France ready to support Qatari SMEs
The French Ambassador to Qatar said that France is keen to establish partnerships in the fields of innovation, technology and SME development
Both France and Qatar are exploring ways to expand economic relations in areas of common concern, with specific focus on innovation, ICT and SME sector.
French Ambassador to Qatar Eric Chevallier said. “We are keen to establish partnership in the field of innovation, technology and SME development. We want our SMEs to grow and be more developed, and we also know that Qatari authorities would like to see more local SMEs to be developed.”
France is due to open the world’s largest start-up incubator and has stressed that it is “fully committed” to share its knowledge in the sector with Qatar and support the country’s emerging small and mid-sized enterprises (SMEs).
In an interview with The Peninsula, Chevallier said France is keen to support Qatar's ambitious plans to diversify the local economy and that the best way is to “develop together”, said the envoy.
“We will have soon opening in the coming days the first incubator in the world with 1,000 start-ups gathered in our centre in Paris.”
The ‘mega-incubator’ is a project being developed in Paris by converting a century old railway building into an area for up to 1,000 start-ups.“Since both the countries share the same goal of developing a vibrant SME sector, we can work together by establishing more partnership like the one inked recently between Qatar Business Incubation Centre (QBIC) and Paris&Co, the economic development and innovation agency of Paris,” the ambassador said.
The MoU, Chevallier referenced was signed in November 2016 on the side-lines of the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), by QBIC Chairman Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa and the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, during her visit to Qatar.
The MoU intends to establish a mutually beneficial relationship between Doha and Paris that supports the incubation of start-ups through the sharing of knowledge and services provided by each incubator.
The envoy outlined that increased partnerships would be beneficial for Qatari SMEs while also providing access to both sides of the market to the opportunity of working together in Qatar, GCC and other countries in the Middle East, as well as Europe.
“It is very important for Qatar to be connected with the EU, the first market in the world with over 500 million consumers and also it is equally important for Europe to be connected with Qatar, which is a very prominent country in terms of development,” said the ambassador of Europe’s third largest economy.
The Qatar Chamber recently hosted a business networking and match-making event where a nearly 200-member strong EU business mission attended.
The participating firms from Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, and Spain represented a wide range of sectors, including communication, sports, infrastructure, and security and other services.