QDB launches entrepreneurship award for SMEs
July 17 2017 10:37 PM
QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa answering media queries during the launch of the first Qatar Entrepreneurship Award 2017. PICTURE: Jayan Orma


Qatar Development Bank (QDB) launched on Monday the first Qatar Entrepreneurship Award 2017 for small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners, it was announced.
Speaking at the launch ceremony, QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa said the award is open to eligible organisations in Qatar and comprises the following categories: ‘Best Microenterprise Award’, ‘Best Scale-up Business Award’, ‘Best Start-up Business Award’, ‘Best Exporter Award’, and ‘Best Local Market Self-sufficiency Award’. 
Al-Khalifa said registration for the first Qatar Entrepreneurship Award 2017 opened on Monday. The applications will undergo verification and review, he noted.
He said a QDB team will interview shortlisted candidates to further examine suitable candidates. A special panel of judges will then conduct a final review and select the winners, who will be announced at a grand ceremony on November 15 during the annual Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW).
The GEW-Qatar is a local chapter of the international expo series designed to connect start-up owners, investors, researchers, and policymakers in a week-long exhibition, comprising networking opportunities, training workshops, and other development activities. 
Companies applying for the Qatar Entrepreneurship Award will have to demonstrate their ability to meet set criteria to qualify for participation, al-Khalifa said. 
To qualify, participating SMEs should be registered under a Qatari citizen and commercially registered (except for the Microenterprise Award). The owners should also demonstrate the following: organisational disposition for innovation; understanding for the social, economic, and environmental impacts of the business; and a long-term vision for strategic growth.
Additionally, participating businesses must be in operation for a minimum number of years and possess clear achievements to qualify. For instance, companies operating for more than a year and have the capability to demonstrate a clear vision for growth and market expansion qualify for the Best Microenterprise Award.
SMEs with a market presence of more than two years and is able to demonstrate unique organisational traits of innovation qualify for the Best Start-up Business Award. For companies operating for more than five years and possess a clear growth plan qualify for the Best Scale-up Business Award.
The Best Exporter Award requires companies to have a successful track record in regional and international trade over a set number of years, and the Local Market Self-sufficiency Award will go to companies that offer products cater to the critical needs of the local market.
“Over the years, QDB is grateful for His Highness the Emir’s patronage of the SME community as well as the broader local private sector; through his actions, directions, and speeches, he has long stressed the importance of this sector and motivated SMEs to increasingly occupy centrepiece of the economy for a self-sustaining future.
“To that end, QDB launched the first edition of the Qatar Entrepreneurship Award to propel entrepreneurs to compete and offer their best innovations, projects, and initiatives to enrich the business community with new and innovative projects that serve the Qatari community.”

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