02 May 2018 – 8:44
By Sachin Kumar | The Peninsula
DOHA: Qatar Development Bank (QDB) signed yesterday agreements with five global investment funds from the United States, Europe and Asia, with a total value exceeding QR100m – a move that will boost Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) by providing them access to funds.
The five agreements were signed by QDB Chief Executive Officer Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, and separately by Alexander Wiedmer, Partner at Iris Capital; Murat Aktihanoglu, Managing Partner at Entrepreneurs Roundtable Accelerator (ERA); Numan Numan, Managing Partner at 212 Fund; Vineet Kapur, Partner at IDG Capital and Aziz Mebarek, Founding Partner AfricInvest.
“The total value of the agreement we signed today exceeds QR100m. This the part of our Fund-of-Fund approach. Our Fund-of-Fund approach, which QDB launched almost a year ago, consist of $100m and this is the first tranche of it and we are co-investing with these funds more than QR100m for them to co-exist in Qatar. So we are co-investing together. They will open office in Doha, which will enable accessibility to venture capital money,” Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa told reporters on the sidelines of ‘QDB Investment Forum’ organised yesterday at Hilton Doha hotel.
The forum aimed to attract global venture capital firms to set up their base in Qatar to facilitate the exchange of knowledge, service, and expertise to Qatari SMEs and entrepreneurs to empower them.
“Today, we were able to sign agreements with five international investment funds to open offices within Qatar to attract foreign capital and investments for small and medium-sized Qatari enterprises, this demonstrates the confidence of foreign investors in the economy of Qatar.
This is a practical step by which Qatari entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises can be made available to venture capital, a key component of the entrepreneurship system,” said Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa, addressing the forum.
During the forum, QDB announced two new services ‘Fund of Fund (FoF)’, and ‘Access to international capital’. The FoF service is an investment service in the capital investment funds through which the bank seeks to bring international companies to Qatar, set up their offices here and ensure that they actively contribute to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, ensure sufficient liquidity. Through the “Access to international capital” service, the bank’s incubated or financed Qatari start-up companies will get opportunity to present their ideas and concepts to international funds and get additional follow-on investments or financing.
“It is well known that Qatar has been ranked first in the Arab world in Global Entrepreneurship Index 2018 while securing 22nd position globally, released by The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute (GEDI), which indicates the maturity and health of the entrepreneurship ecosystem that helps attract global funds to invest in Qatari potential small and medium enterprises,” Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa added.
“This helps in developing and maintaining open channels of communications to expand the reach of Qatari Small and Medium enterprises to global markets, an indication of the confidence of these funds and the ability and effectiveness of the entrepreneurial system in the State of Qatar,” he added.
Al Khalifa said that QDB is keen on taking all measures to support Qatari entrepreneurs and SMEs to reach the right financing. He explained that QDB is particularly targeted at the innovation-based information technology sector.