Qatar’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) stand to gain from today’s wide range of technological advancements, especially those available within the country, according to an official of the Ministry of Transport and Communications (MoTC).
“The availability of digital infrastructure in Qatar, deploying the Internet on a large scale, and consumers’ relying on technology, such as social media and smartphones, are all factors that help SMEs enter the digital world and benefit by enhancing their potential,” said MoTC Assistant Undersecretary, Digital Society Development, Reem Mohamed al-Mansoori.
Al-Mansoori’s made the statement in light of the ministry’s sixth virtual forum held yesterday, in collaboration with Qatar Development Bank (QDB), to support Qatar’s SMEs.
The forum, titled ‘Importance of Digitisation – Shifting Business Models’, is part of a series of fora the MoTC organises under the umbrella of its ‘Digital Transformation of SMEs programme (DTSME), which aims to support SMEs by introducing them to latest technologies. MoTC also aims to provide new development opportunities and innovative entrepreneurship sources.
Al-Mansoori noted that the past two years saw “massive changes” in the global economy and each industry has undergone “some sort of change compared to the previous years, something that caused a significant shift, altering the course of both large, small, and emerging companies.”
The forum’s three sessions discussed the importance of digitisation and shifting business models, starting the digital journey and the impact digitisation is making on the national and global levels.
A QDB presentation addressed the two facets of digitisation. The first facet focuses on the success factors SMEs must account for and the business models they need to adopt to address various challenges. Emphasis has been placed on the importance of digital transformation as a proactive strategic choice in an enterprise’s journey to excellence, in contrast to a reactive style of responding to disruption and change. QDB’s role in developing a supportive entrepreneurial ecosystem was also highlighted.
In a presentation, Amna al-Mazroei, customer experience manager at QDB, said Qatar is witnessing growth towards digitisation not only among SMEs but also among the home-based businesses in the country.
“The willingness is definitely there. The appetite is there. The growth is actually happening across different sectors for different sizes of businesses,” according to al-Mazroei.
She added: “SMEs are the most spoken about customer segment. The economy of Qatar is hugely based on SMEs. Besides MoTC and QDB, there are other entities that are pushing the agenda of supporting SMEs and digitisation. And these are winning cards to represent Qatar and to succeed not only locally but at a global context.”
The forum also featured the journey of an SME, EButler, and how it successfully benefited from the digital tools for developing and expanding its business during the pandemic and working with partners on the Qatari market to achieve real digital transformation.
Omar Ashour, co-founder and CEO of EButler, said digitisation has provided people the opportunity and “more freedom to work in any space.” He said companies may not survive if they will not upgrade their operations digitally.
“Many people are not leaving their homes and are getting what they need from their smartphones. If a business will not diversify its income streams and channels, it’s going to be a big problem for them. That’s why educating themselves is important,” he said.
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