By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
Entrepreneurs and start-ups in Qatar stand to gain from the “ample support” provided by the government and the private sector, an official of Injaz Qatar has said.
According to executive director Emad al-Khaja, HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani has addressed the issue of diversification, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) growth, and entrepreneurship by encouraging everyone to take advantage of the support provided by the government and private sector.
“I see great opportunities – the market has great capacity and incubatees need to realise that there is ample support from the public and private sector for entrepreneurs,” he told Gulf Times in an interview.
While many start-ups in Qatar receive ample support from government and the private sector, commitment from incubatees or the lack of it remains as one of the critical factors that could make or break up-and-coming entrepreneurs, al-Khaja said.
Al-Khaja also noted that the first and “most important” hurdle that start-ups should overcome was their lack of commitment, if any.
“The first challenge lies within the incubatees and owners of start-ups. They need to be more committed to their ideas. They will face many challenges and in varying forms but they can overcome these obstacles by being ambitious, positive, and goal-oriented,” al-Khaja said.
He stressed that the second hurdle was “intermittent support” from various sectors, making it a challenge to both incubatees and incubators.
“But while there is support, the second challenge for start-ups is that these sources of support are sporadic. There are many entities that come up with different kinds of concepts that support entrepreneurship but there is no focus.
“We need to have more focused efforts in providing support for start-ups and entrepreneurs. It is unfortunate that ‘entrepreneurship’ has also become a buzzword that people are just using for ulterior motives. There should be more focused efforts from the market, and this poses as a challenge to both incubatees and incubators,” al-Khaja explained.
To raise awareness among students on the importance of SMEs in diversification, he said programmes at Injaz Qatar use practical tools to teach the youth about the role of SMEs in contributing to the country’s economic growth.
He added that Injaz Qatar also encourages people who have experience in entrepreneurship and with SMEs to do volunteer work “to share and pass on their experiences” to students.
Citing the aim of the ‘Junior Achievement Worldwide’, an initiative, al-Khaja underscored the importance of preparing students at an early age.
“When you start embedding ideas in the minds of young students, you help them understand many vital concepts, which, at a certain age, will help them make crucial decisions such as transforming problems into innovative opportunities,” al-Khaja emphasised.
He added: “The entrepreneurial mindset is not just simply launching a business, but it involves a collection of skills. We are trying to prepare young students for any kind of local or global problem or even situations that they might face later on and the most efficient approach to this is to start them at an early age.”
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