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A Qatar free zone and simpler licensing are on the young entrepreneurs wish list
By Ira Pavaki, Doha

TAG is an interview series in which

entrepreneurs and professionals speak
to bq magazine about working and running a business in Qatar. Each interviewee tags a person they would like to
be interviewed. Kick-starting the series
is Maryam Al Subaiey, who wears many
hats as a writer, media professional and
entrepreneur. Q Talent - a local company that focuses on finding, connecting
and promoting Qatari talented youth takes up much of her focus at present.
Are you now where you imagined
youd be five years ago?
Five years ago I never thought I
would start something called Q
Talent and that I would be a full
time entrepreneur. In 2010 I had just
finished my masters degree from
the UK and I started working in marketing for Qatar Financial Centre.
A year after I resigned and started
working in TV and media. I thought
my career would continue in this
field but God had different plans for
me. What went wrong eventually
turned right. It took me a while to
figure out what I want to do as I have
many interests: media and communication, writing, jewellery design,
community outreach and art. Creating Q Talent allowed me to combine
all of those interests.
Entitlement holds back Qatari
youth. Discuss.
I agree and disagree. It's a relative
matter and depends on each person's
character. As a Qatari woman I am
not obliged to work, as my family is
obliged to provide for me under any
circumstance. But I felt the need to
create my own thing and challenge
myself. Many young people do the
same. However, not everyone is so
privileged. The majority need to
work and due to this need they can't
afford to pursue their dreams and

take up an entrepreneurial challenge. So it is not the entitlement

that holds them back, rather life
and responsibilities. Many Qataris
take on both challenges, they have
a day job and also run their own
business. I see many young people
who are incubated through Qatar
Development Bank (QDB) and Qatar
Business Incubation Center (QBIC)
working hard to accomplish their
entrepreneurial goals. So it is more
than a full time job, they work 24/7.
As an entrepreneur in Qatar, is
there one thing you wish had been
different, easier or readily available
that would have made a significant
difference to you?
Yes, many things. The rules and regulations of establishing a business in
Qatar are, to put simply, in reverse.

They need to be flexible. We are the

only country in the world where you
can't apply for license online. Not
only that, getting a license is very
expensive. For example I paid over
QR 20,000 to finish some paperwork
that I don't actually need. My business in online and I am incubated
which means I don't rent an office.
But to be legal in Qatar I have to rent
an office and pay for an office license
which I will never use.Also registering the name Q Talent has been a
nightmare. For some reason we can't
use letters or numbers and there are
so many restrictions on the names.
This conflicts with the progress of
our entrepreneurial work as our path
is not the same as big corporations
and billionaire businessmen. Another
big problem we face is future rent,
getting contracts and having a fair



share in the market. The government

needs to push for businesses and institutions to work with us.Having said
that, we do get other kind of support
such as incubation centres and different kinds of fund schemes.
What or who inspires you?
What inspires me is wanting to export
my culture abroad and letting young
people here believe in their capabilities. Q Talent is only one idea and only
the first step, once it is very well established I will move on to other ideas.
If the business environment here
were to be exactly how you wish it to
be, what would it look like?
A free zone, a fair chance for
everyone, no monopoly and no
How do you define success?
Achieved actions.

To be legal in Qatar I
have to rent an office and
pay for an office license
which I will never use


GCC - Speaking at the inaugural Pearl
Initiative and United Nations Global Compact
Regional Forum, held under the patronage
of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin
Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai,
H.E. Sheikha Hanadi Bint Nasser Al Thani,
founder & chairperson of Amwal stressed
the important role of the small to medium
size (SME) sector in addressing the regions
youth unemployment.
Job creation is not something that we
have to prepare for the regions youth; if
we open up the area of SMEs, then youth
become the job creators, she said, during
the open plenary session on Sustainable
Leadership and Competitiveness. They
create jobs for themselves, and they create
jobs for others. But this isnt the only aspect of
the SME industry. Were trying to determine
how the market will react in the next 10-20
years, and who better to forecast this than
the people who are really at the bottom of
it, understanding how the market works,
innovating new solutions, providing new
services this is where SMEs are crucial.
They represent job creation, innovation, and
sometimes disruptive innovation.
United Nations Secretary-General,

Ban Ki-moon, addressed the Forum with

opening keynote video address. This year
is critical for people and the planet; we are
aiming to adopt a new set of sustainable
development goals and reach a meaningful,
universal agreement on climate change.
Business can drive progress but not just any
business will do. Sustainable development
requires principled business, it requires
strong corporate accountability. Good
governance is vital, I hope the collaboration
between Pearl Initiative and the United
Nations Global Compact will help even more
companies from the Gulf region to advance
and progress, he added.
The Pearl Initiative and United Nations
Global Compact Regional Forum was
attended by more than 500 regional
and international business leaders and
representatives from UN organisations,
government and civil society. Speakers
included H.E. Reem Al Hashimy, UAE
Minister of State and Board Representative
Higher Committee & Director General
Bureau, Dubai Expo 2020 and Sir Mark
Moody Stewart, president & chairperson,
Foundation for the UN Global Compact.

The one law or regulation in Qatar

you wish to change?
Easier business regulations in general.
Where and what would Maryam be
in 2022?
I would like to have achieved something related to writing and the arts.
I would like to be all over the world
living an international life with a
Qatari attitude.
Who would you like to tag and
what would you like to ask them?
Hind Gharib, founder of the Cheese
Market. She is a woman of various
skills and successful in all of them
a well-established architect; a wellknown artist; a business woman with
a unique concept, a "cheese market;
an accomplished equestrianand
she speaks fluent Spanish.She is an
example of what Qatari women can
achieve in various fields. I would like
to ask her: Starting a business that is
not relevant to your background could
be challenging. What made you think of
the "cheese market"?


Oman - Under the patronage of H.E. Dr.
Ali Bin Masoud Al Sunaidi, Minister of
Commerce and Industry, National Bank of
Abu Dhabi (NBAD), in collaboration SME
Advisor Middle East CPI Media Groups
flagship publication, organised the Stars
of Business Awards, which celebrated
and honoured top-notch performers of
the Omani SME industry. The event was
graced with the presence of VIP government
dignitaries, senior representatives from the
public and private sectors as well as C-suite
SMEs were recognised for their
exemplary performance across 11 key
categories, with the following emerging
as the merited winners Best SME
Tourism: Khalid Al Suwaid Enterprises; Best
Oman New Business: Etqan Design; Best
SME Healthcare: Blessing Healthcare
Center; Excellence in Trade: Sea Pride LLC;
Oman Star of Transport and Distribution:

Allied Logistics LLC; Best Infrastructure

provider/supplier: Energy Engineering and
Investment LLC; Best Public/Private Sector
SME partner: Abu Yasseen Trading and
Marketing LLC; NBAD Star of Manufacturing
Gold: Abu Yasseen Trading and Marketing
LLC; NBAD Star of Manufacturing Silver:
National Barka; Omani Entrepreneur of the
Year: Mohammed Ambusaidi, Etqan Design;
Admirable Woman Entrepreneur of the Year:
Sharifa Al Barami, Al Jazeera Global Services
and Investments. Two special awards were
also granted for notable contributions
towards the Omani SME sector. These
were: Special Recognition Award: Ghada Al
Yousef; CPI Lifetime Achievement Award:
Dhofar Global. Stars of Business Awards
Oman was supported by some of the
leading players in the SME arena including
Presenting Partner NBAD, Technology
Partner SAP, Gold Partner Knowledge Oman
and Knowledge Partner Protiviti Global.

JUNE 2015