Posted on April 28, 2019

Under the patronage of His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) is pleased to announce the opening of registration for the second edition of Qatar Entrepreneurship award “ROWAD Award 2019”.

This prestigious sponsorship is a testament to the leadership's keen interest in building the country's entrepreneurship ecosystem towards achieving economic diversification for sustainable development, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030. Besides, Qatar topped the global entrepreneurship environment, according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report featuring 56 countries, which also confirms the leadership’s keenness in promoting entrepreneurship and integrate it into the national economy. ROWAD Award aims to promote the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship among SMEs in Qatar, which will provide an ideal platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their creative ideas and innovations which will play a vital role in developing the economy.

On the launch of the second edition of ROWAD, Mr. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, CEO, Qatar Development Bank, said: “We are honored by the patronage of His Highness the Emir for the ROWAD Award 2019, which indicates HH’s interest in supporting the Qatari entrepreneurs and SMEs. The first edition of ROWAD Award selected 25 projects among 500 applicants as a nominee for the award. We were witness to their entrepreneurial brilliance, innovative streak, and their continuous efforts to serve the needs of the local market, which helped them become the most deserving of the award among the rest. This year, bringing a new award category (Innovation in Entrepreneurship Award), we are confident to attract a greater number of entrepreneurs. With the registration now officially open, I would like to further reiterate the importance of this platform in making business succeed and inspiring others to follow the suit. Innovation is an important element of entrepreneurship, which ensures the sustainability of local business activities and keeping pace with the latest developments in global markets. This award seeks to showcase the pivotal role played by SMEs in developing the national economy, promote transparency and competitiveness among companies, and help motivate existing SME owners to develop and improve their level of competency. By honoring the winners we will further enhance their competitiveness and presence in the Qatari market.”  

The award categories for this year include “Best Microbusiness award” for those business that have been successfully operating for 2+ years with a growth vision, has a specific action plan, and a proof of financial performance; “Best SME award” is to recognize business operating for 3+ years with a clear and specific growth plan, has demonstrated its financial performance for two years, and adopts innovative ways to reach customers, product development or production process; “Self Sufficiency Award’ is SMEs that have made significant contributions to Qatar’s Self-Sufficiency, by meeting the local market need and reduce dependence on imports; and “Best Exporting SME award” will be awarded to successfully exported product(s) for a defined period of time. Besides, the event will also see a new category “Innovative Solution Award” to business that provides unique innovative products and services and create solutions to enhance economical, social, or technological needs, either local or global, or was able to rely on innovative solutions in production methods, marketing or customer access.

Only Qatari Citizens can apply for these awards with no age restriction. Business should be SMEs as per the unified SMEs definition. They will need to submit audited financial report of the company or indicating its financial position for a specified period (the period varies according to the award category as described above), providing proof of the use of innovative methods both in reaching customers or developing the products or the production process itself. Winners of the 2017 award are NOT eligible to apply for the 2019 Award.

The evaluation criteria for the entries will be based on the parameters such as Entrepreneurial Spirit; Innovation; Financial Health; Sustainability; and Growth Potential. The applications will be screened by two teams of judges: internal and external judging panel with deferent background. The award winners will be announced during a special ceremony to be held during the Global Entrepreneurship week.

ROWAD Award 2019 intends to help establishing a competitive ecosystem. Moreover, this initiative will act as a tool that will help generate large pool of promising entrepreneurs, which will also feed into the Capabilities and Development department in QDB, to create incubation courses tailored for the needs of Entrepreneurs, to help them create new major projects and projects that contribute to the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030 aimed at building a diversified and competitive knowledge-based economy.