The 2nd SMEs Conference, organized by the Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is scheduled to take place from 17-18 January, 2017 at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha.

Following the tremendous success of the first edition, the 2017 Qatar Chamber SME Conference is set to be yet again a significant event for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Qatar.

The first edition of the Qatar Chamber SME’s conference, was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Economy and Commerce. It focused on Germany and represented an opportunity to share best practices, to enable local SMEs to compete for the business opportunities Qatar has to offer.

This year, the conference will be country focused on Turkey to hear firsthand their experiences and best practices taking place at international level in order to provide innovative solutions and encourage creative thinking among entrepreneurs and investors.

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BQ Magazine speaks to organizer of the upcoming SMEs Conference to find out how budding SME entrepreneurs can benefit from it.

According to you, what do SME entrepreneurs in the region need the most?

I believe first and foremost, SME entrepreneurs need the encouragement to believe that it is possible to be a successful entrepreneur. Generally, people are afraid of leaving their stable jobs and start something on their own. Proper guidance and financing opportunities are essential to build people’s confidence. It is of utmost importance to teach creative thinking among entrepreneurs.

Supporting the growth and development of SMEs in Qatar is a step towards achieving Qatar National Vision 2030 of a diversified and sustainable economy, which plays directly into realizing the UN 2030 Agenda for a Sustainable Development.

What can SME entrepreneurs and those aspiring to join the SME sector look forward to at this 2nd SMEs Conference? 

The 2nd SMEs conference will provide a great platform for current as well as aspiring entrepreneurs to learn and engage with some of the top people in this sector. It will offer networking opportunities and keep them up-to-date about happenings in the industry. Additionally, they will have first-hand information on the support offered by international, regional and local authorities.

What feedback did you receive after the 1st SMEs conference?

Last year, the conference was focused on Germany. The feedback of the conference was positive; we had attendees highlighting the benefits they had gained. The most successful topics from last year’s conference were ‘Family Business’ and ‘Modern Management Structures in SMEs’.

Qatar is home to some of the mega family enterprises such as Al Faisal Holdings and NBK. It was a great opportunity to share best practices from the Germans and compare our SME industry under this topic. Some of the other successful topics were ‘Localization of Manufacturing’, ‘Women in SMEs’ and ‘Energy & Environment’. The panelists, sponsors and delegates showed interest in participating in the 2nd SMEs conference.

Are you planning to introduce any major changes in the 2017 edition of the SMEs conference?

The major change would be the country focus which was previously Germany, this year being Turkey. The aim is to learn best practices from different countries. So, we work on sessions accordingly and keep it interesting for both countries to ensure active participation from both sides. Moreover, this leads to many opportunities to work together.

What is the level of participation compared to last year?

Currently, our registered delegates are higher than last year so far. So, we believe we will see a significant increase in the level of participation.

How is focus on a particular European country like Germany or Turkey, helping small and medium entrepreneurs in Qatar, during the SMEs conference?

By focusing on different countries, we are offering the entrepreneurs in Qatar an opportunity to learn the best practices and understand the development of SMEs in other countries. Over the years, we will learn from different countries through these conferences and get inspired by their methods and success.

Would the conference also discuss the topic of where and how SMEs can raise finance for their ventures?

Yes, definitely. We have an entire session on financing and investing in SMEs. The session will have a panel of six speakers. Three from Qatar’s side and three from Turkey’s side. The session will delve into the ways to raise finance for new ventures in SMEs.

Our current sponsor, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), is also very active in the SME market. Other organizations such as Qatar National Bank (QNB) and Qatar Stock Exchange will also be participating in this conference.

To register to the 2nd SMEs Conference, visit the event’s website.


This article is from BQ Magazine’s Issue 40 – January 2017.

© 2017 BQ Magazine ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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