Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has concluded the fourth edition of its ‘Investment Forum, which was held Monday under the theme ‘Transforming Economies through a New Investment Paradigm’.
QDB acting CEO Abdulrahman Hesham al-Sowaidi said the forum complements and builds on the successes of its predecessors by introducing highly-relevant and pivotal topics that aim to explore new horizons for the next generation of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to collaborate with investors and venture capital (VC) funds towards transforming industries and enhancing the investment environment in Qatar.
“This annual meeting translates the importance of investing in startups and SMEs. It has been gaining even more traction in recent times as the percentage of investment in these companies globally increased by 4% to reach $300bn in 2020 alone,” noted al-Sowaidi, adding that the forum aims to advance the country’s status as a prominent investment destination globally.
“Despite the consequences of the pandemic, Qatar has sustained the same level of growth…the total VC investment in Qatar grew by more than 40% in the first half of 2021 compared to the full year of 2020,” al-Sowaidi stressed.
The forum witnessed the participation of more than 350 attendees, including angel investors, investment banks, private enterprises, and professionals interested in the investment domain. Participants also included a number of business accelerators, VC funds, and various entities interested in exploring and connecting with startups across different sectors and growth stages.
Also, the forum witnessed the launch of a purpose-built, integrated digital platform that enables fast-growing companies to present relevant information on their ventures and target raise amounts to investors looking for promising new ideas and up-and-coming companies, and allows them to organise virtual meetings, explore investment opportunities, and establish mutually beneficial collaborations. The platform is accessible via investment.qdb.qa
The forum also featured a special panel discussion by renowned industry experts from Qatar and around the world. Titled ‘Accelerating Economic Transformation through Venture Capital’, the panel explored the opportunities available in innovative companies in their early stages.
During the event, and as part of its ongoing collaboration with national partners and stakeholders, QDB signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Qatar Financial Centre to promote investment in SMEs, advance Qatar’s status as an investment hub, enrich the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and contribute to the growth of the national economy.
The forum concluded with a pitching session where a select group of companies showcased their businesses to participating investors with the aim of raising funds for their ventures. The presentations were followed by a series of over 30 meetings between investors and participating startups to network and navigate investment opportunities together.
Speaking on the sidelines of the forum, Mohamed al-Emadi, head of Angel Investment at QDB, noted that tech has emerged as a promising sector, citing the role played by tech companies and startups during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“I would say this is great evidence of how the technology sector is helping us with our lives...if you look at the highest market cap companies today that are listed in different global public markets, they are actually operating in the technology sector, so this gives you an indication of that sector,” he explained.
Through its various programmes and incubators, QDB aims to support SMEs, while further developing the private sector in Qatar. The bank, through its Investment Department, also aims to be an effective catalyst for socio-economic development and works towards enhancing the investment climate in Qatar and advancing its ranks as a preferred investment destination, especially after it secured its rank as the third safest country in the world in the Global Finance Safety Index 2021.