How Qatar Development Bank (QDB) aims to boost the global presence of the country’s SME sector?

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) aims to boost the global presence of the country’s SME sector, as it expects to surpass the more than QR250mn international deals Qatar companies signed in 2014, QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa said.
Through QDB’s export promotion arm, Tasdeer, al-Khalifa said the bank was able to support 150 entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises in signing business transactions with international partners.
“Our export development programme is contributing significantly to the non-hydrocarbon exports from Qatar,” al-Khalifa told Gulf Times on the sidelines of a press briefing yesterday to announce QDB’s Isteshara programme.
He added, “Last year, we took more than 150 non-hydrocarbon-related companies and SMEs to international markets where they have managed to sign deals worth more than QR250mn, and we will continue to do that and we will even do more.” Asked how QDB schemes would help diversify the economy by assisting the entrepreneurial sector, al-Khalifa noted that the bank plays a major role in Qatar’s diversification strategy. “Government statistics have showed that there has been adequate growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector, which has contributed to GDP growth. Do we claim that we are the only contributor to this? No.  “But are we a major contributor to Qatar’s diversification strategy? Yes. We are supporting SMEs and helping the private sector contribute to Qatar’s GDP growth and our programmes are speaking on our behalf,” al-Khalifa stressed.
This was reiterated by QDB training and development manager Ibrahim Abdul Aziz al-Mannai, who explained to Gulf Times that the decision to merge QDB and Enterprise Qatar will push the bank “to focus more on the diversification of the economy.”
“We are looking at the strategies that we have developed and from 2015 to 2019, we will be a major player in the diversification strategy,” al-Mannai said.
QDB executive director of Strategy & Business Development Hamad Khamis al-Kubaisi said the bank’s Isteshara (advisory services) programme is part of its family of subsidised professional consultancy services available to Qatari entrepreneurs and SMEs.
He said four services are under the Isteshara platform, namely Jadwa, Oqood, Tadqeeq, and Eyada (SMEs clinic).
“Isteshara supports Qatar’s entreprenuers and SMEs on their journey to success by validating the commercial feasibility of their business opportunities and ideas, enhancing operational efficiency, competitiveness and profitability. For each service, QDB will pay 70% of the consultancy service cost, while the entrepreneur or SME pays only 30%,” al-Kubaisi said.
He explained that Isteshara allows QDB to provide feasibility studies, market studies, training programmes, and workshops to Qatar SMEs.
“More than 80,000 people have visited our dedicated digital SME toolkit and we’ve inked a number of impactful MoUs and contracts with private and government entities. By the end of 2014, 250 Qatari SMEs and entrepreneurs have benefited from advisory services valuing QR12.7mn,” al-Kubaisi said.
He added, “Around 190 feasibility studies worth more than QR10mn have been completed and 67 of those were forwarded for direct and indirect funding, through Al Dhameen, while 21 studies did not pass the feasibility tests. A total of QR135.5mn has been loaned.” Source: Gulf Times