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What’s your business strategy?

february 2014

Lead Strategic partner

Entrepreneurship partner

Get some advice from the experts PUBLICATION LICENSED BY IMPZ

CONTENTS February 2014


Finance 20 Sukuk – the way of the future? Dr. Omar Fisher, MD, Khidr Solutions, explains the concept of Sukuk in detail.

Technology 24 Growing fast Salman Kaldari, CEO, Mackeen Technology, speaks to Jenny Kassis about the company’s quick progress and preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2022.

Building trade links British Ambassador to Qatar, H.E Nicholas Hopton, speaks to Ayesha Aleem about the equation between the two countries.

Entrepreneur News 10 updates

26 Best foot forward


Seema Amin, a business professional, discusses how to get the first steps right towards becoming an entrepreneur.

A quick look at news and events in this region.

Women in Business 16 Asking the experts Elsbeth Blekkenhorst and Danielle Duttenhofer, Managing Directors, Global Women Qatar, tell us about the role that mentorship plays, especially in creating women leaders.

28 Understanding the economic landscape Prof. Marios I. Katsioloudes, Professor of Management, Qatar University, talks about the benefits of promoting entrepreneurship.

Sector study 18 Making the right connections Carolin Zeitler, CEO, Tataowar, explains the benefits of networking.


32 Clean up your act Joseph Mathew, Director, Duslco-Qatar speaks to Ayesha Aleem about how companies can adopt waste management measures.



Business advice 34 Getting the basics right Rami Taher, an independent business consultant, goes into the details of building a company and navigating the marketplace, with Ayesha Aleem.

Marketing 38 Tweet speak Fida Kibbi, Head, External Communications, Middle East and Africa, Ericsson, tells Ayesha Aleem about the company’s social media strategy.

Legal 40 Qatar’s Trade Concealment Law Brenda Hill, Senior Legal Consultant, DLA Piper, explains the details of Qatar’s Trade Concealment Law.


SME 48 Sweet beginnings Khalid Al Suwaidi, Founder, Bu Saif Apiaries, speaks to Ayesha Aleem about his connection with honey.

42 Qatar’s Trademark law


Malik Al Kammaz, Country Manager, Saba & Co. Intellectual Property-Qatar, speaks about Qatar’s Trademark Law.

50 Finding the customer Tasdeer puts forth some ways of finding the appropriate customers through its Trade Secrets Guide.

Trade 46 Building trade links British Ambassador to Qatar, H.E Nicholas Hopton, speaks to Ayesha Aleem about the equation between the two countries.

Sign-off 54 Onward and forward In a bi-monthly column, Ayesha Aleem reflects on the beginning of 2014.

february 2014


EDITORIAL Editor’s note

Chairman Dominic De Sousa CEO Nadeem Hood Managing Director Richard Judd +971 4 440 9126

The beginning of a year is always a busy period for us as we plan our features and events for the coming month and January 2014 has been no different. So, watch this space as we have an interesting line up of stories and will also be announcing our events for 2014 soon.

EDITORIAL Group Director of Editorial Paul Godfrey +971 4 440 9105 Senior Editor Aparna Shivpuri Arya +971 4 440 9133 Deputy Editor - English Ayesha Aleem +971 4 440 9120 Deputy Editor - Arabic Badar Salem +971 4 440 9116 ADVERTISING Group Sales Director Carol Owen +971 4 440 9110 Commercial Director Chris Stevenson +971 4 440 9138 CIRCULATION Database and Circulation Manager Rajeesh M +971 4 440 9147

In our February issue, we take a look at how businesswomen in Qatar can enhance their business prospects through mentorship and networking. While editing the features it was interesting to read some important, but often ignored, points that can go a long way in ensuring that you meet the right people and build on your professional connections. According to some recent statistics, female participation in the workforce, in Qatar is only 36% compared to about 68% for men, even though the percentage of women who are graduates is much higher than man. Hopefully information and events pertaining to women, such as those in our February issue, will help bridge this gap. Moving on, we also bring you the details of the Trade Concealment Law, which provides some fundamental information about setting up business in Qatar. We also got the opportunity to catch up with the UK Ambassador to Qatar, H.E Nicholas Hopton, to know about the trade relationship between the two countries. The UK recently issued a visa waiver for Qatari nationals, which I am sure will promote trade and tourism by leaps and bounds. Last but not the least, we will be in Doha at the end of February for the Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum. We will have a stand at this event, so please drop by to say hello. We would love to meet you. We will also be covering the Gulfood in Dubai and hope to meet some of you at the Qatar Pavilion. Until next time…

OPERATIONS AND DESIGN Production Manager James P Tharian +971 4 440 9146 Head of Design Fahed Sabbagh +971 4 440 9132 Photographer Jay Colina +971 4 440 9137 DIGITAL SERVICES Digital Services Manager Tristan Troy Maagma Web Developers Abey Mascreen Erik Briones Jefferson de Joya Louie Alma +971 4 440 9100

Aparna Shivpuri Arya, Senior Editor, Private Sector Qatar Talk to us: E-mail: Twitter: @PrivateSectorQA Facebook: LinkedIn group: Private Sector Qatar

Published by

Head Office PO Box 13700 Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 440 9100 Fax: +971 4 447 2409

Printed by

Al Waraq Printing Press, Qatar

Distributed by

Dar Al Sharq Distribution © Copyright 2013 CPI All rights reserved While the publishers have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of all information in this magazine, they will not be held responsible for any errors therein.

QATAR TOURISM INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES Qatar Tourism Authority and Qatar Development Bank, are pleased to invite commercial businesses and members of the private sector, including SMEs and entrepreneurs in Qatar, to attend the first stage of: “Qatar Tourism Investment Opportunities” event. Date: March 2, 2014 Place: Four Seasons Hotel Al Mirqab Hall 1 & 2 Time: 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm For registration: For further inquiries: +974 4430 0000 For more information:

advisory Board


Amal Al-Mannai

Gail Gosse

Executive Director, Social Development Center.

Dean, School of Business, College of North Atlantic-Qatar.

Professor Nitham M. Hindi

George M. White, Ph.D.

Dean, College of Business and Economics, Qatar University.

Associate Teaching Professor of Entrepreneurship, Carnegie Mellon University-Qatar.

Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa

Ali Al Khulaifi

Chief Executive Officer, Qatar Development Bank.

Executive Director, Business Support Services, Enterprise Qatar.

Wael Sawan

Hamad Mohammed Al-Kuwari

Managing Director and Chairman, Qatar Shell.

Managing Director, Qatar Science & Technology Park.

Raed Al-Emadi

Rashid Nasser Sraiya Al Kaabi

Chief Operating Officer, Silatech.

Chairman of the Board, Energy City Qatar Holding.

For more information, please visit


Qatar and Bulgaria discuss relationship Bulgaria is interested in taking part in projects that are related to FIFA World Cup 2022, said Dragomir Stoynev, Minister of Economy and Energy, Bulgaria. “Bulgaria can assist Qatar in organising the event by providing goods, construction materials and skilled workers. Bulgarian companies have proven professionalism in the construction of highways, office builds and shopping centres,” said Dragomir , who believes the key sporting event will provide tremendous opportunities for firms in his country. Dragomir said there was considerable potential for the development of trade and economic cooperation between Bulgaria and Qatar. “To expand our bilateral trade and economic cooperation, we have decided to open a Commercial and Economic Section

in our Embassy here.” He added that several sectors can provide enhanced trade and cooperation between the two countries. These include light industry, energy, tourism, agriculture and food processing, automotive, machinery, information and communication technology, engineering and consulting. Bilateral trade between Qatar and Bulgaria stood at USD 11.7 million in 2013. “This is not significant, but the bilateral trade has seen a three-fold growth in the last three years. It stood at only USD 3.3 million in 2011,” the Minister pointed out. “We can offer Qatar high quality lamb, mutton, poultry, cereals, mineral water, high quality ferment cultures for dairy products, construction

Milaha gets financing

materials, medicines, electrical and electronic equipment,” Dragomir said. He said Bulgaria looked forward to signing an agreement with Qatar for the establishment of a joint investment company dealing with livestock. This is currently being negotiated with Hassad Food. Bulgaria also supports a free trade agreement between EU and the GCC. He added, “As an EU member, Bulgaria can be the gateway for Qatari goods to the European market of more than 500 million customers.” Qatar has been urged to consider direct flights between Doha and Sofia, the capital city of Bulgaria. Currently, Qatar Airways flies to Sofia with a stopover in Bucharest. The Minister said Qatar has expressed willingness to consider the direct air link request.

Entrepreneurship Forum in Doha In Qatar and GCC countries, the expansion of the private sector remains a major priority in development programmes.The promotion of entrepreneurship, start ups and SMEs is a vital element for achieving this objective. To discuss these issues, Qatar University and Interactive Business Network are organising the “Entrepreneurship in Economic Development” to be held in Doha on the 24th and 25th of February 2014. Qatar Development Bank is the “Economic Development Supporter” of this event.

Qatar Shipping, a wholly owned subsidiary of Milaha, previously known as Qatar Navigation, has secured a 12-year fixed-term ship financing facility of QAR 1.55 billion (USD 425 million) through a consortium of the following banks:  The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Mizuho Bank Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation, Shinsei Bank Ltd., Development Bank of Japan Inc. and Standard Chartered Bank. Proceeds from the facility will be utilised by all four JV partners to refinance existing debt facilities on four LNG vessels. The four vessels are owned by JV companies, wholly-owned by vessel sponsors,  Qatar Shipping Company, Mitsui OSK Lines, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha – all chartered to Ras Laffan Liquefied Natural Gas Company in Qatar on a long-time charter basis.


The Forum will be an effective platform in the region for defining issues of new start ups and SMEs, assessing the prevailing entrepreneurial culture in Qatar and the wider Gulf. There will also be a discussion on the role and importance of government policy and education in fostering and promoting entrepreneurship. The Forum will also analyse the personal attributes of entrepreneurs, provide pointers to common mistakes made by them and practical advice on best management practices as well as discuss financing possibilities. In the final analysis, in its emphasis on education, the Forum will highlight the role of Qatar University and other Gulf universities as incubators of young entrepreneurs of the future. The event will bring together a wide panel of experts from entrepreneurs to angel investors who will share their own success stories and guide budding entrepreneurs. For more inform information, please visit

Qatar could lead GCC earnings in 2014 Supported strongly by Qatar, the full-year earnings of GCC is estimated at 12% in 2014. The real estate sector, underpinned by banking and financial services, will be the driving factor of the 2014 growth rate, Kuwait Financial Centre (Markaz) noted in its latest GCC Outlook.

years in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, could surprise on the positive side in 2014. We estimate full year earnings for the GCC region in 2014 to be 12%,” Markaz said.

The research, which noted performance of GCC stock markets in 2013 and provides an outlook for 2014 based on earnings potential, market liquidity, valuation attraction and economic factors, expects full year earnings to grow by 10% in the GCC region.

“At the end of first half of 2013, we had neutral views on Saudi Arabia and Kuwait and positive views on UAE, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. We were mostly right, except for Saudi Arabia, which rallied higher as talks of regulatory reforms to open up the equity market for foreign investor’s direct participation boosted sentiments. UAE markets, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, although positive, surpassed our expectations” states the report.

“Going into 2014, we believe the real estate sector will be the driving factor underpinned by banking and financial services. The petrochemicals sector is expected to remain muted in 2014. Corporate earnings, which have been moderate for the past

The highlight of 2013 was the long expected MSCI upgrade of UAE and Qatar to “Emerging Market” status. The move is likely to take effect in 2014, with UAE accounting for 0.4% of the Index and Qatar accounting for 0.45%.

Economic growth in the GCC is expected to sustain at 4% in 2014, driven largely by social spending, initiation of infrastructure projects and large-scale subsidies. Increasing oil production elsewhere is further expected to put downward pressures on global oil price.

Cyprus seeking Qatari investment Cyprus, aiming at exploiting and monetising its recently found huge hydrocarbon reserves, is seeking Qatar’s expertise and investments in energy. The European island-nation, over the last 10 years, has inked more than a dozen agreements with Qatar to enhance ties in a host of sectors. Nicos Anastasiades, President, Republic of Cyprus, who was visiting Qatar, announced that during his stay in the country, he has witnessed

the signing of four strategic agreements to enhance bilateral economic cooperation.

from Qatar. We also want to understand how Qatar has moved in this regard.”

“We really look up to what Qatar has done with its oil and gas industry like the way it has developed and managing its resources for the current and future generations,” said Giorgos Lakkotrypis, Minister of Energy, Commerce, Industry and Tourism, Cyprus. “We want to exchange know-how and other energy expertise

Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim bin Mohamed Al Thani, Chairman, Qatar Chamber, said, “There are a lot of investment opportunities in Cyprus and the Qatari businessmen are aware about it. We signed an agreement with Cyprus Chamber of Commerce and Industry to facilitate bilateral cooperation and investments.”

IAG Cargo signs deal with Qatar Airways IAG Cargo announced that it has signed a long-term commercial agreement with Qatar Airways to purchase capacity on Qatar Airwaysoperated air cargo freighters, effective from 1st May 2014. Qatar Airways will operate five B777F flights a week between Hong Kong and London on behalf of IAG Cargo, providing continuity of service for IAG Cargo customers. The agreement marks a transition for IAG Cargo and follows the company’s decision to transfer freighter operations from its current provider, Global Supply Systems. IAG Cargo connects 350 destinatioQatar Airways is already a partner with IAG through the oneworld global alliance which it joined

in October 2013. The airline is taking delivery of a further three B777F aircraft during 2014.

february 2014



ADNOC Distribution signs MoU with Etisalat ADNOC Distribution has signed an MoU with UAE’s telecommunications provider, Etisalat. The MoU establishes the framework for Etisalat to provide ADNOC Distribution with capacities and infrastructure to ensure the complete automation of its service station sites. The agreement was signed by Abdullah Salem Al Dhaheri, Chief Executive Officer, ADNOC Distribution and Eng. Sa l e h A l A b d o o l i , C h i e f E xe c u t ive Officer, Etisalat. The MoU seeks to transform and optimise the existing Wide Area Network (WAN) infrastructure for ADNOC to a managed, scalable and reliable converged IP-based network that can support voice, video and data communications. The upgraded WAN infrastructure is expected to provide

resilience, security and redundancy on all critical links as required by ADNOC Distribution. Under this arrangement, Etisalat will provide remote management capabilities from ADNOC Distribution headquarters to its

Leadership Innovation Conference

network of 200 service stations during the initial phase, following which the development works will extend to more locations and service stations. ADNOC Distribution will also be offered administrative backup solutions and customer portals to generate feedback and live reports.

