The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT) and American multinational technology conglomerate Meta have entered into a partnership to support MCIT’s vision of transforming Qatar into a digitally-enabled knowledge economy.Last updated: June 29 2022 11:17 PM
MCIT Assistant Undersecretary of Digital Society Development Reem al-Mansoori said, “The strategic partnership with Meta will complement and strengthen Qatar’s efforts in supporting our small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in their digital transformation journeys, which is extremely important for the economic and social development of the country.”
Meta regional director for the Middle East and North Africa Fares Akkad said, “We are inspired by the ministry’s efforts in building an integrated digital society. This partnership signifies our commitment to support local SMEs by providing them with necessary digital skills to recover and deliver results online and help further boost a burgeoning start-up ecosystem to positively impact socio-economic growth in Qatar.”
As part of this partnership, the ministry will explore opportunities for collaboration with Meta covering key areas like community upskilling, SME digitisation and economic support.
The ministry strives to foster a human-centric vision for the digital economy and society, making digital transformation a fully-inclusive and transformative process for all businesses – from the small to the enterprise.
As such, the ministry has identified cooperation at an international level as a critical constituent in achieving its vision. The partnership with Meta is one such example where MCIT will collaborate with Meta to leverage its expertise, resources, and best practices.
During a launch event held Wednesday at the Sport Accelerator Qatar Business District, MCIT and Meta kicked off a national programme in support of SME digitisation and growth dubbed ‘Meta Boost Qatar’ programme.
For the first time, Meta has launched a virtual SME hub in Qatar featuring a series of training webinars. The hub will also include a series of resources and will showcase local case studies and success stories to drive inspiration.
Content will include training on how to ‘Creatively Engage your Audience with IG’, ‘Get Started with Meta Business Suite’, ‘Get Creative with Ads’, and ‘Reach your Audience with Personalised Ads’, amongst others. The programme is supported by local partners Aspire Zone Foundation, the Sport Accelerator, Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
Hilal al-Kuwari, president of Aspire Zone Foundation, said: “Initiatives like ‘Meta Boost Qatar’ will promote SME digitisation to achieve a resilient, sustainable, and inclusive sports sector and unlock limitless opportunities for overall sector growth. Furthermore, this initiative identifies the much-needed training opportunities that best meet the sectors emerging needs and help SMEs acquire in-demand tech skills to become part of the thriving sports sector.”
QDB acting CEO Abdulrahman Hesham al-Sowaidi said, “Our partnership with Meta is in line with the digital transformation endeavours taken by QDB, especially now that we have accelerated our digital solutions and e-commerce processes on a wider level due to the Covid-19 outbreak.”
He added, “We are offering several initiatives on this front, including the NUMU digital platform and a new, specialised financing product that focuses on digitisation solutions and technological tools for SMEs, among others. We are pleased to collaborate on this initiative with national partners and we look forward to seeing its positive impact on Qatar’s entrepreneurial ecosystem while fulfilling the objectives of the national vision.”
To mark the launch of this collaboration, Meta hosted an in-person event on the topics of SME Digitisation and Upskilling at Qatar Business District. The event included guest speaker sessions, experts, and followed by a ‘Meta Boost’ workshop for SMEs to learn about the essentials of digital marketing.
Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the launch event, Akkad said: “Qatar is a very strategic market for us. We see a lot of innovation and eagerness to innovate. We also see a determined startup ecosystem. Meta ‘is in the business of small business’, so any thriving economy that is leaning towards digital is something interesting to us – it’s an initiative that we do across the region but we prioritise and Qatar is up there in our priority list.”
On Meta’s presence in Qatar and its role in the development of the country’s SME ecosystem, Akkad said: “Similar to other economies, the SME ecosystem tends to form the majority of the workforce and the GDP for each country. We think that with Covid-19 what has become very apparent is the need to digitise – to have a digital presence whether you go fully digital or partially a mixture of brick and mortar and digital. It is essential for all SMEs to have a digital strategy.”
He added: “Meta can help do this very seamlessly because we provide a lot of free products. Most of the users already engage and know how to use our tools, whether it’s Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp or Messenger, so the transition to creating a digital storefront is very seamless.
“And then we provide them with the training and the programmes to help them excel in this phase. We believe that we have the highest impact on the economy in the world because of this link between the traditional and digital way of doing business.”