Posted on November 13, 2018

The ongoing Qatar Entrepreneurship Conference “ROWOD Qatar 2018”, which is taking place during the Global Entrepreneurship Week, is witnessing greater traction from Qatari companies with an aim to expand their horizons and offer sustainable growth paradigms to Qatari youths and SMEs.

In this regard, Qatar Development Bank organized today two press conferences held at Doha Exhibition and Convention Center (DECC), announcing the launch of SME definition in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry as well as became the frontrunner in launching the first ever SportsTech accelerator for the MEA region. Both initiatives will mark a new era of growth for Qatari companies and will tremendously aid in achieving Qatar National Vision 2030.

The SportsTech Accelerator initiative is powered by Startup Bootcamp, the global player in accelerating Tech. Startups, with the goal to become the leading and central point in the region for sports innovation.

A first of its kind, all entities in the country will be adopting the same definition for SMEs in Qatar. SMEs, existing Entrepreneurs, and start-ups are going to be the beneficiaries with this announcement. This will help all national SME support initiatives and services to stand on same ground, and to be able to articulate a more customized programs for SMEs. QDB has worked with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to arrive at the unified definition after wide consultation with many stakeholders.

Commenting on this occasion, Mr. Ibrahim al-Mannai, Executive director of Advisory and Incubation at QDB, said: “It is indeed a great moment of pride for all of us who have working painstakingly to realize our dream finally taking the desired shape. Our thrust towards SMEs and youths of Qatar holds no boundaries. Through various endeavors, we have been making sure to provide the most lucrative platforms to our next generation and help them find the right opportunity. Our recent endeavors of launching the SME definition in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and launching the already established SportsTech accelerator global platform for the Qatari youths further amplifies our intent to offer them the global paradigms. With such a promising launch, we are confident that Qatar is up for a great future brimming with immense possibilities.”

From his end, Mr.Saud Abdullah al-Attiyah, Director of Economic Policies and Research Department at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said: “Adopting the same definition for SMEs in Qatar will lead to create a clear framework for SME sector development, which in turn will support establishing evidence-based decisions. Although there is a common definition for SMEs among banking sector, but for the first time that will be scaled up to be one definition for the whole country, which is aligned with the global best practices and is aligned with our country’s vision to create a diversified economy.As per the new definition, Small and Medium Enterprises shall mean, the companies registered in accordance with the laws of the State of Qatar, which number of labor force does not exceed two hundred and fifty (250) employees, and which annual turnover does not exceed one hundred (100) million Qatari Riyals."

The Qatar National SME Definition ensures equal support for all SMEs from all stakeholders as it aims to improve the policies and efforts of the SME sector development based on a clear definition. In addition, it helps develop licensed home-based businesses that match the definition criteria. The definition, which is part of the government’s continuous support to the SME sector, will enable all parties to work together and achieve success under unified criteria. It also aims at facilitating financing procedures by providing privileges for investment entities that can finance SMEs.

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In regards to the second announcement made, Qatar SportsTech Incubator will be a key supporter to grow the startup ecosystem in Qatar by creating a hub with events and mentors that will definitely provide an unmatched future for startups in Qatar. With the support from local and international partners, Qatar SportsTech has the means to accelerate the business of the participating startups and position them in the forefront in all major Sports activities happening in Qatar and beyond, through product presentations and business development, potential customers and possible funding to the participating companies.

QDB has always been a frontrunner in bringing the best local, regional and international expertise to help promote innovators and entrepreneurs’ skills and support their projects. Moreover, since the 2022 FIFA World Cup is taking place in Qatar with forecasted investments of USD 5 Billion that represents a great opportunity for technology startups, this initiative will act as a catalyst and hub for sports innovation pushing new boundaries and presenting new opportunities for global startups and entrepreneurs in terms of sports-related technology and engagement.

The accelerator is coming up in partnership with a set of prominent Government partners; Aspire Zone Foundation the global leading Dedicated Sports Icon who are hosting the Incubator/Accelerator in their cozy premises located at Aspire side,\the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC), Qatar Financial Center (QFC).The Accelerator will host total of four programs over 3 years each with the 10 most promising SportsTech startups from all over the world, where stars and best performers will be offered\extended Incubation period and potentially subsequent investment through QDB Investment Fund.

A total of 40 startups will be selected and accelerated, and the best performing of them will be offered to Anchor to Qatar Sports Incubator, while running in parallel several activities that compliment with the current happenings in the world of sports, eg., Angel Investment Boot Camps, Hackathons, International Acceleration for selected Qatari startups, Mentorship programs and more.