NBK posts profit

Great Place to Work Institute, UAE (GPTW) is set to host its Leadership Innovation Conference for the second consecutive year. With the UAE economy expected to grow by 3.7% in 2014, the Institute says the challenge of creating high-trust workplaces and strengthening the talent and intelligence of work forces is becoming more apparent. Taking place at the H Hotel in Dubai on 12 th February 2014, the one-day conference will help UAE business leaders to learn more about leadership practices that are effective and sustainable and that ultimately drive employee trust. Designed to help middle to senior managers understand best practices in developing and inspiring others to reach their full potential, the Conference will feature interactive seminars led by alumni of the Institute’s Top Companies programme as well as leadership experts from around the region.


National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) reported net profits of KWD 238.1 million (USD 844 million) in 2013 compared with KWD 305.1 million  (USD 1082 million) in 2012. Adjusting for the KWD 81.5 million (USD 289 million) exceptional gains recognised in 2012 on the consolidation of Boubyan Bank, net profits recorded a 6.5% growth, a press release issued by the bank said.

Silatech and Microsoft renew partnership to a wide variety of resources, including personalised advice to help young people determine the career path that best matches their life aspirations. Youth unemployment in the Arab region is around 25%, the highest of any region in the world and the lack of access to quality employability resources is a big impediment to lowering unemployment rates. Silatech and Microsoft signed an agreement renewing their commitment to provide online employability resources to Arab youth through the Ta3mal network. The new agreement will now see the activation of the Qatar portal, following successful project implementations in Egypt, Iraq and Tunisia.

Naim Yazbeck, General Manager,  Microsoft Qatar, in the presence of Her Excellency Dr. Hessa Al Jaber, Minister of Communication and Information Technology, Qatar and former SecretaryGeneral of ictQATAR and Jeffrey Avina, Director of Citizenship and Community Affairs, Microsoft Middle East and Africa.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Tarik M. Yousef, CEO, Silatech  and

The Ta3mal network provides Arab youth with free access

Gulf can inspire sustainable development The Gulf states can use their prosperity and the opportunity to be early adopters of potentially transformative sustainable technologies to accelerate the adoption of renewable energies and sustainable development internationally was the message at the closing session of the seventh World Future Energy Summit (WFES) and second International Wa t e r S u m m i t   ( I W S ) i n Abu Dhabi. “Neither our water nor our energy can be considered cheap anymore,” said His Excellency Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Director of Energy and Climate Change, Ministry of Foreign Affairs,

UAE and First Permanent Representative, UAE to IRENA. Opening the session, Dr. Al Zeyoudi remarked that a significant increase in the price of natural gas in the GCC had made water more expensive, which could limit economic growth if left unchecked. “The link between water and energy is very strong,” added Dr. Mahmoud Dawoud, Water Resources Advisor, Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, noting that 30-40% of energy consumption in the GCC was for water production. To tackle this problem, Abu Dhabi was exploring the potential of

Through close coordination with local partners, Ta3mal will also soon provide job seekers a platform from which to search for entry-level job openings and internship opportunities in their area. Country partners include Edupartage, Tunisiana, a n d AT U G E ( Tu n i s i a ) , USAID (Iraq), the Ministry of Youth, Egypt and Bedaya Centre, Qatar.

solar-powered water desalination and projects to reclaim waste water, he said. Fellow panelist Samantha Smith, Director, WWF, said that the effects of climate change were u n avo i d a b ly l i n ke d to t h e challenges of water, energy and food. “If we don’t do something about climate change all of these issues will become much harder to solve,” she warned. Despite their reliance on fossil fuels, the Gulf states had the resources and the institutions to address sustainability challenges, Smith argued, while the accelerated adoption of renewable energies was one avenue to address the region’s youth unemployment.

Bahrain ranks high on economic freedom According to the annual Index of Economic Freedom published by The Heritage Fo u n d a t i o n , Ba h r a i n remains the MENA region’s most economically free c o u n t r y. O ve r a l l , t h e Kingdom is ranked 13th out of 178 economies worldwide, between the United States and the United Kingdom which rank 12 th and 14 th respectively and is the only MENA country to rank in the top 20. In the 20-year history of the Index, Bahrain has consistently achieved a score greater than 70, well above the world average. The Kingdom’s 2014 economic freedom score is 75.1. The report highlights that the Kingdom’s “transition to greater openness and diversification is based on foundations of economic freedom,” and that Bahrain “continues to be a financial hub for dynamic economic activity, with high levels of trade and investment bolstered by a competitive and efficient regulatory environment.” According to the report, Bahrain has improved its economic freedom score in a number of categories at an above-average rate since grading began 20 years ago, particularly in the areas of financial freedom, investment freedom and labour freedom.

february 2014



Save the date!

february – June 2014




4-5 February

The GCC Digital Security Forum


18-20 February

First Arab States Regional South–South Development Expo

Doha, Qatar

23-25 February

Sixth Facade Design & Engineering Summit

Oryx Rotana Hotel, Doha, Qatar

23-25 February

The George Washington University’s Masters Certificate in Project Management

Grand Hyatt Hotel, Doha, Qatar

24-25 February

Entrepreneurship in Economic Development

Qatar University, Doha, Qatar

24-25 February

Second Annual MICE Arabia Congress 2014

Grand Hyatt Hotel, Doha, Qatar

24-26 February

International Conference on Energy and Indoor Environment for Hot Climates

Doha, Qatar

4-5 March

Corporate Performance Excellence for Executive Management

Doha, Qatar

9-11 March

MultaQa Qatar

St. Regis Hotel, Doha, Qatar

11-12 March

GCC Future Rail Summit

Doha Qatar

16-18 March

Drainage and Sewerage Middle East

W Hotel, Doha, Qatar

17-19 March

Qatar Projects Conference

Grand Hyatt Hotel, Doha, Qatar

24-26 March

World Exchange Congress

St. Regis Hotel, Doha, Qatar

7-8 April

Arab Future Cities Summit 2014

Doha, Qatar

22-24 April

Gulf Water Conference 2014

Doha, Qatar

28-30 April

Corrosion Management Summit

Doha, Qatar

6-7 May

Fourth Annual Global Petrochemicals Technology Conference

Grand Hyatt Doha, Qatar

12-13 May

Third Edition Power and Desalination Summit

Sheraton Doha Resort & Convention Hotel

12-15 May

Project Qatar - International Construction Technology and Building Materials Exhibition

Qatar National convention Centre

1-3 June

70th IATA Annual General Meeting

Doha, Qatar

To know about the events happening in Qatar in the next few months, please visit our Website


Carnegie Mellon. We created the first Internet search engine. We helped develop artificial intelligence. We revolutionized business education. We led the convergence of information technology and biology.

And that’s just our first century.

Biological Sciences | Business Administration | Computational Biology | Computer Science | Information Systems february 2014 Andrew Carnegie, Founder


women in business

Asking the experts Even the best of us need to be pointed in the right direction from time to time. Having a mentor whom we can turn to helps make the sometimes scary prospect of entrepreneurship less daunting. Elsbeth Blekkenhorst and Danielle Duttenhoffer, Managing Directors, Global Women Qatar, tell us about the important role that mentorship plays, especially in creating women leaders.



emale rulers have existed for centuries such as Egyptian queens who are believed to have governed from around 3000 BC. Today, remarkable female leaders are Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook, Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil and Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo, to name a few.

B e i n g a n e n t re p re n e u r o r l e a d e r c a n fe e l like a roller coaster ride with steep highs and lows, moments of intense adrenaline rushes, disorientation and occasionally the sense that you’ve somehow arrived back where you started from. Therefore, to support women entrepreneurs and leaders, mentorship is a very important tool.

As we all know by now, when we support the growth and empowerment of women, we raise the quality of life for everyone. This is because when women lead they don’t just lead businesses, they lead their community. They give voice to issues that are important to our collective future, like education and healthcare.

The importance of mentorship Mentorship complements training and is much more than coaching and counselling. It deals with the qualitative parts of a job, like coping with frustration, giving constructive criticism, handling disappointment, behaving with humility and compassion, among other such aspects. The focus of the process is on career and personal development,

is more long-term and takes into account a broader view of the person. Mentorship teaches a person to: ■■ Be a standout ■■ Showcase leadership ■■ Work smarter, not harder Global Women Qatar was established in January 2012 as Qatar’s first employment agency to focus exclusively on the recruitment of women who already reside in Qatar. For more information please contact Elsbeth Blekkenhorst or Danielle Duttenhofer at

Being a mentee provides a person with the opportunity to gain valuable insight beyond his/her own education and experience. Whether you need advice or a sounding board, a mentor can inspire and guide. However, it is important that you begin the relationship with specific goals and expectations. The benefits may extend far beyond what you had planned and can include: ■■ Access to a support system during critical stages of your academic and career development that develops into a lasting professional network ■■ An insider’s perspective on navigating your career ■■ Exposure to diverse perspectives and experiences ■■ Direct access to powerful resources within your profession ■■ Identification of skill gaps Mentoring for entrepreneurs and women leaders When you work for yourself and do not have a boss or even co-workers to discuss ideas with, your job description changes as the needs of the business change. There is no one to train you and no matter how smart you are or how many skills you have, you always need to learn something new. Mentors have experience and can be very good at seeing beyond the day-to-day workings of a business. Better still, a mentor is often able to predict where the business is heading. A mentor can save you time and trouble and help get your business off to a solid start. T h e l a ck o f fe m a l e s i n s e n i o r m a n a ge m e n t positions is a common phenomenon. Mentoring can help in supporting and creating female

A mentor has experience and can be very good at seeing beyond the day-today workings of a business. Better still, they are often able to predict where the business is heading.

l e a d e r s . Wo m e n i n p a r t i c u l a r r e p o r t t h a t mentoring is helpful to understand their own value and gain confidence. Programmes need to be designed with a focus on flexibility, creating opportunities and enabling recognition. Research has shown that companies that embrace these values will be the leaders in attracting and retaining a talented female workforce. Female mentorship programmes in Qatar In Qatar there are numerous mentor programmes. For example, the third “ Global Ambassadors Programme” took place in Qatar in2013. This Forum focussed on promoting economic empowerment for women leaders across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Mentees and Global Ambassadors (mentors) were paired for one-on-one mentoring sessions and more than 200 local women entrepreneurs and professionals participated in a mentoring walk at Aspire Park organised by Qatari Businesswomen Association. Participants had the opportunity to discuss topics such as financing small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), creating policies to promote entrepreneurship in the Arab world, breaking down barriers to leadership in the MENA region and continuing to reduce the gender gap in the workforce. Bringing together women and leaders from the public, private, commercial and civil service sectors played an important role in helping emerging leaders in the MENA region further their economic, social and political goals. Qatar Professional Women’s Network offers a mentoring programme just for women called Circle of Pearl . Any female student above the age of 18 who is studying in Qatar can apply a s a m e n t e e . B u s i n e s s wo m e n a n d wo m e n entrepreneurs of any age who have a business in Qatar can apply to be mentees. There are also a number of individual mentors in Qatar who offer excellent mentorship programmes. A well-known mentor in Qatar is Jeanine Bailey, Founder and Managing Director, Empower People. She has more than 20 years of experience, in Qatar, the UK and Australia. Her key focus area is leadership training. When LinkedIn surveyed nearly 1,0 0 0 female professionals, about two-thirds of women said they were not being mentored by women and never had been. It’s time to reach out and ask others for help in our careers.

January 2014


women in business

Making the right connections

Despite what personal opinions may be about networking, the importance of knowing the right people and the role this plays in getting ahead cannot be ignored. Carolin Zeitler, CEO, Tataowar, explains the benefits.


alking into a room filled with strangers knowing that you have to learn at least some of their names and hope that they remember you can be awkward. Let me paint a picture of the typical “networking opportunity”. You enter a room where many people are already huddled in clusters, talking animatedly. Some others are greeting each other across the room and some are standing around in corners with a drink. You scan the space to identify who might be the best person to meet. You might feel unsure of what to do. But then, to your great relief, you discover someone you know. You talk to your friend for a while. If you’re lucky, she will introduce you to some interesting new people. After a few minutes of friendly banter, the two of you will look around the room, heave a big sigh and say something along the lines of, “Well, we better get some networking done!” and reluctantly peel away from the safety of a person you know. After that, you might spend most of the evening in meaningless small talk with people that are as indifferent to your venture as you are to theirs.


For many of us this is what the typical networking experience looks like and so we ask ourselves, “Why does everyone keep telling me how important networking is?” Defining your goals Well, plenty depends you. It depends on how well you do your research, how aware you are of your own strengths and what you expect to get out of a networking event. All of this becomes clearer when you define your business goals. If you don’t have an exact long-term goal yet, at least think about what the next steps should be and where you are headed right now. Once you are moving, you can always tweak your course. Develop a pitch Next, develop your pitch. What do you answer when somebody asks, “What do you do?” Be sure to have a good answer ready that gives just enough information to make them curious. Have a few different versions thought out for different situations and try out the effect of each while networking.

A person who is just “working the crowd” to get business will probably not stay popular for too long. Try to strike a balance between showing interest in others while bringing up your reason for being there. If you are trying to market your product or service, try to find a natural opening for your pitch. Create a funny way to get people’s attention with a quirky fact or statement. Hard sales don’t work on most people. Develop a rapport first and then they will ask for more information and details. If they’re not asking, they’re either not the right people or you haven’t made them curious enough.

