* Last phase in popular initiative attended by scores of eager SME owners and entrepreneurs.
* Interactive sessions focused on negotiation and communications, habits for success, management and leadership, the art of delegation, planning, productivity, financing and funding and innovation.
* Key presentations by partners and sponsors: HSBC and QInvest.
Enterprise Qatar has wrapped up the fourth phase of its popular SME Evolution Program with a series of Arabic and English interactive sessions focused on building core business skills as Qatar’s next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders gathered at Al Sharq Village & Spa for the last wave of the program. The program's live workshops have come to an end but the webinars will continue to be organized.
In what amounted to a “business bootcamp”, a host of interactive sessions delivered in both Arabic and English addressed critical techniques such as legal contracts, effective negotiation and communications, management and leadership skills, how to handle the planning process, learning from the habits of successful business people, and mastering the fine art of delegation. Throughout the day, the core message from all speakers and programme managers was, as always, ‘innovate, innovate innovate!’ Additionally, EQ's partners and program's sponsors, HSBC and QInvest gave key presentations on cash management solutions and legal environment of SMEs.
This fourth and last live event in EQ's SME Evolution Program was the culmination of a series of highly successful and packed workshops which were conducted over the past two months and which witnessed immense interest from hosts of entrepreneurs and SME owners who all deemed the program to be extremely valuable. The Program introduced key themes and pillars that are directly related to the growth of an SME such as market realities, leadership, effective management, customer service, innovation and e-business and others. The Program has also seen a number of guest speakers sharing first-hand experiences with delegates.
Enterprise Qatar’s SME Evolution Program is aimed at improving the country’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by encouraging start-ups and SMEs to think innovatively. A free and comprehensive web-based training program for SMEs, the program is organized with EQ's partner and program designer Potential. The program is made up of four live Workshops and Discussion Panels as well as over 40 webinars. Local sponsors include Qtel, QSTP, HSBC Bank and QInvest. The strategic partner is GSDP and the regional sponsors are AllWorld, Aramex, Google, Intel and Zawya.
Enterprise Qatar Project Director, Ms Noora Al Mannai, said: "EQ's SME Evolution Program has become an essential provider of skills and knowledge for Qatar's entrepreneurs and SME owners. The program has truly become a platform for productive dialogue, creativity and networking.
“With an outstanding array of speakers and sessions, the SME Evolution Program is passing on proven techniques and experience in a way that will take our next generation of business leaders to a whole new level."
Dr Saleh Al Naabet, of the General Secretariat of Development Planning, told workshop delegates: “In line with its mission to help chart a sustainable development path for Qatar, and the focus of the National Development Strategy on empowering the private sector and encouraging entrepreneurship as a means to create jobs and diversify the country’s economy, GSDP firmly supports Enterprise Qatar’s role to support the creation and expansion of SMEs.”
Mr Shadi Banna, Managing Partner, Potential, said: “This is the fourth and final live workshop of the program in Qatar but the webinars will continue. Saturday's session has reaffirmed our commitment to sharing the power of knowledge among keen entrepreneurs. The sessions have focused on communication and negotiation skill development, financing and funding and, more importantly, leadership. We are confident the skills gained through the seminars will help emerging entrepreneurs to grow their business to the next level. Based on the feedback received from participants, we have looked into incorporating new modules into the training programme that have addressed some of the specific challenges such as productivity, time management, and planning, faced by the SME entrepreneurs.”
“Additionally we have delivered an increased number of training modules in this wave of the SME evolution program.”
What the sponsors had to say about the event
Mr. Khalid Al-Mohannadi, Communications Director at Qatar Science & Technology, said: “The difference between winners and losers is that winners try again until they win. Also, knowing how and when to communicate a message is as important as the message itself. I believe that a leader is thus a winner with good communication skills.”
"HSBC has been present in Qatar since 1954 and has always been fully committed to supporting local economic activities. The SME sector forms the backbone of a growing economy and with our unique products and services; HSBC is perfectly positioned to serve this sector. Our global connectivity makes us the obvious financial partner for any business aspiring to reach international markets," Simon Burdett, Head of Business Banking.
Throughout the fourth session on Saturday, Mr Abdullah Al Khaled, Head of Sales, Payments & Cash Management and Ms Suha Al Dani, Payment & Cash Management Sales Manager at HSBC gave an overview of some critical cash management solutions for SMEs. Delegates were taken through a step by step presentation of the HSBCnet, the one-stop electronic shop which offers users personalized interface, remote approval from anywhere, highest security features in the banking industry, balance & transaction reporting, local and international payments, issuing Cheques online, advisory to beneficiaries, integrations with SAP, e-payment templates and fast transaction delivery and processing.
Additionally, Mr Bernard Barbour, Head of Legal and Sharia’a Affairs at QInvest conducted an in-depth discussion about the legal aspects every entrepreneur and SME owner must take into consideration. He said: "General Managers must be fully aware of their legal environment and with a lack of information and knowledge, risks are plentiful. Saturday's session helped create a significant, practical and useful platform for delegates. The feedback we received was so overwhelming that we are now looking into new workshops for the future that focus on international business and agreements and domestic law. SMEs are the cornerstones of an economy and EQ is certainly putting great efforts into developing this industry."
“QInvest’s contribution to this initiative comes from believing in the potential and value that small and medium businesses can bring for Qatar’s economy; especially when given the needed guidance and support. Along with Enterprise Qatar, QInvest utilizes its knowledge and resources to empower entrepreneurial talent and provide services which business leaders can make use of. We have been extremely happy to see the very positive feedback following our session on Saturday”. Said Mr. Barbour.
He continued saying: “Being a leader in the field of Investment Banking in Qatar and the region, QInvest is here today to raise some essential guidance related to negotiating and drafting international contracts used by SMEs. Those guidelines can make a huge difference in mitigating international legal associated risks and hence provide legal protection to SMEs”.
What the delegates had to say about the event
Mr Abraham K Joseph, General Manager of Al-Sehmiah said: "Ever since we started attending these sessions, we made sure to implement all the tips that are relevant to our company and particularly in the field of e-business. This program is definitely an eye-opener and EQ is certainly helping the industry develop."
Ms Manar Al-Kuwari, Qatari entrepreneur said: "The SME Evolution Program is simply great. The sessions are very well organized and are presenting us with valuable ideas. I believe that persistence is key for the success of any business that is developing. I am now working on launching my own business and this program has proved to be very helpful."
Mr Mohamed AbdulAziz Khalil, VP of Business Development at Tatweer Infrastructure Company said: "The idea of the SME Evolution Program is phenomenally good. Every SME needs it and the industry has to have an entity that plays an effective role in its development. Our business has experienced growth beyond all expectations over the last six months and we expect to see further in-depth workshops championed by EQ. With EQ, entrepreneurship in Qatar will flourish."
The SME Evolution Program aims at supporting SMEs in Qatar to improve their capabilities in areas such as management, business development, human resources and online marketing. EQ’s aim is to chart a sustainable development path for SMEs in Qatar, and empower the private sector to encourage entrepreneurship to create jobs and diversify the country’s economy by creating and expanding SMEs.
Enterprise Qatar was established by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, to act as the catalyst and principle driver of Qatar’s Entrepreneurial spirit by assisting SMEs and entrepreneurs through various programs and products tailored to meet their specific needs.
Enterprise Qatar also seeks to help innovators realize and grow their projects by building a network of partnerships between new businesses and experienced managers and businessmen in both the public and private sectors.