Dr R Seetharaman, Doha Bank Group CEO speaks at the workshop on SMEs and listing on the Qatar Exchange Venture Market, which is geared to foster a local entrepreneurial ecosystem.
Doha Bank in partnership with Qatar Exchange (QE) yesterday hosted the first seminar of its kind to highlight opportunities for SMEs seeking to be part of the QE Venture Market, which joins the QE Main Market, and is a revolutionary new opportunity for such businesses to pursue their bold entrepreneurial visions.
Companies on the QE Venture Market will trade on the same Universal Trading Platform (UTP) infrastructure used by the QE Main Market, and also benefit from the same regulatory safeguards as that afforded to Main Market companies, according to Dr R Seetharaman, Doha Bank Group CEO. The Venture Market will clearly be identifiable as a separate and dedicated marketplace tailored to the needs of small and medium companies.
“The Qatar Exchange Venture Market is a showcase of home-grown entrepreneurship and is specifically tailored to meet the needs of SMEs seeking to grow their business organically while abiding by a regulated framework within which they can ply their trade and benefit from access to the financial support and advisory services that are more easily available to listed companies, in addition to a strict set of guidelines and corporate codes as prescribed by the Qatar Financial Markets Authority for listed companies,” Seetharaman said.
The Qatar Exchange Venture Market is envisioned as the ‘Home of Entrepreneurial Qatari companies.’ This is a very ambitious goal and the venture market is still in its developmental phase, and while the venture market is seeking to earn top of mind awareness and increasing interest from potential companies looking to list on the market, Seetharaman said Doha Bank is ready to offer the support.
“Doha Bank is committed to working alongside SMEs and developing structured and personalised solutions for specific SME needs. The bank offers solutions that go beyond the actual transaction which includes top-down financial advisory services covering strategic projects, insurance and risk management,” he said.
The QE Venture Market can also be a dedicated route to market for small and mid-cap companies with advantages of a customised regulatory framework.
“The diminishing availability of growth capital is now hitting the SME sector at the same time as the international community is becoming more aware of the need for maintaining and stimulating national growth,” Abdulaziz al-Emadi, Listing Director at Qatar Exchange said. “In the end, one solution will most likely be that national economies must stimulate growth in the SME sector by making capital more available.”
Al-Emadi clarified that the criteria set specifically for small and medium enterprises, are different from the currently applicable requirements for listing companies in the main market. The establishment of a junior market will give SME owners the opportunity to be listed in Qatar Exchange under lighter and more flexible regulations, in addition to giving them access to further finance sources to grow and expand their businesses.
He also mentioned the main reasons worthy of consideration such as offering liquidity and valuation, organisational efficiencies, diversification of funding options and optimising financial status.
Qatar Exchange’s existing Main Market has been the flagship market for leading Qatari companies since its founding in 1997. The market was designed to cater to companies with established track records with experienced management teams and who wished to take advantage of the benefits of being a public company, but also had the resources and expertise to cater to the disclosure demands and disciplines of being listed.
BELOW: A view of the audience at the programme.