The fifth annual How Women Work conference will be held on 5th-6th March 2014, with the theme “To Inspire Fulfilling Careers.” For more information, please visit

Personally, I have discovered that “I’m a dance therapist by profession” usually gets raised eyebrows and a “tell me more” response because many people haven’t heard of dance therapy. It’s a good conversation starter but maybe not the best way to market my business, so I usually reserve it for social occasions. In women-only meetings I usually go with the mission statement of How Women Work, which is “We empower women to grow and succeed.” This gets people’s attention and usually makes them ask how, when and what we do. So try out a few options and with different wording as well. Remember, a lot of people you network with will probably not be from your field and won’t understand the jargon. Finding a good fit Find out which format works best for you. Different networking events have different levels of formality and content. At our annual How Women Work conference, for example, we make sure that delegates have plenty of opportunities to interact. We encourage them to mix, do lots of round table activities and work in pairs, give them a chance to do a 90-second pitch to tell people what they do, offer guided networking sessions and, for the first time in 2014, we’ll be introducing a networking app. If you are not the type of person to just walk up to a complete stranger and start talking comfortably, How Women Work events, where opportunities to get to know each other are built into the schedule, are a good idea. Get together with a friend who is a great networker and can introduce you to

people or become a volunteer for an organisation that hosts networking events. In other words, find opportunities that give you a legitimate reason to speak to people. Make the right choices Choose which networking events to attend. It is important to be everywhere, especially in the beginning, but you need to identify what “everywhere” means in your field. Who is your target group? Where do they meet? What are they interested in? If your target group is CEOs, then you are likely to meet them at a business forum rather than at a young professionals meet. Check conference schedules because CEOs are often keynote speakers or panelists. Use your networking events wisely. Everyone is there for a reason, which is to meet new people, sell a product or service, explore new business opportunities or find a job, among other reasons. A person who is just “working the crowd” to get business will probably not stay popular for too long. Try to strike a balance between showing interest in others while bringing up your reason for being there. Follow up Networking is something we usually do for the long term. It rarely shows immediate results. Expanding your network is about raising awareness of your brand and letting people know who you are and what you do, so that they can recommend, refer or invite you to be part of relevant projects. However, if they only speak to you once, they will probably not remember you for very long. So be sure to keep in touch with people you meet at networking events where you see a potential for synergy. Ask them if they would like to receive your newsletter or recommend that you follow each other on Twitter. Subscribe to their page on Facebook and connect with them on LinkedIn. When you see a link or an article that might be interesting to them, email it with a brief “Thought you would like this” in the subject line. The networking event is only the beginning. You have to build the relationship and turn it into something lasting and valuable. The top five benefits of networking are: ■■ Developing new ways of selling your product or service ■■ A market research opportunity ■■ A place to find potential customers ■■ An opportunity to get referalls ■■ A place to connect with people to help them succeed. After all, what goes around, comes around.

frbruary 2014



Islamic capital markets are developing well but they are missing a crucial element of longterm bonds. In the first of a two-part series, Dr. Omar Fisher, MD, Khidr Solutions, explains the concept of Sukuk in detail.


Dr. Omar Clark Fisher is MD, Khidr Solutions, Dubai. He has more than 30 years of experience in international business development, strategic planning, marketing, in-house leadership training, and structuring investment portfolios. He holds a PhD, Management Philosophy –Takaful, from Malaysia. He can be contacted at

ubai is known globally for its vision and leadership, especially in the financial services sector. In October 2013, H.H Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Deputy Premier, UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced that within the next three years, Dubai plans to establish itself as a global hub of Islamic economy alongside London, Istanbul, Riyadh, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur. The first of the seven pillars of this plan combines setting up of an Islamic Banking Centre for financial education and a Dubai Global Sukuk Centre to attract issuance and listing on the Dubai Securities Exchange of Islamic bonds.

Definition of Sukuk “Sukuk” is an Arabic term and the plural of the word “Sakk,” which means “certificate.” Sukuk are defined as certificates of equal value representing undivided shares in ownership of tangible assets, usufruct and services. Sukuk may be issued through various Islamic banking products such as Ijarah, Musharaka, Murabaha, Salam and Istisnaa2. Commonly, Sukuk certificates are issued by a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which is a private legal entity formed for specific financing purpose like real estate properties, high-value assets such as aircrafts or ships, project or infrastructure finance, or to unlock liquidity from an income generating asset.

This goal is certainly a tall order given the level of competition. During the past decade, Malaysia has rapidly developed its debt markets and currently 70% of its domestic debt issuance is in the form of Sukuk, making it the world’s largest Islamic bond market1, with more than 60% of global Sukuk issuance originating in Malaysia. Nonetheless, Dubai’s resolve to achieve its ambitious goals should not be underestimated.

As portrayed in the recently released comprehensive study of global Sukuk by Zawya and Thomson Reuters3, Islamic bonds are making a pathway towards center stage in international capital markets because: ■■ A wide range of countries have issued sizeable Sukuk. ■■ Sukuk are issued in domestic and foreign currencies. ■■ Duration of Sukuk is medium term, between three and seven years, which is a “sweet spot” or favourable period for investors. ■■ Sukuk bonds are issued with floating or fixed rates of return.

1- Gulf News, Nov 24, 3013 . 2- Meezan Bank Guide to Islamic Banking: Dr. Mohammad Imran Usmani (Mufti), Handbook of Islamic Finance in Ethica Handbook, 2013, Chap21, 22 section on Risk Management in Islamic Finance 3- Sukuk Perceptions and Forecast Study 2014, Zawya and Thomson Reuters, Dec 2013


One of the main drivers for expansion of Islamic bonds is the broadening and deepening of Islamic finance securities, partially in response to the global financial

crisis following which, institutional investors seek less risk and shorter maturities, favour sovereign over corporate obligations and prefer assetbacked investments. However, inherent in this new growth of Islamic finance is a structural deficiency – a dearth of long-term securities. Despite the issuance of more than 3500 Islamic bonds, only a handful have tenors that are longer than 15 years. Profile of Sukuk Market In the last two decades, Sukuk have been issued by sovereigns (82% worth USD 369 billion), quasi-government entities and private sector corporations (18%,worth USD 158 billion). Usage of Sukuks is increasing with more than nine countries outside the Muslim-majority countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) having organised Sukuk, as Table 2 4 below makes clear.

Sukuk issued by companies based outside the OIC China France Germany

2004 - 2009



















































Singapore Switzerland








United Kingdom







922.8 1582.1

United States














Note: Includes Sukuk issued by OCBC’s Malaysia subsidairy under Singapore, Esso Malaysia short-term Sukuk under United States, HSBC ME and HSBC Amanah under United Kingdon and Nestle’s Malaysia subsidairy under Switzerland. Source: Thomson Reuters Zawya Sukuk Monitor and IFG analysis.

It is interesting to note that USA companies, including GE Capital (USD 200 million) and East Cameron Gas (USD 165 million) Company of Texas, have raised fresh debt capital by Sukuk. Between January 1996 and September 2013, Malaysia issued USD 324 billion in value of Sukuk, or 66% of the global total of USD 488 billion, whereas the GCC issuance accounts for USD 122.8 billion or 25%. The top 5 countries in the table 5 below issued USD 450 billion, or 92% of the global total, showing there is narrow concentration of five regulatory jurisdictions promoting Islamic bonds.

Global Aggrigate Sukuk issued breakdown by country (January 96 - September 13) Country

Number of Issues

Amount Issued (USD Million)







Saudi Arabia







United Kingdom









































Grand Total






Brunei Darussalam









United States



Thomson Reuters


January 2014



During the same period, over half the 3,543 issues employed the Ijarah and the Mudarabah structures valued at USD 298.5 billion (62% of total values)6. Bai Bithaman Ajil, a leasing structure, was favored 12% (USD 60 billion) and Musharaka, a profit-loss sharing structure, was utilised 12% as well. Clearly, bond investors during this timeframe were risk adverse and preferred Islamic structures like leases whereby cash flows are highly regularised and predictable.

Top 5 global Sukuk structure historical trend (Jan 10 - Sep 13) Structure

Number of Issues

Amount Issued (USD Million)

Al Salaam




























Grand Total





Al-Wakala Bel-Istithmar



Bai Bithaman Ajil



Bai Dayn



Bai Inah



Hybrid Sukuk



Thomson Reuters, Zawya

Difference between Sukuk and Bonds Debt is a cornerstone of conventional long-term financing worldwide, either issued by governments or by private corporations. The total bond marketplace in 2012 was approximately USD 98 trillion7, consisting of private and public debts, but not consumer debts. A bond is a contractual debt obligation where the issuer, government or corporate, is obligated on specified future dates, to pay back its borrowings from bondholders as principal and interest. Bondholders are secured by pledges of collateral that are often not restricted to a defined set of assets. Bond securities provide investors with secure capital plus a “premium for money lent,” with the exception of “Zero Coupon” bonds. This is when the investor purchases the bond at a steep discount and the principal is paid back at redemption. As bonds inevitably involve a premium of “money over money,” or a rental fee for funds lent to issuer, conventional bonds are not permissible for Muslims. Debt capital markets satisfy two basic financial demands – investing of excess funds by investors to get a return and the demand by companies or governments that require liquid cash to borrow funds at a price. However, both lending and borrowing at interest (Riba) is forbidden in Islam. Islamic finance seeks to avoid interest by contracts of sale, lease or shared ownership, so that a borrower can access liquidity and a lender can earn legitimate, predictable profits. Returns to Sukuk holders come in the form of profit from a sale, rental income, or a combination of both. However, the contract must avoid Gharar, which is deception, unclear terms and undue risk or uncertainty. In cases where a Sukuk issuer seeks to offer a collateral security or even a guaranteed rate of return, there are Sharia approved options such as using Takaful as Islamic insurance. Careful underwriting is essential to navigate the strict restrictions on these guarantees. Sukuk holders have a beneficial undivided ownership interest in specific assets that are part of the transaction. In other words, Sukuk holders are entitled to share in the revenues generated by the assets, to share in proceeds of sale of these assets and gain security throughout the transaction period by virtue of their actual ownership position in those assets. 6- IBID 7- McKinsey Global Capital Markets report (2012) states total worldwide debts are $255 Trillion. USA bonds consistent of $45 Trillion.


Comparison betwween bonds and Sukuk Name

Conventional Bond






Cash and other collateral,

real assets,

of Issuer can be

guarantees, insurance

high liquidity


wrappers possible

Creditworthiness of Issuer (SPV) Islamic Sukuk


and underlying assets can be rated




deep secondary

Interest based –

Federal, corporate

market, various

fixed or floating

income taxes

Profit-Loss sharing –

Same plus Zakat

fixed or floating


Tradable securities,

legal structures

As assets are less clearly defined enhancements required, Issuer guarantees possible, Takaful insurance

Various legal structures that confirm to Shariah rules, use AAIOFI/ IFRS standards

In the next part of this story, Dr. Fisher will explain what some of the common applications of Sukuk are as well as the safety of Islamic bonds compared to conventional ones. Despite the advantages, there are certain challenges of Sukuk, which he also elucidates, concluding with Sukuk-related recent activity and updates in the region as well as globally. Advert-ZawyaIslamic-Jan14-175x110-LonelyPlanetfinal.pdf



4:08 PM


Serving Islamic Finance and Shariah-sensitive Investors For more information about Zawya Islamic and to request a free trial, please contact our membership services team or visit us online. +971 4 4536768 © 2013 Thomson Reuters. 9568510 09/13 and the Kinesis logo are trademarks of Thomson Reuters




Qatar’s growth story rides on the success of SMEs like Mackeen Technology. Salman Kaldari, CEO, speaks to Jenny Kassis about the company’s quick progress and preparation for the FIFA World Cup 2022. Please tell us about Mackeen Technology. Mackeen Technology was incorporated as a complete solution provider and system integrator in 2010. Since then, we have become one of the fastest growing technology companies in Qatar. In a short span of time, we have garnered broad experience of not just the Qatari technology sector but also the regional market. Mackeen stocks the latest technology products so its clients can be offered advanced solutions.

Salman Kaldari, CEO, Mackeen Technology, is a technology industry expert, with extensive experience in information technology trends and concepts. Having worked in the technology field in Dubai and Qatar, he possesses local market knowledge. He graduated from Qatar University with a major in IT.

What are the solutions and services that you are providing to the Qatari market? Our core activities cover IT infrastructure, such as Networks, IP Telephony and Contact Centre Services, System Integration and Physical Security. We also offer IT services such as archiving of documents, ATM monitoring and management, Business Channel Development, Outsourcing and Data and Application Hosting. Do you provide any specific solutions to the SME sector? Yes, we have come up with corporate business solutions targeting Qatar’s SMEs. Recently, Mackeen Technology formed a strategic alliance with Vodafone Qatar to execute these solutions. An estimated 98% of companies in Qatar are classified as SMEs, making the sector an important market for auxiliary industries such as telecommunications. We heard that Mackeen has recently launched specialised solutions for ATMs. Please tell us about the importance of these amenities for the banking sector in Qatar. For Qatari banks, finding the right ATM solutions provider has become critical given the rapid growth of the sector and close competition among industry players. Banks are evaluating the quality of ancillary segments like ATMs, which are considered indispensable to modern day banking.


Following standards set by Qatar Central Bank, Mackeen Technology has developed specialised solutions to help banks capitalise on their ATM services. This distinguishes us from competition and allows the company to develop this critical component of customer experience. In response to the growing demand for advanced ATM support within the Qatari banking sector, we offer 24X7 ATM Monitoring, inclusive of Incident Management, On-Call and Proactive Maintenance, System Supplies and Control Centre Functions, among other services. In other words, a team of Mackeen experts will always be available to take care of all technical aspects of ATMs, from software to screen care. The scope of work can even extend to surrounding ATM elements such as lighting and cooling. Every company faces challenges and difficulties during its journey. What are some of the challenges Mackeen has faced? A growing market, dynamic business environment and an increasing requirement for cutting-edge technologies are some of the challenges we have faced. However, having Mackeen Holding as a parent company has helped greatly. Strategic alliances with leading technology players further enables us to deliver cost-effective solutions. Since you are currently operating in various countries, please tell us how Qatar differs from other markets? Mackeen Technology is headquartered in Qatar and we consider this one of our key strengths. Regional operations are impacted by several factors such as openness to a new business, which Dubai does, or the size of the market, where Saudi Arabia has a big advantage. Qatar offers the best of both worlds as it is a flexible market and is receptive to mega projects because of its investment-driven vision. What is the company’s marketing strategy to expand and diversify the company? The aim is to translate our success to the regional arena. Through our MENA channels, we have steadily built a reputation for delivering high-quality and profitable technology solutions that support long-term growth. Given the competition in the regional markets, we intend to ensure complete customer satisfaction. Would you like to share business advice with SMEs and start-ups in Qatar? An estimated 98% of companies in Qatar are classified as SMEs. There are a host of opportunities for SMEs across non-oil sectors in Qatar such as the retail industry, which is one of the fastest growing. With increasing Internet penetration, group-buying websites have also found favour among GCC consumers.

