Posted on September 11, 2018

In line with the State’s interest in developing the role of the private sector and its contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), particularly the Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SME) sector, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) continues its efforts to develop this sector alongside other relevant entities.

Among these efforts is understanding and acknowledging the evolution of entrepreneurship in Qatar to explore the challenges facing entrepreneurs, their characteristics, and their motivations to establish their businesses, as well as other factors that benefit policy makers.

In its continuous quest to support the growth of Qatari economy by way of enhancing SMEs’ performance, QDB takes immense pleasure in launching the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report for the State of Qatar for the year 2017, prepared in cooperation with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. This report is based on the methodology of the Global Entrepreneurship Report. The GEM tracks rates of entrepreneurship across multiple phases in 54 economies, making it the world’s most authoritative comparative study of entrepreneurial activity in the general adult population.

The report drawn on findings from two surveys:

  1. Adult Population Surveys (APS): results are drawn from a random, representative sample of 2,742 surveys of Qatar residents aged between 18 and 64
  2. National Expert Survey (NES): compromise of surveys conducted with 45 carefully chosen Qatar “entrepreneurs experts” across nine framework categories.

Commenting on the launching of the report, Mr. Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of QDB, said: “QDB is working on several focus areas aimed at developing SMEs, including promoting entrepreneurship. The Bank is keen to improve the understanding of society and policy makers to develop Qatar’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and analyze their characteristics and needs, and therefore, for the second year in a row, the Qatar GEM Report 2017 was released after the previous year’s edition. It is worth mentioning that this study is part of the Bank's membership in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, in which the report was conducted under international standards and methodology, with dozens of other participating countries. As a result, this enables us to compare with other countries in order to determine the development of entrepreneurship levels in Qatar.”

Al Khalifa added, “The importance of this report stems from the fact that it provides decision-makers and researchers with a treasure trove of information and data that represents an important entry point for the development of the SME and entrepreneurship sectors.”

The report is divided into a number of sub-sections, each of which addresses a set of entrepreneurial features in Qatar, which are as follows:

Self-Perceptions about Entrepreneurship

Respondents showed a high degree of entrepreneurial determination in an encouraging manner (with about 45.6% seeing an opportunity to start a business). The percentage of those who believe that there are opportunities to start a business among Qataris is higher than among expatriates (48.6% of Qataris compared to 38.4% of expatriates). In like manner, the percentage of females who see chances of starting a business is higher than that of males (55.8% of females versus 43.4% of males).

Total Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity (TEA) in Qatar

The result of the survey of total early-stage entrepreneurial activity was close between males and females, equivalent to 4.7%, an encouraging indicator of gender equality in the entrepreneurial environment in Qatar. This percentage rose for Qataris to 8.4% compared to 4.1% of the expatriates surveyed.

The societal values about entrepreneurship in Qatar

The results of 2017 show a positive attitude towards the community of entrepreneurship in Qatar. In fact, most of the adult population believes that entrepreneurs have a high status and respect in society (77.3%) and that the establishment of a new project is a good career choice (65.9%). Additionally, more than half of the population considers public media and the Internet to be providing good coverage for successful new businesses (54%).

Motivation for TEA in Qatar

The number of entrepreneurs who stated that the motivation behind their establishment of a new business is the opportunity is about seven times the number of the ones who said that the motivation for establishing their businesses was necessity, at 82.4% and 12.0%, respectively. The percentage of innovation-driven opportunity (IDO) entrepreneurs – not necessarily in Qatar – is considered to be the highest in the Middle East and the eighth globally.

Innovation and internationalization

Respondents pointed to high levels of innovation in Qatar since 2016. In 2017, a large percentage of entrepreneurs (63.5%) indicated that their products were new to all or some consumers. Half (52.2%) are completely different from their competitors (they noted that there were no businesses offering the same products or services), while more than a third (37.9%) indicated that they were selling new products or services to all or some of the customers, with few facilities offering the same products or no facilities (compared with 22.8% in 2016).

The global ranking of the State of Qatar in 2017

Qatar’s ranking was performed in regards to entrepreneurial levels and in comparison to 54 other economies, which participated in the GEM 2017 Report. Qatar ranked 33 in nascent entrepreneurship in 2017 compared to 44 during the year 2016, 42 in the new business ownership, 42 in total early-stage entrepreneurial activity (TEA), 54 in the rate of ownership of established businesses and 17 in business discontinuance rate.

It should be noted that the report provided a number of recommendations distributed on multiple focusses such as Government policies, financial support, social and cultural norms, training and education. Among those recommendations, the following are the focus areas:

  • Government policies: The importance of reviewing policies and regulations that promote private sector activities and facilitate business, as well as the need to raise awareness of the legal requirements for the establishment of a new business
  • Access to financial support: Recommendations include developing alternative financing solutions for start-ups, and SME, financing patent applications and other recommendations.
  • Social and cultural norms: There is a need to encourage entrepreneurs and businessmen across the media to become role models for future generations, as well as to encourage innovation and talent discovery.
  • Training and education: Among the recommendations of this focus is increased co-operation between educational institutions including Qatar University, Education City Universities and Government sectors. Additionally, entrepreneurship concepts should be taught in school from as early as primary school through animation and stories.

The report is available on the QDB website ( Those wishing to see more details about the report should communicate with the Bank’s Department of Research Statistics.

It is worth noting that QDB provides a package of programs and initiatives to provide support to pilot projects and Qatari SME, such as the "Ready” initiatives, which provide entrepreneurs with industrial facilities ready for industrialization with incentive fees, as well as the "Export" program aimed at developing and promoting Qatari exports in international markets, and the support of foreign trade and enterprises by providing export credit guarantees and services & financing solutions to finance export operations.