Qatar has outranked countries in the GCC region in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index, and is capable of offering a “strong entrepreneurship ecosystem,” according to a study revealed on Monday by Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
The findings were announced during the first ‘National Incubation Strategy’ workshop hosted by QDB at the Hilton Doha on Monday. The workshop gathered “all entities and authorities” involved in supporting entrepreneurship and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across different sectors in Qatar.
In a presentation, Abdo al-Habr of global consulting firm ATKearny said Qatar scored 55 in the 2018 Global Entrepreneurship Index and ranked 22 out of 137 countries.
Qatar outranked the UAE, which scored 53 and ranked 26, Oman (score: 47, rank: 33), Bahrain (45, 35), Kuwait (43, 39), and Saudi Arabia (40, 45).
According to QDB, the workshop aims to explore the challenges and opportunities in the local startup ecosystem and define new incubation support programmes required to foster its development.
But despite improved rankings in the Global Entrepreneurship Index, al-Habr said there is still “room for improvement across dimensions indicating greater role potential for incubators.”
Parameters in the Global Entrepreneurship Index indicated that Qatar needs to work on ‘startup skills’, which ranked 88 out of 137 countries; ‘risk acceptance’ (rank 40); ‘technology absorption’ (54); ‘process innovation’ (40); and ‘internationalisation’ (41).
Al-Habr said to foster the development of Qatar’s incubation ecosystem to drive entrepreneurship, and the creation and creation of startups, QDB has launched an initiative at developing the National Incubation Strategy 2018-2022.
He said Phase 1 of the project, which is to derive lessons from best-in-class benchmarks relevant to Qatar and to analyse Qatar’s incubation ecosystem and identify gaps, has been finalised.
On the sidelines of the workshop, QDB executive director of Advisory Services and Incubation Ibrahim al-Mannai told Gulf Times that Monday’s workshop was the project’s Phase 2: a strategy development aimed at defining incubation improvement objectives and programmes, and to define the roles of relevant stakeholders.
Phase 3, which is the implementation planning and roll-out stage, will be launched on the fourth quarter of 2018, al-Mannai added.
In a speech, QDB CEO Abdullaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa described the workshop as “a first-of-its-kind in the region,” and “a step forward towards strengthening the development of the growing business sector in Qatar.”
“This strategy was designed as a direct result of rigorous studies that indicated the available opportunities in the various economic sectors in the Qatari market and to identify ways to transform gaps into opportunities through innovative projects, which works on implementing and execute innovative ideas that benefit all the sector sectors in the country.
“In addition, QDB will act as a major support for all business incubators and business accelerators, and will be the primary reference for both companies and institutions. The national strategy for business incubators and business accelerators will be the road map for the success, growth and prosperity of leading businesses in an appropriate and encouraging investment climate, contributing effectively to the diversification of the Qatar economy, which is in line with achieving Qatar’s National Vision 2030,” al-Khalifa said.
He added that the strategy aims to develop a plan that will keep pace with the expansion of local and global entrepreneurship by identifying opportunities for developing the system and new business incubation programmes, and by providing the necessary support to entrepreneurs by supporting creative ideas.