The greatest challenge is to get expert advice on feasibility so that businesses can devise a successful plan. There are many factors that start ups and SMEs need to consider when doing this. Here are some tips: Keep audited reports It is best to audit your financials from the beginning. Even though you may not have an immediate requirement to source external funding, the discipline protects a business and comes in handy in case a funding requirement arises. Listen to the customers Always listen to what your customers say. Spot customer trends and market changes and be quick to act on them. Otherwise, your customers may look elsewhere. Keep an eye on the market Be aware of change. To achieve success in business, you must be able to adapt your goods and services to different market requirements. Get connected Maintain and build your professional network. Join business councils, attend industry events or connect with professional groups and the media. Seize the opportunity It is important that you demonstrate a willingness to “fit in” while remaining confident to seize an opportunity. Take bold decisions – they can reap rewards. What are your future plans? Our short-term strategy is to strengthen our position in Qatar by distinguishing ourselves from other companies to win more projects. Our long-term goal is to expand within the Middle East. Currently, Mackeen Technology conducts all its operations from Qatar to service the local and regional market. To start with, we have opened branches in Saudi Arabia and Sudan. Given that the FIFA World Cup 2022 is less than a decade away, how are you preparing for this event? Mackeen Technology is involved in several projects with hotels, banks and healthcare institutions that will be involved with FIFA World Cup 2022 . Many of our specialties such as CCTV solutions and IP Telephony will play key roles during the event and we expect more business to come our way as 2022 draws near. Face Recognition Technology is attracting great interest in the region and as a leading developer of security solutions we are looking at ways to utilise this for the football event. We also have an excellent data disaster recovery team that offers response options in case of an accident.

February 2014



Best foot forward Starting a business is the hardest part and usually the stage at which most people fail. Seema Amin, a business professional, discusses how to get the first steps right towards becoming an entrepreneur.

Seema Amin, a business professional, is currently based in Vancouver, Canada. She spent more than 15 years in the Middle East working in the areas of business development, brand management and communications and has experience in setting up new businesses. She can be contacted at



he dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “A person who sets up a business, taking on financial risk in the hope of profit.� Profit is the heart of every business. However, it cannot be the soul. Being an entrepreneur in its true spirit is the quest of seeking a fuller expression of yourself. It is this quest and passion which makes a business successful. When are you ready? There is no specific indicator of what will make you chase the dream of starting your own business or the distance you are willing to go to achieve this. Setting short and long-term business goals can make this understanding clearer. However if the nagging feeling of being stuck at work is more painful than the fear of growth and change, it may be your call towards finding freedom through entrepreneurship.

Don’t mistake freedom for any less work though. Starting your own business actually means more work for less money. Unlike in a corporate job, you will find yourself playing various roles, especially in the early stages of the business. You will also have fewer resources, more restrictions and therefore more challenges. But this is when you will have to keep your passion alive that will enable you to convert the challenges into creative opportunities. If you are an aspiring entrepreneur, you may want to engage with this five minute practical exercise. The idea is to be able to answer three key questions about your business idea, which can indicate how ready you are to start a business. 1. What is my business idea? 2. Where and when will I launch this business idea? 3. Who will launch this business idea?

Drawing a diagram like the one given below can help you answer these questions and set up a basic framework towards becoming an entrepreneur. AM I READY TO START MY OWN BUSINESS?

The Mentor


Name Role




The Financer Name Role


Back Up Person Resource Added support

Name Role


The captain


The Critic


Present your business idea to someone who has the skills to assess it. This will be particularly important if you are hoping to obtain finance for your business. A good business plan should help someone quickly understand your business, assure them that your ideas are well developed and that the business is viable. Updating your business plan periodically will also help keep track of which needs to focus on and where changes are necessary. While a comprehensive business plan is imperative when starting a business, it can also be an indicator of the right time to exit from a business.

Support Source

Answer This At The End - What - Where and When - Who - Reason – Why - Time Frame – When - Evidence – How

Identify the key strengths in your business idea, so you can build on these but also highlight important aspects where you might need more help or advice. This will help ensure that the business goals are watertight.

The Advisor Name Role

Men and women entrepreneurs While I don’t want to stereotype entrepreneurs based on gender, experience and statistics show that men and women have unique styles which may arise based on their role in society. For example, men are more likely to set up a business as a primary source of income, whereas for women it may be a source of additional income. Women also tend to become entrepreneurs at a later stage in life. Women are known to multi task, while studies indicate that men are more resourceful both in terms of finances and physical contribution to a business, which helps make it profitable and sustainable. The business plan Despite what the reasons may be for considering entrepreneurship, once you decide to become an entrepreneur, you will suddenly be faced with endless opportunities. These opportunities don’t automatically lead to success. The most important tool that can help you make the most of these opportunities is the drafting of a solid business plan. A good business plan will also help with providing clarity to your thoughts and vision. It will help you think through the ideas and how you want to implement them.

Beyond the business plan Check the progress of your business once it is begins operations. If things aren’t going as expected, there should be a system in place to identify the problems and deal with the issues quickly. You will also need to keep an eye on the following to make sure the business is headed in the right direction. ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■ ■■

Vision Product and USP Competitors Customer Marketing Key people in the business Suppliers

Money matters Finance is a key aspect of the business plan. You will need to formulate a cash flow forecast and annual profit and loss forecast. This is often a complex challenge. However, if adequate funds are not arranged at the right time, the business may die an untimely death. This is even more critical if the business is seasonal, has a system of long-term credit receipt or cash payment at the core of its functions. Periodic profit and loss evaluation and realistic cash flow forecasts are reliable indicators of how your business is running and how successful you will be. There will always be reasons for your business to work and reasons why it won’t. Being an entrepreneur means to focus on the reasons why your business will work and believe in it until it does.

February 2014



Understanding the economic landscape Entreprenuship is needed to lift the world out of the current recession by creating more jobs and new ideas. Prof. Marios I. Katsioloudes, Professor of Management, Qatar University, talks about the next step.


t is evident, now more than ever before, that entrepreneurship plays a significant role in economic advancement, productivity, innovation and employment rate. Due to the current world economic crisis, entrepreneurship has drawn even more attention as it is has come to be considered as a main facet of economic activity. Many countries around the globe, including the State of Qatar, have recognised the importance and priority of entrepreneurship in their policies. Entrepreneurship is now the back bone of an economy. Fu r t h e r m o re , p o l i cy m a ke r s c o n s i d e r t h a t entrepreneurship combined with innovation might facilitate sustained economic growth. Both entrepreneurship and innovation are believed to bring about “something new� and hence proper policies will foster and boost economic activity. The dynamic process of the establishment of new entities introduces and spreads innovative products, processes and organisational structures through the economy. Some of the major benefits of entrepreneurship are: 1. Provision of the extensive employment possibilities 2. Contribution towards research and development activities


3. Wealth creation on the individual and country level 4. Opportunity for financial and personal growth 5. A source of self-sufficiency and self-satisfaction For many years, entrepreneurship and the creation of an entrepreneurial culture in economic and social development has been neglected and underestimated. Only recently has it become apparent that entrepreneurship contributes to economic growth.

Table 1: Qatari private sector structure in 2006 Number of companies <10 workers

10+ workers


Number of workers <10 workers

10+ workers









Restaurants & Hotels




























Finance & Business Services
















Source: Benchmarking SME Policies in the GCC: a survey of challenges and opportunities


Professor Marios I. Katsioloudes, Professor of Management, Qatar University, holds a PhD in Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in Strategy and International Business. He teaches strategic management, international business and entrepreneurship courses at the undergraduate and MBA levels. His research focusses on the strategic planning process in the forprofit and non-profit sectors, SMEs, entrepreneurship, as well as on the management of change and innovation. Previously, he has worked for the Cyprus Development Bank and the World Bank. He can be contacted at

Supporting new business ventures in the Qatari economy will create wealth and future prosperity. Entrepreneurs will promote development in all branches of industry and therefore encourage the growth and stability of Qatar’s national economy. Without entrepreneurship the country’s economy will lack: ■■ Innovation (research, development, new inventions and products) ■■ Employment (entrepreneurs create jobs whenever they establish new companies) ■■ Profits (entrepreneurs add value to the national economy by trading products and services)

Compared to its neighbouring countries, Qatari microenterprises seem somewhat less diversified. About 55% of them are active in trade. Industry amounts to about 16%, while restaurants and hotels have a share of about 13%.

The private sector in Qatar must build a powerful mechanism for economic growth, wealth creation and improvement of the quality, amount and diversity of employment opportunities. This phenomenon is found in many newly emerging and developing countries. From an economic point of view, entrepreneurship revitalises and strengthens markets. Establishing new firms will have many positive effects on the economy.

In terms of the composition of employment within sectors by nationality, figures show that non-Qatari employment constitutes 99.3% of the labour force in the private sector. Qataris comprise 44% of the labour force in government entities. In general, the distribution of Qatari labour force by sectors in 2011 shows that 86% of Qataris work for government departments (66.1% males), while the mixed sector, government corporations and companies, is formed by 73.4% Qatari males. Finally the private sector counts 62.9% Qatari males.

To increase the faith in entrepreneurship in Qatar, some facts need to be introduced so that the future of entrepreneurship in Qatar is based on a solid and realistic framework. The reality Statistics on the activities of the Qatari private sector are broken down by size of company for some sectors, with the distinction made between businesses that hire less than 10 employees or not. What is seen is that a majority of small companies constitute approximately 75% of total commercial registrations. However, their contribution to job creation is more modest. In sectors where data is available to differentiate firms by size, it is observed that companies with less than 10 employees contribute less than one fifth of overall employment. Yet it should be noted that these are the sectors where small companies hold the strongest presence.

Table 2: Youth Unemployment Rates (ages 15-24) in MENA

Demographics in the workforce Additional statistics on the Qatari labour force reveal that the private sector accounts for 74.9%. Other sectors of the economy, such as government corporations and companies as well as the mixed sector form 11.5% and 3.1% of the labour force respectively.

Role of the private sector Overall the private sector in Qatar represents a great opportunity for the further nurturing and development of the country’s entrepreneurial initiatives. This is how Qatar compares to the rest of the countries in the MENA region. ■■ Youth unemployment rates in the MENA region are by far the highest in the world, estimated at 27% in 2011, according to the International Labour Organisation in 2012. These rates in all MENA countries are higher than the world average of 13%, with the exception of Qatar that has 11% youth unemployment. This situation has persisted for more than two decades because of: ■■ Institutional rigidities ■■ Weak education systems that fail to provide adequate skills ■■ A demographic “youth bulge” that has increased supply pressures. Unemployment rates are low in Qatar because the country has been able to absorb youth into public sector jobs. In 2010, 87% of young employed Qataris worked for the public sector.

* Estimates for young nationals. Sources: KILM (2012); ILO (2012); National Statistical Agencies

Entrepreneurship in MENA In 2010, only 2.8% of the employed Qatari population was listed as an employer or self-employed, according to the Population Census. In comparison, in 2010, only 0.2% of the employed non-Qatari population was an employer or self-employed as a main status.

February 2014



Research shows that: ■■ Qatari men are more likely than women to be entrepreneurs. ■■ Qatari youth aged between 15-34 years are less likely than adults to entrepreneurs. ■■ Entrepreneurs are university graduates as well as non-graduates. ■■ Non-Qatari university graduates are only slightly higher (0.3%) than non-graduates. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey, early-stage entrepreneurial activity rates among MENA youth, aged between 18-29 years, is 11%, higher than the world average at 10%. MENA economies have low entrepreneurial activity rates for countries at their level of development, according to International Development Research Centre in 2011. However, entrepreneurial activity among young men in MENA is 2.4 times higher compared to young women and 1.6 times higher than the worldwide average. Most young entrepreneurs in the MENA region are driven by opportunity. Those engaged in necessity-driven entrepreneurship range from 39% in Palestine to just 9% in Saudi Arabia. There is no GEM data for Qatar, however, a GEM National Team for Qatar has been formed in collaboration with Silatech and Qatar University. Other than entrepreneurship These statistics cover the main employment status of the Qatari population. However, many employed Qataris own businesses on the side: ■■ In 2007, 33% of monthly income for Qatari households came from businesses and free enterprises, as compared to about 20% in 2001, according to Qatar Social Trends, 1998-2010. ■■ In 2007, only 3.5% on average monthly income for non-Qatari households came from businesses and free enterprises. ■■ The emphasis here is on “owning” a business, not running one. Only 2% of Qatari entrepreneurs actively manage and invest in their own businesses, according to Third Human Development Report, 2012. So what does the future hold for the youth of Qatar when it comes to entrepreneurship? The questions that need to be asked are – ■■ Does the country have the infrastructure for entrepreneurs to start a business and sustain it? ■■ Are entrepreneurs aware of resources? ■■ Are these resources available to them? ■■ Is there a culture of entrepreneurship in place? ■■ Are Qataris willing to take the risk that is necessary to become entrepreneurs? ■■ Is there sufficient research on entrepreneurship?


Table 3: Youth Early-Stage Entrepreneurial Activity for 2009

Source: Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2011). Estimates for Yemen were dropped because of concerns about data validity

Based on my experience, knowledge, and exposure to students of entrepreneurship primarily at Qatar University, I am inclined to say that there is a future, and indeed a bright one. However, this is dependent on organisations like Qatar Development Bank, Silatech, Bedaya Centre, Enterprise Qatar, Roudha Centre and other entrepreneurship centres that are part of universities, to become closely involved in creating a culture of entrepreneurship. This means establishing a framework of thinking like an entrepreneur and implementing strategies towards building sustainable start ups. These entities need to collaborate their efforts towards building a system that supports young people and others to take the initiative of starting their own businesses. This will minimise dependence on the public sector for employment. Many activities have been initiated by these entrepreneurial bodies, such as simulation games, coaching, mentoring, training, consulting and the undertaking of national business plan competitions. These have been successfully implemented but more has to be done towards the establishment of stronger ties and partnership of these agencies, so that potential entrepreneurs are provided with the best services and opportunities. Finally, research in entrepreneurship is necessary, in issues such as the differences between female and male entrepreneurs in terms of their approach in starting a business as well as what types of businesses they start. In other words, research is needed in a more systematic manner, while considering challenges, motivations and obstacles that future entrepreneurs might face in Qatar.

