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10 January 2013 | Anna Reynolds
Enterprise Qatar (EQ) has launched a government-backed initiative to help local SMEs win contracts.
The independent entrepreneurial assistance organisation, which is supported by the government, has launched the Government Procurement and Contracting Program (GPCP) to tackle the problems faced by small businesses when accessing government tenders.
At a seminar held by EQ in May 2012, the challenges facing SMEs in Qatar when accessing government tenders were categorised into three main groups; technological, financial and technical.
Noora Al-Mannai, CEO of Enterprise Qatar, said in statement: “Having surveyed the needs and challenges of over 200 SMEs in Qatar, we can say with great certainty that competing for tenders represents one of the biggest barriers to growth.
“We have designed the Government Procurement and Contracting Program meticulously to ensure that SMEs come away with a firm understanding of best practice in the area of procurement, enhanced knowledge of the requirements of major buyers in the market, and develop new contacts with buyers.”
The GPCP was developed following meetings with government entities and private sector companies, including Qatar Petroleum, RasGas, Shell Qatar, Total Qatar and the Central Tenders Committee.
The scheme comprises of 11 projects including ‘Think Small’, which introduces some policy options to be drafted into upcoming legislation, to enable SMEs to do business in more favourable business environments.
The ‘Subcontracting and Partnership Exchange’ project will act as a matchmaking mechanism between buyers and suppliers providing contacts through an online portal. There will also be an online platform to help connect Qatari entrepreneurs to network with international technology providers and foreign investors. This will also provide information about business opportunities for SMEs.
Further, conferences will be held for small firms to encourage new deals and training programmes to enhance growth. Financial aid projects will aim to minimise the financial burden incurred by companies when bidding for tenders, such as late payment and financial support for tender bonds, necessary when bidding for contracts.