Under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, His Excellency Mr. Sultan bin Rashid Al-Khater, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, inaugurated the Fifth Conference on Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CEED), themed ‘Entrepreneurial Digital Transformation’, oragnised by Qatar University in cooperation with the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait.
At the outset of his opening speech, H.E. Mr Al-Khater stressed the importance of CEED, which highlights ‘Entrepreneurial Digital Transformation’, especially in light of the great and unprecedented development witnessed by information and communication technology (ICT), following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The pandemic contributed to reducing the run-up to implementing long-term digital transformation plans from years to a mere few months, H.E. Mr Al-Khater stated. Countries moved towards accelerating the adoption of technological solutions to address the economic consequences of the pandemic and achieve business continuity in various vital sectors, seeking to balance and stabilise their economies.
As Qatar recognises the vital role that digital technology plays in supporting the growth of the national economy, the State has sought to motivate various government agencies to: adopt advanced technical solutions to shorten and facilitate procedures, abolish paper transactions, and digitise all services, H.E. Mr Al Khater said. This endeavour contributes to developing the business environment, according to a clear strategy aimed at building an advanced digital economy that achieves the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV 2030).
In this regard, H.E. drew attention to the keenness of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry to cooperate and coordinate with various relevant government agencies and bodies with the aim of accelerating and shortening the procedures for granting approvals and licenses necessary for establishing businesses.
The Ministry has also made sure to provide access to these services through its smart electronic Single Window platform, which aims to assist investors during the various stages of establishing a business, starting from the planning stages, through the registration procedures, to issuing the necessary licenses through an electronic interface that connects investors to about 18 government agencies through a single platform.
Moreover, the Ministry launched the 1000 Opportunities initiative, which forms part of the Single Window e-platform, H.E. Mr Al-Khater said, pointing out that the said initiative allowed local investors and owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to view the existing and future opportunities and projects that would meet their projects’ various needs, whether in terms of products or services, which would be provided by local private sector companies.
As part of developing e-services provided to entrepreneurs and small investors, the Ministry launched the Qatar Business Map portal on its website, H.E. Mr Al-Khater pointed out.
The Qatar Business Map portal aims at providing a database that contributes to facilitating the access of emerging and small projects to target customers, in addition to helping entrepreneurs to choose the ideal site for establishing their businesses.
H.E. explained that these programmes and initiatives aim to support Qatar’s leading position in various specialised economic reports in this field. In this regard, H.E. Mr Al-Khater referred to the 2020 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report, which states that Qatar ranked first globally in terms of Employee Entrepreneurial Activity (EEA) that serves the national economy. Moreover, Qatar ranked first in the MENA region and fourth globally in the best supportive government policies in the field of taxes and bureaucratic procedures, as well as the first in the MENA region and fifth globally in entrepreneurship education and training at the university and vocational levels.
H.E. Mr Al-Khater said efforts were underway to develop more programmes and initiatives, and remove all obstacles facing the various private sector components, especially entrepreneurship. Moreover, the said private sector components are being directed towards sectors that support Qatar’s national economy, H.E. Mr Al-Khater added.
H.E. stressed the keenness of the State of Qatar to establish tools and programmes to enhance the ability of young entrepreneurs to contribute to economic growth and develop their entrepreneurial projects to form a key part of the national economy’ pillars.
At the conclusion of his speech, His Excellency the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry called on the entrepreneurship sector to present innovative and new projects and ideas in future sectors and industries, so as to support Qatar’s journey towards transitioning into a knowledge-based digital economy.
CEED aims to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences to advance and develop entrepreneurship research in the region. CEED also seeks to enhance research cooperation between all participants in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation, and to develop sustainable policies that address economic, social, and environmental challenges.
In this year’s edition, CEED tackles a number of topics related to digital transformation, by hosting several Qatari, Arab, and international experts and researchers. CEED also features sessions for key speakers in the field of entrepreneurship and digital transformation, as well as entrepreneurship policies. The conference also includes various discussion panels on entrepreneurial digital transformation and the entrepreneurship system in the Qatar, the Arab countries, and other countries of the world.