24-25 F ebr uar y 2014

at Qatar University

Fostering the New Generation of Entrepreneurs in Qatar and the Gulf

Under the Patronage of

H.E. Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al Sada, Minister of Energy & Industry – Qatar



Younginnovation Social Leading

• • • • • •



Culture angeltechnological example

future financinginvestors programs educational entrepreneurial

young vehicle innovators needs

development training Arab

Role and importance of government policy and education in fostering entrepreneurship Role of education in creating an entrepreneurial culture Qualities and makings of an entrepreneur Common mistakes and hurdles generally faced by startups and SMEs Financing of entrepreneurs Practical advice, alongside financing possibilities



T: +974 44877442 / 44881525 F: +974 44873196 Doha - Qatar P.O. Box 96494

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Sector study

Reducing the amount of waste we generate and recycling are the most effective ways to keep trash from going out of control. Joseph Mathew, Director, Dulsco-Qatar, speaks to Ayesha Aleem about how other companies can adopt these sensible measures too.

Joseph Mathew is Director, Dulsco – Qatar. Previously, he has worked with Asian Paints, India. He has also been Manager, Trading and Contracting Division, Teejan Trading Co., Oman and Resident Manager, Berger International Ltd., Qatar.


Why does Dulsco engage in waste management, not just as part of Corporate Social Responsibility but as a full service and one that is markedly different from human resource management, the other main focus of the company’s operations. Dulsco has always had two core businesses – Human Resource Solutions and Waste Management Services. Dulsco Qatar has followed the same mode of operations. Contributing positively to the environment is one of Dulsco’s core corporate values which it implements by providing solutions in the waste management services space and focussing on recycling through our “Recycle to Regain” campaign.

changing customer demands need to be taken into account. But with Qatar’s growing focus on sustainability, working in this space will definitely give companies a chance to make a meaningful contribution towards the vision of the nation.

What is your advice to companies who want to enter this space? While waste management is an exciting industry to be in, it comes with its own set of challenges. Companies that want to enter this space should do the necessary research as there are many variable factors impacting the business. Apart from government regulations, economic factors like fuel costs, capital costs, equipment maintenance and

The next step is reusing wherever possible. Our campaign aims to improve recycling practices among Dulsco employees as well. Apart from conducting regular training sessions and awareness programmes, we implement the following initiatives:

What is your advice to corporates which wish to better manage their waste and curtail waste generation? The three magic words to live by are “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.” The first step is reducing consumption through constant monitoring which can be done through a simple step such as reducing how much paper is printed out, for example.

■■ All employees are provided with blue paper boxes on their desk for collecting single side printed sheets. Every evening the

housekeeping staff ensures that these sheets are put back into the printer trays. Through this initiative we have been able to reduce the consumption of paper. It also acts as a constant reminder to recycle paper. ■■ Every Thursday, employees are encouraged to bring dry mixed recyclables like paper, cans, plastics and glass from their homes. These are collected by the housekeeping staff or employees drop them in designated bins placed on the office premises. Every month the collection is tracked and employees who contribute the maximum recyclables are rewarded. ■■ Finally, recycling bins are placed at various locations in the office, such as the pantry and dining area. This ensures that all recyclable waste is collected separately. The third and most important aspect is to recycle. Dulsco’s flagship CSR campaign called “Recycle to Regain” aims to promote segregation at the source of waste to ensure that recyclables such as paper, plastics, cans and bottles do not reach the landfill. In 2014, Dulsco Qatar is planning an extensive campaign with schools and corporates to promote recycling through no-cost initiatives like awareness programmes, providing bins, collection of recyclables and reporting about the progress of the efforts. What have been the biggest observations in this space? Around the world, sustainability has become a key priority and governments are working harder and spending more to keep cities clean and worksites less polluted. Conscious efforts by corporations and individuals can support waste management focussed companies in collecting and recycling waste. The objective should be that no waste is termed as non-reusable and thus end up in a landfill. This is an achievable target provided we educate and involve the community to be committed to the goal and contribute actively. Please give us details of the kinds of waste management services Dulsco offers and how these are implemented? With an extensive fleet of vehicles designed to suit different requirements, we are specialists in the collection, transportation and disposal of any kind of waste. Our portfolio of waste management services include: ■■ Hazardous and non-hazardous solid and liquid waste collection and disposal services ■■ Recycling services ■■ Waste handling equipment and fabrication ■■ Tank cleaning services ■■ Other allied services We start with a waste audit for all major projects to understand and define the scope of operations. We s t re a m l i n e t h e wa s t e fl ow a n d ex p l o re

opportunities to divert recyclables to ensure that they do not reach the landfill. Which is the largest market for these services and why? We service a diverse market segment including malls, communities and construction sites. Construction and demolition waste is one of the largest segments of waste that Dulsco handles. We expect larger volumes in this category given the increase in construction activity in the region. In 2013, Dulsco launched a recycling campaign in Qatar-based companies and schools as part of Dulsco’s CSR policy. Can you please talk a little about this? Dulsco launched the school recycling campaign as part of its “Recycle to Regain” programme. We partnered with two schools in Qatar – MES Indian School and Birla Public School. Leading up to World Environment Day held on 5 th June 2013, students from these schools collected more than 4.5 tonnes of recyclable materials. In addition, through interactive events such as workshops and awareness programmes, the students also learned about segregating recyclable materials at source and how to avoid contamination. The amount of recyclable material collected by the students was equivalent of saving: ■■ 76 trees ■■ 86.6 barrels of oil ■■ 31251.5 gallons of water ■■ About 120 kg of air pollution prevented from being released ■■ 24.6 cubic yards of landfill space ■■ 23,208 KW of electricity. This is enough to power an average home for 795 days. ■■ 83.22 million BTU of energy The materials collected during the campaign were taken by Dulsco to authorised recycling facilities where they were recycled into useful environmentfriendly products. How has Qatar responded to this programme? The response from the two schools was very encouraging with more than 16,0 0 0 children participating in the programme. Describing the campaign as a resounding success, Sasidharan AP, Principal of MES Public School, Doha, said, “The Recycle to Regain campaign gives children the opportunity to learn and experience environment protection first hand. We want the younger generation to grow up with a real love of the environment and hope that the drive will play a useful part in that process.” We are planning to expand this programme to other schools and corporates in 2014.

January 2014


Business advice

Getting the basics right

Starting a business is tough but with a little guidance, it can be enjoyable and rewarding. Rami Taher, an independent business consultant, goes in to the details of building a company and navigating the market place with Ayesha Aleem. According to you, what is the best way to conduct market research? The simplest way to do market research is to go out and actually speak to your clients or potential clients. This applies to any business. You have to find out what is important to your customer, what their preferences are, how they define the product or service that you are offering and what are the necessary elements that constitute it. You might be surprised that what is important to you is different from what is important to your client.

W h e n c a r s we re fi r s t i nve n te d , t h e re we re no other car manufacturers. In this case, the competition was trains, horse carriages and other means of transportation.

It’s also important to always look at who your competition is. Competition is an indicator of the health of an industry it terms of which companies are opening and growing. Entrepreneurs often make the mistake of saying that, “My product is new. I have no competition.” That’s not true because there is always competition. And if the competition really doesn’t exist, you have to ask why that is. In other words, is the idea really that good? Being the first may actually hurt you more than help. That said, many business are started because of a lack of a product or service in the market.

What would be your advice on developing a marketing strategy? Always start with the end in mind. You need to think from a customer’s point of view, understand their needs clearly and build from there. This understanding will affect the branding, distribution, pricing, communication and other aspects of a marketing strategy.

If there isn’t any direct competition, there is always indirect competition as product substitutes.


Look at Apple, for example. They had to create a market for tablets. That market didn’t exist earlier. Developing a new market is an expensive, timeconsuming process. But when Android entered the market, people were already familiar with a similar device and so it was able to establish itself.

The goal must be to create value and make sure that your clients see it. For this, you need sound knowledge of tthe target market and the kind of distribution channels that are most appropriate. Define your target market and tailor the product or service for

them. You can’t create a product for a generic market. You also can’t compete with Microsoft, for example. There’s no point in trying because big companies have more resources. Find a niche instead and focus on that. Find a gap in the market and fulfill that need.

Rami Taher is an independent business consultant who helps entrepreneurs and small business owners start and grow their business. He has 15 years of marketing and management experience working with brands like General Motors, Microsoft and HSBC. Previously, he was Marketing Director, Lamborghini. He can be contacted at

When building a brand, what should the owner pay attention to? It is important to make sure that your brand is consistent and is speaking to the target market. If you try to be everything for everybody, you won’t be anything for anybody. For this, all employees of an organisation need to clearly understand the idea behind a brand and the business plan so that everyone is working towards the same goals. The communication of a brand also needs to be clear and concise. Most importantly, it needs to be simple. Through a brand, people should be able to know what you are about and what the business ideals are. Have you ever gone to a company’s website and read the “About Us” page and still not understood what they do? Therefore, how will potential clients contact you if they don’t understand what you offer? What service are you most consulted for? What do you attribute this to? Most clients, more than 90%, come to me with just a business idea and want to develop a business plan. They want to build a brand. If you have different products under one brand, each needs its own strategy. A g r ow i n g e n t r e p r e n e u r s h i p c u l t u r e a n d emergence of free zones with relaxed legal requirements means that more people, particularly expats, are keen to set up businesses here. Government financial support through funds, loans

Have you ever gone to a company’s website and read the "About Us" page and still not understood what they do? How will a potential client contact you if they don’t understand what you offer?

and grants are also available to locals. More people are inspired to start their own business because they are inspired by success stories. Earlier, if you said you were an entrepreneur, people would think that you couldn’t get a job. We grew up in a society that wanted us to be lawyers, doctors and engineers. But this is changing now as there is no longer a social stigma attached to the term “entrepreneur.” However, the region is still not very friendly to SMEs in many ways. It needs to improve in terms of bureaucracy and added costs. A business license in the UK for example, costs about GBP 100. But here, it’s nearly AED 10,000. Can you please explain the process of helping a client build their business strategy. Why is it important to plan a business strategy? A business strategy helps the company understand itself as well as the market. It helps define long-term business objectives as well as set up a timeline to accomplish them along with a system to check progress. Business goals need to be SMART–specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. It is important to create a roadmap to determine where you are now and where you want your business to be. There are two kinds of business strateg y – differentiation and cost. A common mistake that many small companies make is to adopt a cost strategy where they try to compete with larger companies through lower prices. This can be suicide for a business. The cost per unit for a large company that produces cars, for example, will be lower than that for a small company. Short term gains may be possible but this method won’t work in the long run. In a differentiation strategy, find out what you can do better than everyone else. If you can’t produce the best cars, maybe you can produce the best tyres. And if you can’t produce the best tyres, maybe you can supply the best rubber. Find a niche and become known for it. If you’re having difficulty identifying this, narrow your search further. What are the factors to keep in mind when growing a business? Start with a clear focus of what you are trying to accomplish through your business. You need to have a “value proposition” – something that makes you different from everyone else, either by being faster, better or cheaper. Next, understand your costs and how to arrange the necessary funding. Most start ups fail because of poor financial planning.

february 2014


Business advice Finally, decide what size you want the business to be and what level of control you would like to have. Many venture capitalists and investors will only give you funding in exchange for equity or ownership and control. The larger you want the business to be, the more money you will need. The more money you take, the less control you will have. Build a strong team around you where members c o m p l e m e n t e a ch o t h e r. I d e n t i f y yo u r ow n weaknesses and build a team that fills those gaps, thus adding value and bringing in different perspectives. You won’t add value to your business if you have a team that is either a clone of yourself or each other. Everyone needs to be good at something different and specific. What are some of the mistakes you see entrepreneurs and business owners making? Like I mentioned, poor financial planning is a big reason. It doesn’t matter if you’re expecting a huge payment in the future if you have expenses to meet now. You need to make sure that you have enough liquid cash at all times. But it’s also important to know how to spend the money that you have. You will need money to sustain a business for the first year of operations. The paradox is, you can be profitable on paper and still go out of business if you run out of money to pay your bills. Or you could be losing money and still sustain the enterprise. This is because many businesses operate on credit. Many first time business people are too optimistic. All entrepreneurs thinks that their product is the best and sometimes this could lead to their downfall. They need to have realistic expectations and be conservative in their forecast of how the product will perform in the market. Hope for the best but plan for the worst. Another mistake is that many people test their business ideas with friends and family rather than potential clients. While some of the views they offer may be valid, the only opinion that matters is that of your clients. It’s important to talk to the right people to get the opinions that you need to listen to. For instance, if you want to sell maternity wear, talk to women who have had children or are expecting kids soon, not women who have never had children. What would you say are some of the essential personal or social skills that a person must have to be a successful entrepreneur? Can these skills be taught? Entrepreneurs need to possess leadership skills. They must be able to inspire people to follow their vision. They also need to be excellent communicators. Many entrepreneurs have a


Start with a clear focus of what you are trying to accomplish through your business. You need to have a “value proposition” – something that makes you different from everyone else, either by being faster, better or cheaper. problem with delegation, either because they lack the skills or lack trust in others because they think they can always do the job better. Entrepreneurs need to understand the elements of business functions, such as marketing, human resources, accounting, distribution and branding. They don’t need to be experts but they need to know enough about each aspect and surround themselves with experts. If you don’t know enough about a process, how will you be able to judge whether a person is doing a good job or not? These skills can be taught but you have to invest in educating yourself. Some people are born better at certain skills than others. But even if natural talent isn’t developed, you won’t go far. What are some of your observations about the business community in this region? Small businesses are somewhat neglected in this region and don’t get enough attention even from other small businesses. Everyone wants to go after big clients. I hope this changes. For example, banking services for this sector are very underdeveloped. Small business with no assets or financial backing won’t find much support from a bank. What are the top tips for an entrepreneur or small business owner setting up operations in this region? The key criteria to assess a business idea is to ask two fundamental questions. Are there people that will buy the product or service I am offering? If yes, are there enough clients to sustain the business in the long term? Knowing when to quit is also a skill because sometimes going further might drown you in more debt. Most businesses take time to make money. But you need to know when to stop. Failure is a learning that will help with your next venture. Some of the most successful entrepreneurs failed at their first few attempts. Ultimately, start a business that you are passionate about. It’s not easy to start a business. But it won’t feel like hard work if you’re having fun.

At Enterprise Qatar, we are offering Qatari entrepreneurs and SMEs a modern office, located in West Bay, completely free of charge. You will have access to free Wi-Fi and meeting rooms so you can focus on your business idea. - This offer does not include company registration - The number of offices is limited and their use is subject to a timing schedule

To apply, call 4012 5000. For information on EQ mentorship and advisory services, please visit

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Tweet speak Apart from start ups and young companies, even the bigwigs are realising the simple but powerful solutions that lie in tweets and status updates. Fida Kibbi, Head, External Communications, Middle East and Africa, Ericsson, tells Ayesha Aleem about the company’s social media strategy and how it is driving their communications.

