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Qatar Stock Exchange Participates in a joint workshop on Empowering SMEs in Qatar
Sep 08, 2014
Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) participated in the Knowledge Sharing Session event under  the theme “Empowering SMEs” on 8th September 2014 at Doha Bank Tower, West Bay, Doha, Qatar. The workshop was attended by CEOs/ Top Management officials from Qatar Stock Exchange, Doha Bank, Qatar Development Bank, Enterprise Qatar, QBIC and UK Trade Investment center, who met together to discuss and highlight opportunities for SMEs to grow and flourish.

In a presentation, Mr Rashid bin Ali Al-Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange, highlighted the support of QSE to the SME's sector and stated “Like all our colleagues here tonight, Qatar Stock Exchange recognizes the importance of the SME sector which globally provides the foundation for successful economies, contributing employment opportunities, wealth creation and increased output. With the addition of the QE Venture Market to our listing opportunities, we are providing young and entrepreneurial companies a customized route to market to ensure they have access to the necessary funds to contribute to Qatar’s economy. The characteristics of the market reflect the objectives of allowing SMEs to list and raise capital more easily and cheaply and with less stringent requirements than would be the case on the Main Market.”

Mr. Al-Mansoori compared between various finance options for SMEs and stated that listing on stock exchange is one of the best solutions to make these companies available for investments. A dedicated market for SMEs with regulation customized to their needs has been the most successful ‘model’; this is the basis on which we have designed the QE Venture Market, He added.

In the presentation, Mr Al-Mansoori explained the ecosystem for empowering SMEs listing on QSE and explained that this ecosystem is particularly important for the success and future growth of SME's because it is critical to get the community working together, including company founders, investment bankers, lawyers, accountants, lawyers, traders, analysts and investor relations professionals. In this regard, Mr Al-Mansoori highlighted the efforts exerted by Enterprise Qatar in assisting SMEs with some of the fees associated with listing. The event was kicked off with an introduction speech by Dr. R. Seetharaman, Group C.E.O Doha Bank outlining the importance of the SME space in the national economiesaround the world. He also gave insight on regional trends in GCC. He said “SME is one of the fastest growing sectors in GCC. Investment in SMEs in Saudi Arabia is expected to grow to more than USD 70 billion by the end of 2015.In Kuwait the National Assembly in Jan 2014 approved amendments to a law on the establishment of a national fund to support SMEs. Infrastructure development taking place Qatar requiring the need for SME businesses. Doha Bank would be looking forward to participate in Qatar’s diversification story by encouraging the SME Sector.
The SME Sector will play a key role in Qatar’s Sustainable development. ”Mr. Omran Hamad Al Kuwari, CEO of Enterprise Qatar(EQ), said,“ Enterprise Qatar is highly committed to the Qatar National Vision 2030, and the SME Rating & Accreditation Programme launched in collaboration with Dun & Bradstreet, is one of the cornerstones of EQ’s support network to the private sector as it strengthens our support of the diversification of Qatar’s national economy. We believe that through the implementation of this new programme, Enterprise Qatar will help SMEs gain access to government, semi-government and private business opportunities. It will also allow business owners the opportunity to gain an understanding of the internal gaps and challenges that exist within their operations. However, once such existing disparities are identified they can be addressed through EQ’s suite of programmes that offer guidance on the necessary improvements, enhancements and interventions required for successful business performance.”

Commenting of this participation, Mr. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, CEO of QDB, said: “We are proud to partner with Doha Bank at this event, which embodies our mission to support and empower SMEs in Qatar. We believe that this sector has a crucial role to play in Qatar’s future development and the realization of Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Mr. Al Khalifa added: ”Designing and implementing Al Dhameen program is part of an integrated effort by Qatar Development Bank to promote the economic diversification of Qatar and enhance the private sector’s contribution to GDP. Al Dhameen helps SMEs with insufficient credit or collateral overcome a common obstacle by enhancing access to lending through a strong network of partner banks.”

For her part, Aisha Al-Madhahka, CEO of QBIC, said:" Our participation in this event is of utmost significance as we believe it is important for us to help SME’s achieve their development goals in Qatar, in line with the essence of the QBIC National Project. We aim to inspire leading businesses and emerging companies to compete and work hard to promote their projects, and contribute to achieve economic growth. Our goal at QBIC is to create companies valued at 100 million QR, by developing, connecting, investing and incubating which will empower entrepreneurs and project owners through development, guidance and by embracing their business and providing investment.  Mr Gareth, From UKTI said “The UK Trade & Investment team at the British Embassy is very happy to support British and Qatari SMEs wishing to do business. SMEs are the bedrock of any society and they will be instrumental in strengthening the UK and Qatari economies going forward”.
Mr. Rashid bin Ali Al Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange, also covered in his speech the various aspects related to QSE’s Venture Market dedicated for SMEs and stated that QEVM is specifically designed to fit within the country’s overall desire to support SMEs encapsulated in the many government-led initiatives in the area and as part of the ‘Vision 2030’ project. Al-Mansoori said: “we hope to be working hard with all of you to ensure a pipeline of suitably qualified companies is able to come to market. It is expected that these companies will be SMEs from Qatar, the GCC and the MENA region. He added that the establishment of the Venture Market in Qatar Exchange is an expression of the government's commitment to develop and strengthen Qatar’s macro economy and an implementation of the decisions of the Supreme Council of Economic Affairs and Investment.

Mr. Al-Mansoori gave a detailed explanation about the benefits that SMEs can get when get listed on QSE. He clarified that offering liquidity and valuation is a primary benefit for listing on QSE, especially in view of the fact that private and family businesses are reaching a stage where the first or second generation owners are no longer so active in the business. Thus, listing is a solution for the succession and business continuity considerations. For small companies the rationale for listing is often, but not always, allied to the need for capital. These include diversifying sources of funding through increasing company’s equity base; Offering liquidity to financial, family or minority shareholders; Visibility, status and valuation; and meeting Strategic corporate objectives, Mr. Al-Mansoori explained. Mr Al-Mansoori concluded by saying that "providing capital for SMEs is a key issue. We are serious about wanting to increase the financial flexibility available to SMEs in Qatar today and therefore offering a solution to the relative lack of funding that affects this sector. We all depend on SMEs for future growth. At Qatar Stock Exchange we are committed to providing such a platform and necessary support to both differentiate early stage listed companies." 

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