Posted on October 26, 2015

Continuing the series of educational trips by Qatar Leadership Centre (QLC), participants in QLC’s Rising Leaders Program learned how to further drive and sustain the growth of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) during a Learning Journey to South Korea earlier this month. The Rising Leaders, who hold managerial positions in various organizations in Qatar, immersed themselves in South Korea’s innovative SME ecosystem in order to take home lessons learned and contribute to the economic diversification of Qatar, a key goal of Qatar National Vision 2030. 

During the five-day Learning Journey, the QLC participants met with a range of South Korean policymakers, business leaders, academics and entrepreneurs. Various sessions throughout the trip provided insight into the success of South Korea’s SME sector, which accounts for 50 percent of the country’s production and nearly 90 percent of its employment.

“South Korea is a country with a remarkable track record of economic and human development. The QLC Rising Leaders engaged with experts on how to harness entrepreneurship and innovation to grow SMEs,” noted His Excellency Dr. Abdulla bin Ali Al-Thani, Managing Director and Member of the QLC Board of Directors. “Such knowledge is valuable not only for the personal and professional growth of the participants, but will also help shape a strong SME landscape in Qatar.” 

As part of QLC’s intensive programming, participants were exposed to how South Korea built an ecosystem designed to incubate and foster SME growth. Briefings and site visits to innovation centers and business councils were combined to give participants both a theoretical and practical understanding of the sector. The group also met with talented young Korean entrepreneurs to share their inspiration, experiences and expertise.

The Rising Leaders held briefings with policymakers like H.E. Tae-Shin Kwon, the former Minister of the Korean Prime Minister’s office, and Dr. Jong-Woon Kim, former Secretary to the President of Korea on Small & Medium Policies.  They also took private tours of the Gyeong-Ki SME Support Center and I-KAIST, two key hubs of SME development and research. Through these site visits, participants were exposed to fundamental information how local organizations support the growth of SME’s and how creative ideas are developed into commercially successful enterprises.

At the conclusion of the Learning Journey, the QLC participants conversed with their peers and reflected on their key learnings from the visits. The group discussed how these lessons could be applied in Qatar to encourage a thriving SME sector. 

QLC has more than 150 alumni among its growing community of accomplished leaders from both the public and private sector. Qualified Qatari professionals interested in accelerating their leadership abilities can learn more about QLC and its offerings online at