GWC recently concluded a successful ‘GWC Forum 2022’ titled ‘Ready for the Game’, wherein industry experts highlighted how Qatar’s economy will continue to flourish after the World Cup.
In a video address, FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura said: “Micro and small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) represent the backbone of a successful and diverse economy. They create jobs and foster innovation. Qatar has been a hive of innovation in recent years – developing cooling technologies for stadiums and state-of-the-art public transport infrastructure, including the Doha Metro and light rail tram systems.
“GWC, its partners, and stakeholders are utilising the assets and experience of hosting the FIFA World Cup to deliver an economic legacy that is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030. One of Qatar’s great strengths is its determination to leverage the power of hosting the FIFA World Cup like no other country in history. And it is heartening to see that legacy being delivered even before the big kick-off.”
The forum was highlighted by a panel session on ‘Direct and Indirect Impact of Qatar 2022 on MSMEs’, which included inputs from Jose Dhooma, head of Event Logistics and Transport, FIFA; Fatma al-Nuaimi, Communications & Media executive director, Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC); Nazli Berberoglu, general manager, The Coca-Cola Company; and Syed Maaz, chief business development officer, GWC.
Dhooma said hosting the FIFA World Cup in Qatar had raised the bar for a vast number of businesses. “There is a better understanding of international requirements as a result of the World Cup,” he said.
“Many businesses now have FIFA on their CV. This helps them to grow. When they work with FIFA, they’re working to an international standard. It is great for whatever Qatar does in the future – whether it is sporting events, conferences, or anything else.
“You should also consider the people involved in the organising committee – they will be thinking about how they can create companies and take their services around the world. Working on a World Cup gives people confidence,” Dhooma said.
Al-Nuaimi said the SC had worked closely with MSMEs in Qatar and the region on a large number of infrastructure projects, including stadium developments.
“We have been engaging MSMEs from the start, whether it is building stadiums or training sites. A number of businesses will be involved in the entertainment and fan experience activations during the World Cup, including event companies and food and beverage businesses. Whenever we have opportunities, we make sure to involve MSMEs – many businesses have been developed here since Qatar won the rights to host the World Cup,” she said.
Berberoglu commented on Coca-Cola’s commitment to working with MSMEs: “We support a large number of businesses and help them take advantage of opportunities. We always try to take a long-term approach and build a sustainable ecosystem.
“One example came during Covid-19 when we helped small businesses create home delivery strategies and worked with them to digitise their businesses so they could better serve their customers.”
Berberoglu also spoke about two main issues addressing the 21st century: women empowerment and recycling, as well as waste management. “Under the directives of Coca-Cola, we have been driving our market under these guidelines and empower women and also make sure we pay careful attention to the recycling industry of our bottling plants across the world,” she stressed.
Maaz outlined GWC’s contribution to the MSME sector, including the development of 4mn sq m of logistics infrastructure and an ever-expanding ecosystem for small enterprises.
“The MSME sector has grown a lot in the last 10 years and is now a major driver for the economy. GWC has created an infrastructure to make it easy for MSMEs to set up in business. We are now managing a huge amount of warehousing in the country, including Al Wukair Logistics Park, which was built specifically to support MSMEs,” said Maaz.
The second panel session, titled ‘The Way Forward’, looked into the trends and challenges faced by MSMEs. Participants included Charles Nahas, regional general manager, Microsoft; Dr Manal al-Zaidan, director of Pharmacy, Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC); Dr Christos Anagnostopoulos, assistant professor, HBKU; and Dr Kamilla Swart, associate professor, HBKU. The panellists discussed the impact of the FIFA World Cup on their various sectors and outlined the trends they expected to see after the tournament.
Nahas spoke on three points related to MSMEs namely startups, homegrown businesses, and commercial/small shop owners: “We go out of our way to assist all three levels of MSMEs with innovative ideas to equip them for the current and future build of their company.”
Anagnostopoulos said HBKU has been doing research for the last 10 years and will continue to use this in the development not only for potential World Cup organisers, but also the MSMEs in their quest for market intelligence, which will equip them on the global stage. “They will also help MSMEs to leverage their geographical location of Qatar to the region and the Middle East,” he noted.
Hamad al-Abdan, director of Business Development & Investment Promotion, Ministry of Commerce of Industry, gave a presentation about the 1,000 Opportunities initiative, which invites businesses in the private sector to partner with global brands. He also discussed the business ecosystem in Qatar, describing the FIFA World Cup as a golden opportunity for the country’s economy to prosper in the future.
Aysha Khalifa al-Romaihi, manager of Special Programmes – Incubation, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), gave a presentation about Scale7 – the country’s first fashion and design incubator, set up to support creative entrepreneurs.
The final workshop was led by Dr Adel Elomri, assistant professor, HBKU, and Dr Laoucine Kerbache, professor, HBKU. The workshop focused on the research undertaken to track the impact of Qatar’s FIFA World Cup and how the education sector can work with industry to support students and alumni.
Following the event, Ranjeev Menon, Group CEO, GWC, said: “GWC is proud to be at the forefront of MSME development – helping the current and next generation of businesses in Qatar as the country aims to deliver the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.
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