Open day for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Qatar …

Owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) received “strong support” from more than 10 QNB-partner institutions during the first staging of QNB’s “SME Open Day” held yesterday at the Al Sharq Village & Spa Hotel.

QNB acting head of sales and relationship management fir SMEs Wisam Matouk told Gulf Times that the event was open for any SME owner who wants to invest in an idea or initiative; or to solicit guidance, advice, or consultation on financial needs and other aspects of business.

Matouk stressed that QNB believes in the need to support the growth and development of the SME sector and its role in diversifying the economy.

“This is what SMEs are all about – to diversify and to be independent from the oil and gas industry. But most importantly, SMEs complement other industries to support economic growth,” Matouk said.

ICT strategy section manager Feda Barghouti of ictQatar’s ICT industry development emphasised the need for SMEs to take advantage of Information Technology (IT) and its role in helping companies maximise IT for business growth.

Barghouti also encouraged business owners to take advantage of the SME ICT Toolkit, which can be accessed at the ictQatar website (http://www.ictqatar.qa/en/smetoolkit).

“Basically, the toolkit helps SMEs utilise technology to grow their businesses. In terms of adopting cloud services, e-commerce, and web presence, this toolkit helps them understand the process and takes them through the steps of adopting these technologies,” Barghouti said.

Also present during the event was Q Life & Medical Insurance Company (QLM), which provided SMEs consultation and advice on medical and life insurance needs.

QLM vice president Nour Abu Neel said “We are here to provide different solutions that can help SMEs to find their way between being individuals and being a big corporation”

“Often we are asked what solutions and plans we can offer or how much we can do for them or what the extra constraints on their insurance needs are because their companies are a little bit smaller,” she added.

Neel said QLM’s network covers most health providers in Qatar and provides a number of plans and business insurances like the Key Man insurance or the Group Life insurance.

SMEs can also solicit the support of Qatar Development Bank’s (QDB) Al Dameen programme, which encourages banks to finance SMEs that have limited credit history or insufficient collateral.

“We are here to support the SME sector and to involve them in business. Basically, we provide support to firms in the manufacturing, health, education, and added value services sector,” QDB relationship manager Sultan Khalifa al-Hitmi said.

He added that QDB provides financial support of up to QR15mn through partner banks.

“We guarantee the total project amount up to 85% while the remaining 15% will be from the client equity. So basically we’re dealing with a partner bank and the client can choose whatever bank he wants or from our partner financial institutions,” al-Hitmi explained. Source: Gulf Times