Posted on February 06, 2014

Entrepreneurship in Economic Development, the first such forum in the region promoting entrepreneurship among young people, is an initiative by Qatar University (QU) in collaboration with Interactive Business Network (IBN).

The two-day forum is under the patronage of the Minister of Energy and Industry in Qatar, HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al Sada and will be held at QU. It will feature international experts in business, education, finance and government as keynote speakers when it launches on 24th February 2014.

This unique conference, which has as its theme “fostering the new generation of entrepreneurs in Qatar and the Gulf” will bring together young, prospective business owners with established business leaders to encourage and support the spirit of entrepreneurship in Qatar and the Gulf through practical advice.

Speakers opening the conference will be HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry (Qatar); Professor Sheikha Al-Misnad, President of Qatar University; Mr. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO of Qatar Development Bank and Raed Chehaib, Chief Executive of Interactive Business Network (IBN); 

Business experts who will be leading panel discussions and delivering keynote presentations during the forum include:

  • HE Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, CEO - Khalifa Fund (UAE)
  • Farhan Kalaldeh, Executive Director - Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship (Jordan)
  • Moumita Sen Sarma, Director of Isha Leadership Academy - Isha Foundation (India)
  • HE Sheikha Hanadi bint Nasser Al-Thani, Founder and Chairperson - Amwal (Qatar)
  • Amal Al Mannai, Executive Director – Social Development Center (Qatar)
  • Hussain Al Balooshi, Kafaat Manager – Emirates Foundation for Youth Development (UAE)
  • Saleh Al Khulaifi, General Manager – Bedaya Center (Qatar)
  • Ahmed Abdulwahab, Head of Incubation Center – Qatar  Business Incubation Center (Qatar)
  • Buthaina Al Ansari, Senior Director Human Resources – Ooredoo (Qatar)
  • Ibtihaj Al Ahmadani, Board Member – Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Qatar).
  • Aysha Al Mudehki, Executive Director – Injaz (Qatar)

Topics under discussion on the first day of the forum will include Government and entrepreneurship, looking in detail at the role that economic policies can play in promoting entrepreneurship as a catalyst for economic change and how to foster an entrepreneurial mindset in society. Panel speakers on this topic will include HE Sheikh Mohamed Ahmed Jassim Al Thani, former Minister of Ecomony and Trade and Chairman of Qatar Academy (Al Khor); Ali Al Khulaifa, acting CEO of Enterprise Qatar and HE Abdullah Saeed Al Darmaki, CEO of the Khalifa Fund in the UAE.

International business experts 2 [].jpgHendrik Halbe, co-founder and Managing Director of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship in The Netherlands, will present a case study of a government program which tackles entrepreneurship.

The role of education in preparing a new generation of entrepreneurs will be the topic of the second main discussion session on the opening day. It will examine how young people can be properly prepared to run their own business and will look at how the education system in the region can be tailored to meet the skills demanded by the market place through practical, application-based education and training. Dean of the College of Business and Economics at Qatar University Dr Nitham Hindi will be among the panel speakers at this discussion.

The second day of the forum will open with a keynote address on minimizing the challenges facing entrepreneurs and creating a framework for best practices for entrepreneurial centers, by Dr Abdulaziz Al Horr, CEO of Qatar Finance and Business Academy. It will be followed by a panel discussion on the makings of an entrepreneur – looking at the qualities of entrepreneurs, their influences and driving forces, the differences between male and female entrepreneurs, and why some entrepreneurs succeed while others fail. It will also examine different types of entrepreneurs and how they are shaped by personal circumstances and the surrounding social, cultural and business environment.

Financing of new business will be another topic for discussion, examining potential sources of capital for young entrepreneurs and the role of public agencies, banks and angel investors, as well as policies to encourage and support bank lending programs for start-ups and SMEs. And the role played by technology will be under discussion, in a session “The power of digital media for entrepreneurs”.

Established business experts will also share their experiences and give practical advice on starting up a new company and making it a success – and how to avoid common mistakes , covering issues such as finding the right staff and appropriately motivating them, key management skills, handling stress and important legal aspects.

International business experts 3. [].jpgIBN Chief Executive Raed Chehaib said: “Entrepreneurship is the lifeblood of any thriving economy and as Qatar develops and diversifies, so it offers its young people enormous opportunities to establish and successfully run their own businesses. Now is the time to explain and instill the importance of encouraging young people to set up SMEs and to study how society can support them to achieve great things.”

“We are delighted to partner with QU to offer this unique conference, which will provide the platform for frank discussion from international experts about their experiences and will be an invaluable event for business veterans, those working in education, public and private sector organisations and of course young entrepreneurs themselves.”

QU President Professor Sheikha Al Misnad said: “There are many talented, driven young people in Qatar and the Gulf region with excellent business ideas and it is incumbent on us to guide and support them to ensure their businesses flourish and so reinforce Qatar’s visionary economic development and diversification.

“At Qatar University we are committed to providing a holistic education for our students, bridging the gap between the classroom and boardroom through practical programs which develop critical skills for business ownership, decision-making and risk managing.”

QU Dean of the College of Business and Economics Dr Nitham Al Hindi said: “This forum provides an excellent opportunity for young entrepreneurs to learn first-hand from business experts and to enhance their skills and harness their talents to establish successful SMEs.

“Qatar University encourages students to put their business ideas into practice. We have a newly-established, dedicated center for entrepreneurship, and we offer an undergraduate minor program in the subject, as well as giving the field a significant focus in our MBA program. The College of Business and Economics, in collaboration with the College of Engineering, organises an annual business plan competition for all Qatar University students and has an excellent track-record of student accomplishments in national and international business competitions, such as Al Fikra.”