What are the core elements of your social media strategy? Our social media strategy was only launched about a year ago so it’s still very new. We brainstorm about how to make the content attractive, particularly for young people. For us, the element of success has been to use social media to promote events and provide updates about them. We also need to focus on the company or the customer, for which we tweak the content, depending on which platform we publish on. Content is king, or the most important aspect of a social media presence. The oil of our social media strategy is a long-term vision that we call “The Networked Society,” that focusses on the impact that technology will have on how people live and how businesses will evolve We released this three years ago since we believe that by 2020, there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. That is, “anything that can benefit from a connection, will be connected.”


For instance, what are you more likely to buy – a camera that can be connected to the Internet or one that cannot? So everything from our televisions to our cars will be able to connect to the Internet. This will involve not just people talking to these things but things talking to other things. For example, someone driving their car home will alert the air conditioner to switch on as they approach. Or someone else carrying their cell phone and approaching the front door will alert it to unlock. We believe this is the future and the vision helps us generate stories. Who is your target audience? Our social media updates are meant for the public. But we tend to have a special focus on our customers and operators. So specifically, the content is aimed at people interested in technology as well companies that we work with, like Etisalat and DU, for example.

Apart from Facebook, do you use other social media platforms? If yes, what are the specific benefits of each platform? We have a Facebook page, Twitter page and a Youtube channel. We aim to start our LinkedIn page soon.

Fida Kibbi, Head, External Communications, Middle East and Africa, Ericsson, is responsible to lead, drive and manage all external communications strategy and plans. Her role includes public and media relations, crisis communications, CEO and Executive communications, thought leadership positioning and is also responsible for social media strategy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Communications from the Lebanese American University. She can be contacted at

We believe that the source of content can be similar but how you say it on social media is completely different from traditional advertising. Social media allows the potential to create personalised, quick, frequent but consistent updates in the form of bits or sound bytes which can deliver the right message to the right audience. Each of these aspects is important to keep a user interested. Each channel has a different style and method of publishing as well as purpose and impact. On Facebook, for example, it is possible to create very visual, human stories. People can easily engage with content. It allows great potential to trigger people’s interest and create content about technologies that will change the world and impact the future. Twitter allows publishing of information in bits, making statements, sharing news and providing quick updates. We use it to cover events by quoting a speaker, describing the scene to our audience or speaking about the networking taking place at the event. Why is social media marketing important? What advantages does it offer compared to traditional marketing methods? Ericsson as a brand is a B2B company, not a B2C company. So it is more important for us to maintain a strong social media presence to retain brand equity. We need to make sure that the public doesn’t forget Ericsson.

What have some of your marketing strategy elements been in this region specifically? Are there any special points that one needs to keep in mind while marketing in the Middle East? The more you localise the content, the better it is. It allows better engagement. If you want to target Qataris, you have to tell stories and share information about Qatar. If you generalise the content, the reader gets distracted. What has been your experience in Qatar? Any points you would like to highlight? We have been working with operators in Qatar to develop the ICT sector. We have partnerships with Qatar National Broadband Network and ictQATAR for broadband services. And social media will play a big role as the country prepares for FIFA World Cup 2022. Qatar is at a very good turning point. It is living “The Networked Society” where it understands the role of the ICT sector, with all the investments it has been making, in developing an economy. As a global corporation, what advice would you give to SMEs which want to expand operations in this region or Qatar? Don’t bombard people with information. You can make social media fit any business. It is also important to link the channels or to “influence the influencers.” I tell journalists what I do on social media. We advertise our channels at events. You have to tell people and agencies about a company’s activities who can help promote the brand. To develop good content, teasers are a good tool. Human interest stories do very well and funny stories are popular. People like to be entertained. Content can be related to what the latest buzz in town is about. In Qatar, it could be the FIFA World Cup 2022, for example. If you have the right content, it will promote itself.

Social media is a new channel that has a wide reach. It is one of the strongest channels of communication. We are lucky to live in an age when this exists. How else would we be able to engage and communicate with our customers on a daily basis? The reach of social media compared to traditional advertising is incomparable.

Social media is a very important marketing tool. It is the future. Ten years from today, it will be the main marketing tool. It is like a billboard. But you have to pay a huge amount for a billboard. With social media, you pay very little or nothing and can achieve the same. You can even track usage and other analytics and can focus the content according to the segment you want to reach, like age or gender.

But everything depends on content. You need to take the rules that apply to traditional marketing and adapt it to social media. If there is beautiful content, people will know about it. And this should be supported with traditional marketing. Organisations with poor content will fade away.

How do you plan to develop the social media strategy? We’re dealing with what we call “small stars” and “big stars.” Small stars are our products and company news. The big stars are stories that trigger interest and drive traffic towards our products and business. This is how we plan to approach our social media strategy.

February 2014



For foreign and Qatari investors doing business in Qatar, it is important to understand the impact of the Trade Concealment Law and to ensure that all business structure complies not only with Qatar’s foreign investment and company laws but also with this law. Brenda Hill, Senior Legal Consultant, DLA Piper, explains the details.


he Trade Concealment Law came into force in July 2004. The aim of this law is to eradicate so-called proxy businesses operating in Qatar. Failing to comply with the Trade Concealment Law could result in criminal sanctions of imprisonment not exceeding one year or fines or both. The Trade Concealment Law applies to foreign and Qatari business investors in Qatar. The main objective of the Law is: ■■ To prevent a non-Qatari from practicing any prohibited commercial, economic, or professional activity ■■ To prevent Qatari individuals and companies from colluding with a non-Qatari, thus enabling the unauthorised foreign person/company to circumvent the law and/or practice a prohibited commercial, economic, or professional activity by using the name, license, or commercial registration of the Qatari party In accordance with Qatar’s foreign investment laws, the general rule for operating a business and incorporating a limited liability company in Qatar is that any company registered in Qatar must be at least 51% Qatari owned. There are limited exceptions to this rule and there is a 1% dispensation for GCC nationals in that a GCC national can own up to 50% shares in a company. Some loopholes In the past, some foreign investors and their Qatari partners have circumvented this requirement by submitting articles of association for a company to the Qatar Ministry of Economy and Commerce that reflect a 51% ownership interest by the Qatari but at the same time entering into side agreements that limit the Qatari partner’s actual ownership interest. These side agreements were common practice and upheld by the courts in Qatar. Since the introduction of the Trade Concealment Law this is no longer the case. Instead, stiff penalties are now imposed on foreign entities operating in Qatar outside of the foreign investment laws and any Qatari assisting the foreigner in this practice. Moreover, a practice has been introduced at the Qatar Ministry of Economy and Commerce to require the Qatari partner to sign a declaration on incorporating a Qatari company, acknowledging that the Qatari partner actually owns 51% of the shares in the company and the structure does not circumvent Qatar’s foreign investment laws.


Prior to 2004, the practice of a non-Qatari running businesses in Qatar under the umbrella or in the name of the Qatari licence holders was common, usually with a structure in place to pay an agreed fee to the Qatari licence holder, thereby avoiding the requirement for the non-Qatari to set up a business in Qatar and pay corporate tax. There are still cases of this happening. Under the Trade Concealment Law, these types of arrangements are not permissible in Qatar. The Trade Concealment Law is widely drafted and does not specifically define what constitutes a violation. This makes the law difficult to interpret and apply in practice. The legislator’s intention may well have been to ensure that the wide drafting makes it difficult to develop schemes or a mechanism to circumvent this law. Breach of law As such, it is difficult to know definitively what constitutes a breach of the law. What constitutes a violation of the law is an ad hoc or subjective test for the courts to decide on the merits of each case, looking at the entire arrangement between the parties. For example, if it can be established based on the facts and documents that: ■■ The foreign partner is the actual owner of the assets, such as the shares, for example. ■■ That they have been registered in the name of Qatari partner for the sole purpose of circumventing the provision in the Qatari law that stipulates the maximum equity allowed by foreign shareholder is 49%, unless one of the exceptions apply, then this would be a violation of this law. Purpose of law The law was introduced to protect Qatari interests. It poses a constant challenge to the minority foreign shareholder because the foreign shareholder has provided the capital for the Qatari partner’s share of 51% through a loan and holds all the expertise as to what agreements could be signed to properly protect the foreign shareholders’ interests. Qatar’s law provides protection for minority shareholders by requiring that certain changes to the company, such as increasing the share capital, amending the company’s memorandum of articles of association or dissolving the company, be approved by a vote of the shares representing three quarters of the capital unless the company’s articles of association stipulates a greater majority.

To protect the minority foreign owner, who often holds the technical and managerial know-how, trademark rights and equipment necessary for the operations of the company, it is necessary to draft and negotiate management agreements, technical assistance agreements, licence and trademark agreements, equipment hire agreements and powers of attorney.

Brenda Hill, Senior Legal Consultant, DLA Piper, is based in the firm’s Doha office. She has a range of commercial legal experience in Asia, the UK and the Middle East including contentious and non-contentious Intellectual Property matters, commercial dispute resolution, and corporate and commercial matters on energy and utilities project finance transactions in Qatar. She can be contacted on

These internal agreements, in addition to requiring a super majority shareholders’ vote for major company events, protect the interests of the minority foreign shareholder. In addition, the articles of association filed with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce can specify the minority shareholder as the manager of the company. Also, where agreed by the shareholding parties, the profits of the Qatar company can be split in proportions different to the shareholding proportions and which reflect the different degrees of participation that the respective shareholders have in the Qatar company’s management and operation. The Companies Department at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, or the company’s law, does not stipulate a minimum skewing of profit that must be agreed and reflected in the articles of association of the company. This means that there is no stipulated restriction on any profit ratio that can be agreed to be in favour of the foreign partner. For example, 85:15% in favour of the foreign partner. However, even if the Ministry of Economy and Commerce accept a skewing of profit in favour of the foreign partner, say 85:15%, 97:3% or 99:1%, in favour of the foreign partner, as the case may be, what is actually permitted would ultimately depend on what a Qatar court would perceive to be in line with the Trade Concealment Law looking at the entire arrangement between the parties. A school of thought exists that if the articles of association are notarised and disclosed to the Ministry of Economy and Commerce with, for example, a heavy 99.1% skewing of profit in favour of the foreign partner there can be no trade concealment and, as such, there can be no violation of the Trade Concealment Law. This may be the case despite which there is still be a risk that a Qatar court could determine, based on the entire arrangement between the parties, that 99:1% skewing of profit is a breach of the Trade Concealment Law. Consequences of breaking the law The reality is that in practice all internal agreements must be carefully drafted to balance the interests of both the Qatari partner and the minority foreign shareholder who provides the funding, know-how and expertise and to be aware that on dissolution of the

company, the Qatari partner cannot be deprived of his 51% ownership in the company within the current parameters of the law. Stiff penalties are imposed on foreign entities operating in Qatar outside of the Trade Concealment Law and any Qatari assisting the foreigner in this practice. A Committee under the Ministry of Economy and Commerce exists to investigate alleged breaches of the Trade Concealment Law and may institute criminal proceedings against alleged violators. The Committee has judicial powers of search and seizure to enter a suspected violators’ business premises. As mentioned, penalties under this law include imprisonment not exceeding one year and fines not less than QAR 20,000 or both. The Committee will investigate all complaints lodged and can refer cases to the Public Prosecutor. The court can order confiscation of any money at the premises where the criminal activity takes place or the money resulting from it, taking into consideration the rights of any innocent third party. Alternatively, the court can order cancellation of the licence and commercial registration, and close any business found to be operating in violation of the Trade Concealment Law for up to one year. Parties found to be involved in the proxy business, Qatari or foreign, shall be jointly liable for all the necessary fees, taxes and other liabilities resulting from the illegal business. The Qatari press has reported a crackdown by the Committee on so-called proxy businesses operating in Qatar and have been very active investigating complaints. Till date, ten such complaints have been referred to the Public Prosecutor for further investigation. There are not many court cases that can give guidance on how a court in Qatar would interpret the Trade Concealment Law and to date there have been no Court of Cassation cases that have been decided on the application of the Trade Concealment Law. To a v o i d t h e r i s k o f b r e a c h i n g t h e Trade Concealment Law and criminal sanctions or closure of a business, it is essential for any foreign or Qatari business operating in Qatar to ensure that their business arrangements are consistent with the Trade Concealment Law. Note: This article is only a general introduction to some legal issues and laws in Qatar. It is not legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. If any reader requires legal advice, this should be obtained from an experienced lawyer who can provide advice which is tailored to the relevant facts and circumstances.

February 2014



Qatar’s Trademark Law Malik Al Kammaz, Country Manager, Saba & Co. Intellectual Property-Qatar, provides us with an overview of Qatar’s Law No. 9 of 2002, pertaining to Trademarks and Trade Names.

