(MENAFN - Gulf Times) Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has recorded strong appetite among Qatari entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in trying to penetrate various international markets.
In the past six months, QDB has helped 120 Qatari companies in various sectors participate in over 10 international exhibitions, according to chief executive officer Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa.
He said this was on top of the almost quadruple growth in the number of entrepreneurs that had applied for business applications shortly after the unjust blockade was imposed against Qatar in June 2017.
'Aside from having gone past the notion of responding to the needs of the market immediately after the blockade, I think our SMEs and entrepreneurs are becoming more innovative and more market responsive, al-Khalifa told Gulf Times.
'Yes, when the blockade started, SMEs and entrepreneurs looked at serving the requirements and needs of the market at that time, and that had helped. I mean one cannot deny that the private sector and SMEs played a vital role into supplying the local market with its requirements but now we see more entrepreneurs and SMEs aspiring for international competition and expanding into international markets, he continued.
Through its export development agency, Tasdeer, al-Khalifa said QDB has supported SMEs and entrepreneurs penetrate more markets abroad. And aside from the 120 companies that promoted Qatari products in international exhibitions, 'there are more to come towards the end of the year, al-Khalifa stressed.
'Entrepreneurs and SMEs in Qatar are playing a vital role in economic development; they are becoming more and more innovative, and adaptive, and I believe that the future is very bright for our entrepreneurs and our SMEs.
Al-Khalifa noted that QDB is still witnessing 'huge increment in interest, demand, and request for information from entrepreneurs, SMEs, and other players in the private sector across all sectors that want to 'as much as possible to enter new markets.
He also said organisations like the Qatar Business Incubation Centre and 'other incubation centres that are in the planning stage, are helping SMEs enter the market and to also 'test wild ideas through Qatar Science and Technology Park or the Social Development Centre.
Only recently, QDB announced that it will be launching business incubators in the fields of sports and fintech (financial technology) by the fourth quarter of 2018. The move is part of the launching of the ‘National Incubations Strategy', a 'first-of-its-kind initiative in Qatar and in Arab countries aimed at nurturing business startup companies that help develop the business sector and young, established companies that have significant potential to grow.gulf