Qatar: Small firms struggle to overcome big competition

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A dhow cruising along the Doha bay crossing
A dhow cruising along the Doha bay crossing. Photo-kgbbristol/Flickr

As Qatar steps up its preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, small firms are likely to miss out on their share of the pie and not benefit from the billions of dollars dedicated for new infrastructure projects.

Qatar plans to invite tenders for an estimated USD 100 billion worth of infrastructure projects for the World Cup. Doha Bay crossing and the Doha Metro are part of the high profile infrastructure schemes under the development program. However, some businessmen believe that small businesses may not be offered a level playing field and, therefore would not be able to participate in the tendering process in a fair manner.

Although Qatar offers a highly competitive and stable business environment, small businesses may miss out on the opportunity because of inexperience in project delivery. Small Qatari businesses may not be able to secure the best capabilities in supply chain and also lack in rigorous planning, which is key to timely delivery of such mega projects.

Nasser Al Mohannadi, a business leader and chief operating officer of Enterprise Qatar (EQ), recently remarked that, “having surveyed the needs and challenges of over 200 SMEs (small to medium-sized enterprises) in Qatar, we can say with great authority and certainty that competing in tenders represents one of the biggest barriers to growth”.  His comments came on the launch of Government Procurement and Contracting Conference (GPCC).

The conference, which is expected to be held in April, is a platform for small business owners and entrepreneurs to network and make best use of the opportunities involving huge expenditure on infrastructure projects. By attending the conference, participants would be able to learn about international best practices and other strategic level actions that may help small firms win more business.

The government of Qatar fully recognizes the role played by small and medium sized businesses in the development of national economy. It has entered into various joint venture agreements with financial institutions and other market players to build the necessary infrastructure to achieve the Qatar 2030 National Vision.

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