Malik Al Kammaz is Shareholder and Country Manager, Saba & Co. Intellectual Property-Qatar. He has more than ten years of extensive experience in trademark registration and prosecution. He is currently pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Law at the University of London. He can be contacted at


An overview In 1995, the Emir of the State of Qatar issued the Emiri Decree No. (24) of 1995 ratifying the accession of Qatar to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Following this, the Qatari government has enacted and revised several intellectual property laws that implement its obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). TRIPS sets minimum standards for many forms of intellectual property regulations as applied to nationals of other WTO Members. The areas of intellectual property that it covers are copyright and related rights (rights of performers, producers of sound recordings and broadcasting organisations), trademarks including service marks, geographical indications including appellations of origin, industrial designs, patents including the protection of new varieties of plants, the

layout designs of integrated circuits and undisclosed information including trade secrets and test data. The Qatari government has enacted the following IP Laws to cover a majority of the areas: ■■ Law No. (7) of 2002 on Copyrights and Related Rights ■■ Law No. (9) of 2002 on Trademarks, Commercial Indications, Trade Names, Geographical Indications, Industrial Models and Designs ■■ Customs Law No. (40) of 2002 ■■ Trade Secrets Law No. (5) of 2005 ■■ Integrated Circuits Law No. (6) of 2005 ■■ Patents Law No. (30) of 2006 ■■ Emiri Decree No. (53) of 2009 on the Establishment of the Intellectual Property Protection Centre ■■ Law No. (17) of 2011 on the Border Measures for the Protection of Intellectual Property Rights

Structure The Trademarks Law came into effect on 15th June 2002. It embraces the following chapters: 1. General Provisions (Articles 1-5) – This chapter contains the definitions of the main terms of the Law and the recognition by the State of Qatar of its obligations under the international conventions and agreements which Qatar is a member of. It also briefly states the main responsibilities of the Trademarks Office. 2. Protected Trademarks (Articles 6-8) – This lists the trademarks that may not be registered and clarifies what constitutes a distinctive trademark. 3. Registration Procedures (Articles 9-17) – This clearly cites that applications must be prepared on paper. It deals with the agency and priority requirements and confirms the reciprocal treatment right. It briefly refers to examination, preliminary refusal and opposition procedures before registration. 4. Terms of the Trademark Protection and Renewal of Registration (Articles 18-19) – This refers to the protection, renewal deadlines and statutory periods during which re-registration of the lapsed mark in the name of a third party can occur. 5. Effects of Registration (Article 20) – This refers to the right of owner of the registered mark to take action against misuse by third parties of its registered trademark. 6. Assignment and Transfer of Ownership of Registered Marks (Article 21) – This refers to the possibility of transferring the ownership of the mark with or without goodwill and recognises deeds of merger and acquisition as synonymous to a trademark assignment deed. It clearly provides that the assignment or transfer of the ownership of a mark shall be considered as null if it is likely to deceive and mislead the public. 7. License Agreement (Article 22) – Licenses agreements are recordable against registered marks. This Article strictly confirms the obligation of the licensor to monitor the quality of the goods/services subject of the license agreement. It equally emphasises that licensing shall have no effect against third parties until it has been recorded in the Register. 8. Renunciation, Cancellation and Invalidation (Article 23-26) – This part of the Law refers to the right of a trademark owner to voluntarily withdraw its trademark registration partially/fully and the effects of such a move. It also refers to two very important actions that can be taken against a registered trademark – cancellation and invalidation. 9. Collective Marks (Article 27-28) 10. Commercial Indications (Article 29-32) – This defines what constitutes a commercial indication, lists examples and mandates translation into Arabic of the essential elements. 11. Trade Names, Geographical Indications, Industrial Designs, and Models (Articles 33-45) – This provides protection of the trade name even if not

registered, as registration is optional. The same applies to geographical indications. It also refers to the protection and registration of industrial designs and models. The legislator in this Chapter states that the trademarks-related provisions of this Law shall apply to all the intellectual property types referred to under this Chapter without prejudice of their special nature. 12. Preventive Measures & Penalties (Articles 46-52) – This Chapter deals with the enforcement measures and remedies that a trademark owner can take against acts of infringement and counterfeiting. 13. Final Provisions (Article 53-57) – This Chapter closes the Law by referring to the obligations of the Minister to issue the related regulations to implement this Law within two months from its enforcement. It also gives the Minister the right to grant some officers of the trademarks office quasi-judicial power to investigate offenses committed in violation of the provisions of this Law. Salient features I will consider the main features of the Law in comparison to the provisions of the TRIPS Agreement, which is the most comprehensive multilateral agreement on intellectual property. The Trademarks Law, which overrides Trademarks Law No. 3 of 1978, contains provisions which are central to those required by TRIPS. The basic rule of Distinctive Marks, contained in Article 15 of TRIPS, is embodied in Article 6 of the local Law – that any sign, or any combination of signs, capable of distinguishing the goods and services of one undertaking from those of other undertakings, must be eligible for registration as a trademark, provided that it is visually perceptible. Such signs, in particular words including personal names, letters, numerals, figurative elements and combinations of colours as well as any combination of such signs, must be eligible for registration as trademarks. The Qatari legislator added sounds and smells to the definition of a Distinctive Marks, while many legislations, even in some advanced countries, did not contain such references. The Agreement requires service marks to be protected in the same way as marks distinguishing goods (see Articles 15.1, 16.2 and 62.3 of TRIPS). In this regard, Qatar has proactively accepted applications to register service marks long before TRIPS existed. Under Article 1 of the Trademarks Law, the legislator defines the mark as “Any sign that distinguishes a merchant, a manufacturer or a service provider” and defined a service mark as “Any visible sign that can distinguish the services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises.” Under the effective Law, the owner of a registered trademark is granted the exclusive right to prevent all third parties that don’t have the owner’s consent from usage in trade, identical or similar signs for goods or services, which are identical or similar to those in respect

february 2014


Business Guru of the trademark that is registered, where such use would result in a likelihood of confusion. In case of the use of an identical sign for identical goods or services, a likelihood of confusion must be presumed. This provision is a perfect match with Article 16.1 of TRIPS. In addition, well-known trademarks have received attention from the legislator when he considered the registration of a trademark that is identical or similar to a well-known trademark a striking violation of the Law, even if the latter is not registered/filed in Qatar and regardless of the similarity of the goods/services of the marks. Such provisions comply with the protection required by Article 6bis of the Paris Convention and as incorporated by reference into the TRIPS Agreement, which obliges Members to refuse or to cancel the registration and to prohibit the use of a mark conflicting with a mark which is well known. Cancellation for non-use – The local Law provides that a cancellation action of a registered mark can take place after five years of its registration. This is TRIPS-plus legislation as TRIPS cites that “Cancellation of a mark on the grounds of non-use cannot take place before three years of uninterrupted non-use has elapsed”. Indistinguishably important, the local Law states that use of a trademark by another person is recognised as use of the trademark for the purpose of maintaining the registration (Article 24). A critique Below are examples of when the Law and/or the authorities responsible for implementing the said Law did not match the expectations of the trademarks practitioners and the trademark owners. To start with, it is not a secret to say the several parts of the Law are not activated. For example, the Trademarks Office (TMO) does not accept applications to register sound/smell marks as provided for under Article 6. Although the size of applications covering this kind of trademarks is very limited even in developed countries, it is a failure of the TMO to refuse to admit such applications. A decision should be taken to start accepting such applications. Similarly, the TMO does not have room for registering industrial designs, geographical indications or trade names. The Law does not explain whether an individual has the right to apply for the registrations of a trademark or not. This issue created confusion in the practice as Article 1 provides that “Mark: Any sign that distinguishes a merchant, a manufacturer or a service provider.” However, it does not say whether the persons referred to under said Article are exclusively legal persons or they can be natural persons as well. A clarification in the Law is recommended. T h e L aw h a s i n s eve r a l p l a c e s re fe r re d to “international or bilateral agreements and treaties


valid in Qatar” but did not contain any provisions on Unfair Competition, as per TRIPS requirements, not even under a separate law. The Law has in several places used the expression “shall have no effect before third parties” like in Assignment and Licensing chapters, but without any clarification on the situations/circumstances which entitle third parties to challenge such failure to record the assignment or the license with the TMO. Absence of the implementing regulations – This is a very important point that needs to be finalised at the earliest as the lack of such regulations has created and still does create frequent disagreements on the due procedures and accurate interpretations of some of the provisions of the Law that will never be activated if the implementing regulations are not released. The sections under Article 27 of the Law is ambiguous as they are globally recognised as requirements of a Certification Mark and not a Collective Mark, as the title of said Article indicates. The Law does not provide for electronic transactions. The Law can be amended to cover this area to create accounts for trademark agents with user names and passwords that will reduce the paperwork, time and effort in this era of digital business environment. Qatar’s government website, Hukoomi, ( ) can provide a convenient port for such transactions. The Law does not provide a standing committee to look into the appeals. This has resulted in the Grievances Committee referred to under Article 13 of the Law not having convened in more than nine years. The Law does not say whether failure by the Committee to convene will render the appeals as acceptable or not. Clients are upset as they are not sure whether to invest in their trademarks or not. Likewise, according to Article 11, a trademark application must be examined within thirty days from the date of filing of the application but does not say whether failure by the Examiner to examine the application will render the application as accepted ex-officio. This is why the TMO has a backlog of more than 10,000 applications. Actually, based on the current pace of examination, it takes a trademark application a minimum of 18 months before it is examined. If it is not possible to amend the Law at this stage, then it would be wise to increase the number of examiners to end this backlog. Views on Qatar’s Trademark Law are meant to be constructive and aimed at improving the trademark practice taking into consideration that Qatar is expected to revise and enact more legislation related to IP by 2015, in compliance with the undertaking made in its bid for FIFA World Cup 2022.


Building trade links

For years, many Qataris have thought of the UK as a second home and more recently, many expats from the UK are discovering the options that are available to them in Qatar. Building on this relationship, H.E British Ambassador to Qatar, Nicholas Hopton, speaks to Ayesha Aleem about the equation between the two countries. Can you please give us some specifics about bilateral relations between Qatar and UK? What are the main categories of traded goods and services? The UK and Qatar share a strong and historic relationship going back several hundred years. About GBP five billion was traded between the two countries in 2012, which is the latest available data. This number is growing every year. UK exported GBP 1.3 billion worth of goods to Qatar in 2012 including power-generating machinery and equipment, general industrial machinery, road vehicles, general transport equipment, chemicals, luxury goods and scientific equipment. UK export services worth GBP 521 million included professional services, consultancy, banking, insurance and financial services. Qatar is a key trade and investment partner for the UK and our third largest trading partner in the Middle East after the UAE and Saudi Arabia. At last count, we have nearly 20 British law firms operating in Qatar. There are also around 20,000 British expats in Doha. 2013 was the Qatar UK Year of Culture where Qatar was promoted as a centre of arts in the UK. This has raised the profile of Qatar.


We are very proud of this relationship, which has evolved into a partnership of equals. It’s a new, modern relationship, with more engagement. We are forming ambitious plans to build on this legacy. Please tell us about the investments that Qatar is making in the UK and vice versa. Qatar investments in the UK totals USD 22 billion. The large portfolio of Qatar’s investments in the UK includes projects such as the Shard, the Olympic Village, the Shell Centre, the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, shareholdings in Barclays, Sainsbury’s and BAA, as well as the ownership of Harrods. As for UK’s investment in Qatar, Shell has the largest single foreign investment in Qatar, which is the GTL plant at Ras Laffan, worth more than USD 21 billion, followed by Vodafone. Which sectors offer investment opportunities for Qataris in the UK? There are several exciting opportunities that Qatari investors are invited to explore. Potential investors are encouraged to contact the UK Trade and Investment team at the British Embassy in Doha for complete guidelines and details. This unit’s primary role is

compared with 34,000 visa applications in 2012. Usually, about 90% of applicants are given visas.

Nicholas Hopton is UKâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Ambassador to Qatar. Previously, he was the British Ambassador to Yemen. A career diplomat who joined the FCO in 1989, he has served postings in Paris, Rome, Morocco and Mauritiana. He holds qualifications from Cambridge University, La Sapienza University in Rome and ENA in Paris.

The free electronic visa waiver was introduced only at the beginning of 2014. Since 1st January, 2184 Qataris have used it. We wanted to make it easier for people from Qatar to visit the UK because these are people that we want to see in the UK, whether for tourism, business, investment, healthcare or education. Valid for up to six months and for a one-time entry to the UK, it is possible to apply for the visa waiver up to 48 hours before travel and it can be conveniently processed online. However, we advise all applicants to fill in the forms correctly, with details exactly as they appear in their passport, without which they may not be allowed to travel.

to promote trade and investment between the two countries. The UK is currently the largest recipient of FDI in Europe. We are also planning to create a British Chamber of Commerce in Qatar in 2014 to support SMEs entering the market. Can you please elaborate about the Sirius Programme with specific reference to Qatarâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s participation? Sirius is a programme for recent graduates or final year university students. Every year, our goal is to accept 100 international graduates who wish to start their own business. The idea is to create an environment that supports the graduates through mentorship to develop their business ideas and turn them into a reality in the UK at the end of the programme. Candidates are chosen by an external panel of judges who review video submissions and conduct interviews via telephone. The UK is one of the top places in the world to become an entrepreneur and we want to attract talented young people to establish and build their business there. There has been significant interest from Qatar and we have received a number of MENA applicants to the programme, but we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have a breakdown of the numbers yet. It is the first year that UKTI is running this type of programme and the main focus has been on raising awareness about it globally. The visa waiver for Qatar nationals travelling to the UK was implemented at the beginning of this year. What was the motivation behind this? Each year we welcome an increasing number of Qatari visitors to the UK for business and leisure. In 2013 the British Embassy received 40,000 visa applications,

There are so many US universities in Doha. What about a stronger presence of UK universities? Will you initiate any measures to make it easier for Qatari students to study in the UK? UK universities are engaging with Qatari partners across a range of areas. There is a UK branch campus of UCL in Education City. Sherborne School opened its doors in September 2009. UK universities are jointly working on Qatar National Research Fund joint research projects in healthcare, construction, oil and gas and the Ministry of ICT. A recent project between Southampton University and the Qatar Assistive Technology Centre delivered the first Arabic symbols dictionary for people with disabilities. Her Highness Sheikha Moza visited London in September 2013 for the signing of two MoUs between Qatar and the UK. The first was between Qatar Foundation, the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the UK Higher Education International Unit and the British Council to establish a high-level bilateral forum on research and education. The second MoU focussed on teaching and learning of Arabic language and culture in UK schools. UK Visas and Immigration in Doha plans to set up more communication links with Qatari Students to ensure smooth visa applications in 2014. What are some of your main goals while in office? I wish to support UK and Qatari partners in pursuing trade and investment opportunities to further strengthen our successful commercial relationship. I also wish to build on existing links between our two countries in broader areas of Qatar National Vision 2030 , such as education, sports and culture, to promote a greater cultural and technology exchange. Finally, I want to deepen and broaden cooperation between the UK and Qatar to work together and with other partners to address challenges of peace and security and for this partnership to make one of the most fragile regions stable and prosperous.

February 2014



Whether you spread it on toast or eat a spoonful for a sore throat – the benefits and healing properties of honey are widely known. Khalid Al Suwaidi, Founder, Bu Saif Apiaries, speaks to Ayesha Aleem about his connection with the much loved food and how much he enjoys his role in producing a “proud Qatari product.”

Khalid Al Suwaidi, Founder, Bu Saif Apiaries, graduated from Qatar University with a Bachelor’s degree in Media. He is also Head, Adminstrative Services, Elderly Care, Qatar Foundation. He can be contacted at



halid Al Suwaidi was only 12 years old when he discovered his fascination with bees. Elaborating on this, he said, “My father and I love honey. When I was a child, I used to give him honey as a gift.” Except, this wasn’t store-bought honey. He had harvested it on his own from a hive.

Acccoding to Khalid, demand has only been growing, which is what prompted him to open the Saudi Arabia and Oman centres. But all the honey is only sold in Qatar, at the moment. “It is always better to eat honey produced in the place that you live,” said Khalid. Orders are taken on the phone or through the company’s Facebook page.

