Posted on January 10, 2017

Qatar Development Bank and the General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority announced the launch of the third stage of their joint initiative, ‘Khatwa’, which aims to build and develop the skill set of retirees, encouraging nationals to launch their own SME projects and transform their business ideas into successful enterprises.

To facilitate the program, the two social partners will appoint a committee to coordinate between the retirees and the Bank. The committee will provide QDB with details of registrants, while the Bank will sponsor the activities of the committee, including workshops and training sessions.

Commenting on the event, Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank, said: “Khatwa has experienced tremendous success since its launch two years ago and, here we are today, taking the initiative into the third year in a row. Through this program, the Bank is giving the retirees tangible tools and approaches to improve their participation in the marketplace but also experience active ageing. A socially-invested population of Qatar, whether young or old, is the driving force of the Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Sultan Al Kuwari, Director of Training and Development at QDB, added: “We plan to implement the third stage of the program at two levels and tailored to the varying needs of participants. The first category will benefit individuals who have graduated from a public high school and below. The workshops for these participants will simplify the complexity of running a business and run for 16 weeks. The second category is directed at those university graduates and above who have existing knowledge of the English language. These workshops will run for 12 weeks.”

According to officials, the number of participants in each category range from 20 to 30 individuals, who will be selected by the General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority. Praising the cooperation between the Authority and the Bank, the General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority noted that Qatar Development Bank’s support of the initiative is enabling retirees to gain managerial and organizational skills needed to run a successful business.

Khalifa Al Khulaifi, Director of Retirement Department at the General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority said: “The launch of the third stage confirms our success in establishing a successful community partnership, aimed at supporting retirees by developing their ideas and turning them into concrete economic programs as well as helping them find financing channels for their own projects.” “We strive to build bridges of communication with various parties that can provide sufficient support to retirees, ones that allow them to meet their business goals.  A successful example of this effort is the implementation of the first and second stage of the ‘Khatwa’ initiative, with the journey being continued to the third stage,” he added.

According to Al Khulaifi, ‘Khatwa’ will open up new horizons for retirees in the marketplace and will provide entrepreneurs with a  variety of sources of income, as it will strengthen capacity development and encourage them to become entrepreneurs, further stimulating investment. “We are going to continue what we started earlier. We encourage retirees to learn more about the entrepreneurship field and guide them on how to select the most suitable project for them. Retirees will learn the basic skills of how to manage their own projects; including strategic planning, marketing, financial management and control and feasibility studies”, noted Al Khulaifi.

The General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority official also mentioned that the committee is keen to support any kind of initiatives that help retirees and enhance their contribution in building a strong, diverse local economy. The implementation of the initiative will get underway this month and registration for public will be open for a period of two weeks. Registration can be completed online on the websites of QDB and the General Retirement & Social Insurance Authority. Following this, the registrants will be selected and screened by the newly-formed committee. Selection will be based on several criteria; age, years of experience, and the viability of applicant’s proposed project. In addition to submitting a pre-feasibility study for the proposed project, attendance to workshops will demonstrate an applicant’s commitment and will be a key part of determining eligibility to funding.

Upon completion of the training program, Qatar Development Bank will grant the top five applicants access to offices in Qatar Incubation Centre to begin establishing their projects, while the rest of the applicants will have the opportunity to obtain necessary finance. Khatwa forms part of Qatar Development Bank’s strategy to support and encourage a culture of SMEs in Qatar, in line with the national vision, which encourages diversification of national income sources. The Bank has launched a number of successful initiatives that focus on developing and promoting Qatari entrepreneurs. These programs provide support in overcoming obstacles their businesses might encounter, as well as help in realizing a thriving private sector that will drive forward a diversified knowledge-based economy.