Backed by the “relentless efforts” of Qatar Development Bank’s (QDB) and relevant national institutions, Qatar has continued to build a strong entrepreneurial sector and a competitive business climate, according to QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa.
Al-Khalifa made the statement during the opening of the ‘3rd QDB Investment Forum’, held virtually this year. In a speech, al-Khalifa said the forum continues to play an important role in advancing the innovation ecosystem in Qatar, and serves as a platform for the country’s wider business community to network around the new growth opportunities.
It also offers entrepreneurs in Qatar avenues to pursue fruitful partnerships, and for international investors to harness the potential of Qatar’s thriving economy as a launch pad for their growth into the region, al-Khalifa said.
“The forum will discuss the various current challenges facing entrepreneurs and private enterprises. It will also explore innovation, growth hacking tools, and ideas, as well as to help define the collaborative business partnerships that will shape the future of economies and collectively achieve growth, sustainability, and innovation,” he said.
According to al-Khalifa, Qatar is one of the most prominent investment destinations in the region for both local and foreign investors, with some of the most promising growth opportunities across sectors and industries.
Building on its resilience, economic foundation, state-of-the-art infrastructure, global connectivity, and vast resources, al-Khalifa said Qatar offers investors a rich range of privileges, which eases doing business in the country.
“These include an integrated investment ecosystem with diverse businesses and licensing platforms, a competitive taxation and regulatory environment, a highly-skilled talent pool, and diversified culture, among others.
“These advantages are reflected in the various regional and global rankings that Qatar continues to command. Not only is the country’s economy considered as the 10th most competitive economy worldwide, and the first in the Arab world for investment security, the World Bank Group now ranks Qatar as one of the top 20 global business environment improvers,” al-Khalifa said.
Citing a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM), al-Khalifa said Qatar ranks “third globally” and “first in the Mena” region in the National Entrepreneurship Context Index (NECI) 2019-2020.
On the impact of Covid-19 on the economy, al-Khalifa stressed that QDB’s response was not only “swift and agile,” but it was “well-integrated” into the national measures to support the private sector, entrepreneurs, and the wider economy.
Al-Khalifa said QDB also launched the first cohort of the Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH) this year, with more than 20 companies from 10 different regions from across the world participating in the incubation and acceleration programmes.
He said the move lays a strong foundation for the next Fintech success stories and further positioning Qatar as a leading fintech hub in the region and the globe. QFTH is bringing the best global opportunities and expertise to fintechs through its collaboration with renowned international stakeholders and other partners, he said.
Al-Khalifa said QDB also developed a dedicated digital platform for the investment forum through which investors and venture capitalists could learn more about the participating startups, in addition to other promising startups.
“They can also schedule one-on-one meetings with them to discuss and initiate potential deals. This platform is unique to this edition of the investment forum, and is a big step in our efforts to connect high-growth startups with potential investors,” al-Khalifa said.