Nov 23, 2020 by QDB
Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has announced the launch of the first virtual edition of the Investment Forum in Qatar, under the theme "Business Transformation and Growth". Held on 1st December 2020 and under the strategic sponsorship of the Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (Invest Qatar) and the platinum sponsorship of the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the third annual forum aims to connect entrepreneurs and investors and enhance Qatar's position as an investment hub, while enriching the entrepreneurial community and contributing to the growth and diversification of the national economy. Additionally, the forum helps identify prominent global investment trends and the most promising opportunities across service and industrial sectors.
Entrepreneurs face several challenges in finding investors and capital to support their projects and help them achieve greater success. Through the Forum and the Bank’s Investment Function, QDB seeks to overcome these challenges by creating a collaborative space that brings together ambitious entrepreneurs and investors with different backgrounds and interests to one platform. In its previous edition, the Forum was attended by more than 400 investors and business leaders, in and outside of Qatar.
This year, the Forum will be held virtually for the first time, with the participation of a long list of companies, angel investors, investment banks, venture capital companies, and business accelerators, in addition to individuals and enterprises interested in exploring business ventures across various sectors and stages of growth. Investors will also be able to learn more about startups through an integrated digital platform, which is the first of its kind in Qatar. The platform will be launched during the event and will provide investors with the opportunity to hold direct meetings with the entrepreneurs and startup owners and engage in in-depth discussions on potential investment opportunities that benefit both parties.
Commenting on the launch of the Forum, QDB’s CEO Mr. Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al-Khalifa said: “Providing venture capital financing is one of the most important elements in the success of the entrepreneurship ecosystem, and for the third consecutive year, we are organizing this prominent forum with our partners to capture and assess the lessons learned as well as to offer promising opportunities to Qatari SMEs on one hand, and local investors and international partner funds on the other. Through its QAR 360 million venture capital fund, QDB is facilitating the success of entrepreneurs and SMEs, and in its first virtual edition, the Forum presents a gainful opportunity for interested angel investors, business owners, entrepreneurs, and SMEs to explore the investment and venture capital landscape in the country, as well as learn more about the various projects and ventures they can take part in.”
For his part, IPA Qatar’s CEO, Sheikh Ali Alwaleed Al-Thani said: “Against the backdrop of its economic resilience and rapid growth, Qatar’s investment landscape continues to offer investors a multitude of lucrative, sector-diverse opportunities to realize their ambitions and expand in the region. As the strategic sponsor of the 3rd annual Investment Forum, we are delighted to be joining forces with QDB towards further advancing the investment ecosystem in Qatar and exploring new avenues of growth for local and international companies alike.”
This year’s edition of the Investment Forum also culminates QDB’s accomplishments in the investment arena over the past period. In this regard, QDB has launched a VC fund with a total size of QAR 365 mln and has committed more than QAR 220 mln of investments in innovative seed and SME opportunities. Today, the Bank has more than 30 companies in its portfolio and its support is extended to all those companies.
QDB also launched the “Shareholders loan” product, under its Direct Lending Division to help finance SMEs listed under the umbrella of its SME Equity financing program. The product aims to bridge the gap in short-term financing facilities for working capital requirements with a maximum of QAR 7.5 mln, and with a repayment period of up to 3 years, including a grace period of up to one year, as well as the option of converting credit into equity shares in the company.
Mr. Al-Khalifa added: “QDB adopts a ‘customer journey’ approach and serve as the entrepreneur’s long-term partner and supporter from the idea stage, all the way to maturity and opening the horizon for export opportunities to regional and international markets. We are also constantly working to connect them with the most prominent investors so that they can continue to realize their business goals and ambitions.”
This year, the forum includes an interactive panel discussion titled ‘Conquering Challenges to Scale & Thrive ’, a special workshop on the Global FinTech Investment Landscape, and a live pitching session where a number of startups will be presenting their innovative ideas to investors towards raising capital to their entrepreneurial ventures.
The third annual Investment Forum comes on the heels of the success of the Qatar Entrepreneurship Conference 2020, which was also held virtually for the first time. Through such leading platforms, QDB continues to enrich the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar, and support SMEs in the country.
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