constraints facing entrepreneurs’ especially in the start-up phases among which are increasing rents and procedures constraints

-           Start an Innovation Center between Sweden and Qatar

The two-day Forum ended with a workshop conducted by event’s Gold Sponsors, the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP).

The event’s key sponsors and partners were Qatar Development Bank as Economic Development Supporter; Qatar Shell as Diamond Sponsor; Ahli Bank as Platinum Sponsor; International Bank of Qatar (IBQ) and Masraf Al Rayan as Silver Sponsors; Qatar First Bank (QFB) as Bronze Sponsor; Qatar Petrochemical Company (QAPCO) as Lanyard Sponsor; and Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) as the Official Incubation Partner. Other Supporting Partners were Qatar Chamber, Social Development Center, INJAZ Qatar, ICT and the Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Guidance (BEDAYA).

In addition, Manateq was the event’s official Economic Zones Partner; the College of North Atlantic Qatar as the Educational Partner; and the Qatar Central Bank & Qatar Financial Center Regularity Authority were the Lunch Hosts.