Keeping with the bond between father and son, Khalid is the owner of Bu Saif Apiaries, which has been named after his eldest son. This is a group of eight production units across Qatar, with one facility each in Saudi Arabia and Oman that were recently opened. Bu Saif was started in 2005 with Khalid’s personal savings and a single beekeeping box brought from Egypt. It has grown from producing an annual output of two tonnes to five tonnes in the latest season, which was sold out in three months, Khalid remarked.

“The honey industry in Qatar is still very new. But although the product is new, we produce delicious, high quality honey,” said Khalid. Awareness about Qatari honey is increasing and the Qatari government is encouraging people to produce honey. Bu Saif Apiaries produces four kinds of honey – Sidr, Spring, Lemon and Samar – which are harvested in separate seasons in February, April, May and September. “Many customers prefer Sidr honey because the Sidr tree has been mentioned in the Quran.”

I stop collecting honey about ten days before the season ends,” said Khalid. “This is because the bee needs some honey too, without which he will die. Some people collect every last drop. I call them bee killers, not bee keepers. Before the harvest season begins, the bee boxes need to be emptied of the existing bees and cleaned, Khalid explained. Depending on the requirement, bees are brought from Egypt in a travel box, up to 1000 at a time, and transferred to the bee boxes where they are left to produce honey. “I stop collecting honey about ten or 15 days before the season ends,” said Khalid. “This is because the bees need some honey too, without which they will die. Some people collect every last drop. I call them bee killers, not bee keepers.” Khalid’s love for bees is evident as this is just one of the instances when he speaks of the bee as though it were a human. Once the honey is collected, the output from each unit is processed separately at a lab. “This is done because each honey collection is different. Some are heavy and others may be watery,” Khalid said. The honey is first filtered. Then, for three days it is left to sit so that it can settle and any trapped air can rise to the surface and escape. Processing of the honey can sometimes take an entire month. The honey is then packaged in bottles of one kg, half kg and quarter kg, which are sold for QAR 300, 150 and 100 respectively. “Honey sticks,” which are similar to a chocolate bar, are also sold especially to encourage children to eat honey.

In 2015, Khaild intends to travel to Daejeon in South Korea to participate in Apimondia , a worldwide honey competition and exhibition that is held every two years. Oman was one of the winners in the last edition and Saudi Arabia got placed second. Khalid is confident that he can win an honour for the Qatari honey, which in his opinion is similar to Omani honey. Despite the progress, Qatar faces some unique challenges when it comes to producing honey. One of them is the waxworm. These caterpillars live as parasites in bee colonies where they chew through beeswax. Therefore, they are considered as pests. The extreme heat does not help either, killing many bees, which has led Khalid to create clay beekeeping boxes with water underneath to keep them cool. One day, he hopes to get these devices patented. However, the more serious problem is the European Bee Eater bird that travels through Qatar during its bi-yearly migration between Africa and Europe. “There is no solution for this,” said Khalid. “At the most, we can fire shots in the air to scare it away. But after each attack, anything from 500 bees to nearly 75% of the bee population could be destroyed.” At present, Khalid hosts five-day training sessions at the beginner’s level to anyone who wants to learn about beekeeping, in partnership with the Ministry of Environment. He also leads a government initiative of removing bees from people’s homes or offices and releasing them in the wild. “We encourage people to call us if they are afraid of bees or don’t know how to handle them. But we ask that they don’t kill the bee because we are concerned that certain species may become extinct in the future.” In conclusion, Khalid said that more government support is needed for the honey industry to flourish. “Rental rates are very high so many entrepreneurs in Qatar cannot afford their own retail outlet. The government needs to do something about this.”

February 2014



Finding the

Customer Finding the right way of entering a market and identifying sales and distribution channels is essential for success in any market. QDB, through its export arm, Tasdeer, puts forth some ways of finding the appropriate customers through their guidebook, Trade Secrets – the export answer book for SMEs – which was prepared in collaboration with the International Trade Centre. What are the ways in which a company can enter a foreign market? Selecting the mode of entry into an export market is a crucial decision, which has significant implications on international marketing. When choosing an entry method, the exporter should consider the similarity of the foreign market to the home market, level of service required, tariffs and shipping, lead time requirements, brand awareness and competitive advantage. There are two main ways to enter a new market – direct export and indirect export. Direct export With direct export, the manufacturer undertakes the entire export process and does not use any intermediaries, starting with identifying the customer to collecting payment. To be able to export directly, the firm may have to establish an independent export department, separate from its domestic sales division. Advantages of direct export ■■ The firm has complete control over the exporting process.


■■ The firm increases its profit margin by saving on payments to an intermediary. ■■ The firm develops a closer relationship with the overseas buyer. Disadvantages of direct exporting ■■ The time and resources needed to create a successful overseas market could outweigh the benefits. ■■ The exporter could be exposed to more direct risk. One form of direct exporting is for SMEs to join together to form Export Consortiums. Governments often allocate special benefits to small exporters who form such cooperations. This type of arrangement can be especially beneficial in the initial years of first-time exporters. Indirect Export A firm that wishes to export but which does not have the necessary resources such as personnel, may export through commission agents, local buying offices, merchant exporters or Export Development Companies (EDCs). These entities already have the infrastructure and expertise to export to different countries.

Advantages of indirect export ■■ A firm can concentrate on production without being required to learn all the technical and legal aspects of exporting. ■■ The firm may benefit from the professional expertise that an exporting company or service provides.

Export development companies – EDCs handle all aspects of exporting for an SME, from warehousing, loading and unloading cargo, freight of goods, shipping documents, to providing short-term or long-term financing, conducting market research and preparing and placing advertisements.

Disadvantages of indirect export ■■ The possibility of losing control over the product to an aggressive representative. ■■ Some individuals and organisations may not share the manufacturer’s objectives.

Wholesalers – A wholesaler buys in bulk from the exporter and organises the retail distribution. The wholesaler makes profits on the marked up price.

Other options that a company considering export can explore include: Joint ventures – A joint venture is a partnership in which the domestic firm and the foreign firm negotiate tie-ups involving one or more of the following – equity, transfer of technology, investment, production and marketing. The arrangements define responsibilities for performance, accountability and profit sharing. The marketing arrangements can be in the form of partial or total buy-back by the foreign partner. Joint ventures can spread costs, mitigate risks, offer knowledge and details of local markets and ease market entry. There are often laws regulating joint ventures which might require a specified percentage of equity by the local partner. What sales and distribution channels can be used in different world markets? Several sales and distribution channels exist in different markets around the world. Some will be more effective, depending on the market. Tasdeer may assist Qatari exporters in researching channels that are most frequently used in a particular market. In addition, Tasdeer provides a list of sources which are available for sale and distribution in both public and private sectors. Some examples are: Agents – Also known as a purchasing agent, a commission agent is usually employed by a small firm for their expertise of a particular product in a foreign company or in a foreign market. The agent’s income is through a commission from the net export price. Agents find foreign firms that want to buy the products and place orders on behalf of the buyers. They do not become involved with packaging and shipping of the products nor do they take title of the products they represent. Distributors – A distributor purchases merchandise from an exporter, usually at a discount and resells it in the foreign market for profit. The distributor maintains an inventory of the supplier’s products, and usually provides support and service. The distributor does not usually sell to an end user. Payment terms and other agreements between the distributor and the company are established in a contract. Established marketing channels – Some outlets such as chain stores and supermarkets have their own established channels for buying. An exporter may want to partner with this kind of channel. Mail orders – Much of the export activity is carried out through mail orders depending on the nature of the product and the market. This type of exporting could be a valuable sales outlet for SMEs.

Direct Sales to end user – Through exporting, a firm sells directly to an end user in a foreign country. Buyers are identified through trade fairs, international publications, word of mouth or government contact programmes and the firm is responsible for shipping, payment collection, product servicing, and all other aspects of exporting. Sales Representative – An individual who represents a company in a foreign market is a sales representative. Representatives use the company’s literature and samples, usually work on a commission basis and assume no risk or responsibility. Signed prior to hiring the representative, the representative’s contract should outline the territory, terms of sale, method of compensation and reasons for termination of services, among other such details. A representative may not necessarily work on an exclusive basis. What is an Export Trading Company and what are its services? Export Development Companies (EDCs) are known by different names in different countries such as, trading houses, export management companies and international trading companies. Companies that have exportable products but who do not have the time and resources to learn all that is necessary to successfully export, can significantly benefit from EDCs. These companies allow the exporter to concentrate on production while offering high quality professional expertise in handling all aspects of exports. EDCs act as effective business development intermediaries between producers and markets. They specialise not only in exporting but also in procuring merchandise locally to sell internationally, importing and buying internationally to sell locally. EDCs have strong international marketing capabilities. These are often supported by an overseas organisation for selling and by an organisation in the home country for procurement as well as vendor development and trade support services. EDCs provide a number of services to the SMEs. These include: Marketing-oriented services ■■ Market research, customer identification and evaluation ■■ Commercial and technical negotiations ■■ Dealing with consortiums, projects and tenders ■■ Establishing supplies of spare parts and providing after-sales services ■■ Creating distribution networks for the product ■■ Sales promotion and establishing brand equity Production-oriented activities ■■ Development of SME partners ■■ Importing, procurement of production inputs ■■ Product and packaging adaptation ■■ Research and development

February 2014



Financial and risk management services ■■ Credit and financial arrangements ■■ Ensuring prompt payments ■■ Export risk management and insurance ■■ Dealing with claims Logistical support and other services ■■ Shipping and documentation ■■ Transportation and warehousing ■■ Managing crises and disasters ■■ Dispensing with paperwork and red tape Where do exporters find information on trade shows and exhibitions around the world? Exporters in State of Qatar can visit www.expodatabase. com. The following organisations in the State of Qatar may also provide information on exhibitions: World Trade Center Qatar P.O. Box 22357 Doha State of Qatar Tel: + 974 44354141 Fax: + 974 44423048 Email: Website: QatarExpo P.O. Box 8019 Doha State of Qatar Tel: + 974 44650211 Fax: + 974 44674506 Email:, Web: International Fairs and Promotions Qatar Ibn Seena Street, Al Muntazah Area P.O. Box 22376 Doha State of Qatar Tel: (+974) 44329900 Fax: (+974) 44432891 Email: Website: World Exhibitions, Trade Shows & Conferences Trade Shows & Exhibitions Find foreign trade shows and exhibitions around the world by country or states at exhibit.htm. Global Association of the Exhibition Industry (UFI) Association of the world’s leading trade show organisers and fairground owners, as well as the major national


and international exhibition associations and selected partners of the exhibition industry, UFI provides an extensive listing of trade fairs categorised by name of fair and countries where the fair is held. Association of the German Trade Fair Industry (AUMA) The website provides a comprehensive database on trade fairs and tools to calculate and plan an exhibition. How does an exporter choose the right trade fair? Trade Fairs are an invaluable element of a marketing plan. However, with fairs held across the world, it is important to choose when and where to exhibit. This is especially important for firms with small budgets. Selection of the appropriate trade fair to participate in can be done after a careful scrutiny of the market profile, visitor profile and cost of participation in each fair. To classify the market profile of a trade fair, identify the target markets and the geographical coverage. Two common classifications are “vertical” trade fairs which offer a concentrated focus of interest for buyers and sellers and “horizontal” trade fairs which are more generic and don’t have a specific theme. When identifying the visitors’ profile, the exporter should ask the trade fair promoter of the typical job profile, product or service interest and the size and type of the company that is represented. The cost of participation in a fair should be viewed as an investment but must not be beyond the firm’s capacity. Although trade fairs are used as a marketing and promotional tool, participation must not cause a loss to the firm. The exporter should pay attention not to be lured into a fair just because it is big and promises to provide many potential customers. They must have a strategy. Firms should identify whether a fair is tied to educational programmes because such fairs tend to bring better results. Smaller fairs are typically less expensive to attend, require less expenditure for marketing and provide a more comfortable venue for the attendee, allowing staff the time to know prospective customers. Smaller fairs also often provide an opportunity for exhibitors to be sponsors.

sign off

Hello again. It’s only January and the new year has already been so eventful. Our first issue in 2014 had a wide variety of stories. We spoke to Sunita Gomes of United World Colleges about the organisation’s effort to scout for talent in the region. Education is evolving as its role in transforming people’s lives and larger communities is becoming increasingly evident. The global financial crisis has shown, as one of the constant reminders, that employment is always temporary. Your ability to cope in the face of adversity is closely linked with a sense of self-reliance that often comes from education. Faysal Mikati of Snow Comms talked to us about his events and marketing company. After working for several years in computer science, he took the plunge to become an entrepreneur. Faysal is an example of many Qataris who are no longer shying away from the risk but also unrivalled satisfaction that comes from setting up and running your own business. In this movement is a force that drives the local economy towards growth and prosperity. I enjoyed working on our February issue. After speaking to the former US Ambassador to Bahrain last month, I was in conversation with British Ambassador to Qatar, H.E Nicholas Hopton. A friendly chat in his living room in Doha revealed that ties run deep between two countries that share a strong historical relationship. Without giving too much away, I can tell you that we’ve got some exciting content lined up for future issues. Can you imagine a day at the office, or anywhere for


that matter, without using the world’s favourite search engine? I may have said too much already. Come back to these pages soon to find out what I’m talking about. But this month, I was at Turn 8 and it was unlike anything I had seen before. A little bit like a beauty pageant for entrepreneurs, without the tiaras. Start ups from all around the world pitched their ideas to a room full of potential investors hoping to secure some funding and inch closer to bringing their technology product to a customer. The teams were part of an accelerator programme that gave them working space and support in an effort to discover the “next big thing” in this part of the world. Facebook began in a dorm room. Perhaps the next generation of communication is taking shape at the huge Turn 8 office in Dubai. So if the first month is an indicator of how the rest of the year will unfold, I can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store. I would like to thank our contributing writers who add so much to the publication with their insights on finance, business and more, which helps us gain a greater understanding of the topics they write about, one fascinating detail at a time. From learning about Ericsson’s social media strategy to meeting with Khalid Al Suwaidi of Bu Saif Apiaries, another great example of a Qatari success story, it truly has been a range of locations, faces and professions. Disparate worlds come together in harmony in this issue and I hope you enjoy reading the features as much as we have loved telling the stories. If you have comments or thoughts, I’d be happy to hear from you at




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Private Sector Qatar English | February 2014  

Private Sector Qatar English | February 2014