TMCnet Feature
October 06, 2021

Mohamed Ahmed J Al Thani Describes How Qatar is Encouraging Innovation and Modernizing its Economy



The nation of Qatar is working toward diversifying its economy and shifting from its prior dependence on the oil and gas industry to a knowledge-based model. The government wants to encourage local startups and international companies to engage in more research and development activities in Qatar, accomplished by people who have been trained at the nation’s universities.



Mohamed Ahmed J Al Thani, a former oil and gas industry executive, shares how the Qatari government encourages new companies to grow and how national and international companies invest in innovation.

Transitioning to a Knowledge-Based Economy

One of the major features of the current Qatar development plan is encouraging a knowledge-based economy. The sectors featured in a knowledge-based economy include but are not limited to pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical equipment, telecommunications, software, information technology, and avionics.

Knowledge-based jobs are stable and pay well. Qatar already has an impressively low unemployment rate as of 2020, but introducing more technical jobs into the economy will help work toward a more balanced situation with more prosperity.

A Culture of Entrepreneurship

To encourage new startup companies to flourish in Qatar, the government is fostering a culture of entrepreneurship. Many Qatari nationals already desire to start their businesses, and the government provides resources to help these companies grow.

There are many other support programs available to Qatari startups and small businesses. The Qatar Foundation has a program called the Innovation Coupon that provides startup funds up to QAR 200,000 for new companies meeting certain criteria.

Business Incentives

The Qatari government has created the Qatar Free Zones program that helps businesses locate in designated opportunity areas. The program allows traditional and emerging industries companies to find space to lease and provides onboarding assistance through the iCare program.

Qatar Smart Nation Program

The government has also instituted the $6 billion Smart Nation Program dedicated to fostering new industries in the country. The program focuses on transportation, logistics, healthcare, the environment, and sports to build a diverse and sustainable economy.

International Investment in Qatar

Mohamed Ahmed J Al Thani reports that the 50 percent limit on foreign ownership of listed companies in Qatar has been lifted to 100 percent. This enables international firms to be more active in the country. This program does not include companies that are involved in extracting natural resources such as petroleum.

Selected Qatari Startups

Q-Cab

Q-Cab stands to update the taxi or Karwas system that already operates in the country. Similar to Uber, Q-Cab allows users to search for rides close to their location.

eGrab

This grocery delivery app makes it possible for Doha residents to shop from the comfort of their own homes with no delivery charges. The program also offers special discounts to its users.

Urban Point

Urban Point is a pioneering provider of web-based coupons in Doha. The company’s mobile application allows users to connect with an expanding marketplace, including retail stores, restaurants, and attractions in the country. Focusing on the needs of the budget-conscious consumer who enjoys getting a good deal, the company has experienced a great deal of success.

maktApp

This company produces cloud-based business management software for office administration. It is made in both Arabic and English. Project management, data storage, payroll processing, and secure data backups are included.

Meddy

Meddy helps Qatar residents connect with the best doctors in the area. It compiles patient reviews and the doctor’s background in easily searchable profiles. Users can quickly find the most convenient office and the right doctor to meet their needs.

Fi Technologies

Fi Technologies is a unique Qatar startup that provides free, ad-supported Wi-Fi in public places. The company has created dozens of hotspots at coffee shops and other establishments.

New Energy Sources

The nation of Qatar is beginning to take advantage of its favorable natural conditions to invest in solar energy. Multiple large solar projects are being built across the country. The goal of these power projects is to reduce the country’s carbon emissions.

Shifting Away From Dependence on Expatriates

Qatar is working to encourage its residents to enter the information-based economy by fostering home-grown startups and talent. Many expatriates work in Qatar and have a negative impact on the economy when they transfer most of their earnings abroad. These programs are intended to help the Qatari government and businesses reduce some of their dependence on foreign workers by educating citizens so that they can take on high-tech positions.

Qatar is a Rising Nation

Qatar provides many exciting incentives to its local business owners. The overall thrust of Qatari economic policy is shifting to a knowledge-based economy, so companies in this sector are especially encouraged to grow in the country.

Mohamed Ahmed J Al Thani believes that Doha, Qatar is on the rise, and he encourages foreign investors and local entrepreneurs to look into the benefits of doing business there.



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