In Qatar, both private and public sector employees think of starting their own business. In fact, 67 percent of all employees are currently thinking of starting their own business, while 19 percent have tried in the past but cite they have failed or could not do so for different reasons. Only 8 percent of the workforce in Qatar never thought of starting their own business.
The `Entrepreneurship in the MENA 2015’ survey revealed that 82 percent of respondents from Qatar personally know at least one entrepreneur in their country of residence; 98 percent of whom are believed to have been successful in their endeavour.
Perceptions vis-à-vis ease of starting up a business vary, with 13 percent of Qatar respondents indicating they believe that setting up their own business is somewhat easy or even extremely easy, while 59 percent of general respondents believe to varying extents that entrepreneurship in Qataris somewhat difficult or very difficult.
The main difficulties cited by those who have started their own business in Qatar include the unavailability of finances (59 percent); a perceived need for personal connections or ‘wasta’ (38 percent); and strict rules and regulations laid out by the government (45 percent).
The perception of entrepreneurship in Qatar
More than half (55 percent) of Qatar respondents believe that one should gain some experience before starting their own business, while 37 percent believe that any time is a good time to start a business.
In fact, the top three concerns for starting a business in Qatar, according to respondents is procuring finances (62 percent), the need to establish the right contacts or ‘wasta’ (48 percent), and the need to put in a lot of time and energy (42 percent).
Almost one quarter of the respondents from Qatar (24 percent) think that architecture and engineering is the most appealing industry for entrepreneurs in their country, followed by hospitality and leisure (14 percent);advertising, marketing and public relations (12 percent); finance, insurance and real estate (12 percent); and communications and information technology (8 percent).
Close to three quarters of respondents from Qatar (71 percent) perceive entrepreneurs as people who think primarily about profit and 88 percent of respondent see entrepreneurs as opportunity-driven.
Eighty-four percent of respondents in Qatar strongly agree or somewhat agree that entrepreneurs help in creating new jobs, while 71 percent agree that entrepreneurs truly benefit society by creating new products and services.
The best pieces of advice offered to budding entrepreneurs by respondents in the MENA region, including Qatar, is to not be afraid of failure (38 percent); have a great business plan (13 percent); and have a great and well-researched business idea and marketing plan (both 11 percent).
Role of education
Close to three quarters of respondents in Qatar (71 percent) agree that the education they have received has helped them develop an entrepreneurial attitude either to a great extent or some extent. Only 4 percent of respondents disagree with this sentiment.
Seventy-eight percent of respondents in Qatar agree – either strongly or moderately – that the education they have received has helped them acquire the necessary skills and know-how to become an entrepreneur.
Another 71 percent believe that their education has helped them understand the role of entrepreneurs in society, while 76 percent agree that the education they have received has made them interested in becoming entrepreneurs – either to a great or some extent.
Work style preferences in Qatar
Sixty-six percent of Qatar respondents prefer to be their own boss, while 30 percent would rather seek employment in a company. When it comes to reasons for being self-employed, 51 percent of respondents do it for personal fulfillment; 43 percent believe it affords them the freedom to determine their work-life balance; and 45 percent like the idea of being their own boss.
Of the respondents from Qatar who prefer to seek employment in a company, close to half (48 percent) prefer to work for private sector companies, while more than half (52 percent) would rather work for the public sector.
The most important factor for Qatar respondents choosing to work for pay is that they lack the finances to start their own business (31 percent). Thirty percent of respondents from Qatar value the stability of employment offered by a company, while 25 percent value having a regular income.
“While people in Qatar are keen to start their own business, financing it is still a key hindrance in achieving their aspiration. This may suggest that the region needs more investors to step in and help entrepreneurs,” said Suhail Masri, vice-president of sales, Bayt.com.