Ramadan and Eids have been timely occasions to do brisk business for micro enterprises, which are also seen as drivers of Qatar’s economic growth by entrepreneurial organisations in the country.
In the absence of brick-and-mortar shops, most home-based businesses in Qatar thrive in “virtual stores,” utlising social media apps such as Instagram and Facebook, among others, to market and sell their products.
During Ramadan and Eid, however, these shops step out of the virtual world to interact personally with their respective customers at the different night markets or bazaars organised across Qatar.
Whether in the malls or open spaces, these bazaars serve as transitory venues to shop for various homemade products such as women’s and children’s apparel, food items, and other novelty merchandise.
Some Qatari entrepreneurs, on the other hand, try to raise the bar a notch higher by opening food trucks, mini restaurants, and even high-end, exclusive apparel stores such as the business of Mohamed al-Naimi and Omar al-Mannai, who are partners at Code Boutique.
Code Boutique sells high-end fashion brands and hard-to-find apparel and accessories. But while this business model is also common in Europe and Asia, al-Mannai told Gulf Times that the concept is fairly new in Qatar, making it “a fresh offering in the market".
This was reiterated by Nasser al-Amri, the marketing manager of Cloud e, which organised a night market in Duhail during Ramadan. He said since the June 2017 Gulf crisis “people are looking for new and unique experiences".
Al-Amri said the more than 60 promising business establishments that participated in the market attracted throngs of visitors and customers because of the event’s “unique concept".
He pointed out that the travel restrictions to neighbouring Gulf destinations wrought by the economic blockade had put local products in the spotlight, thus benefiting many Qatari entrepreneurs and other businesses.
The huge potential of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to drive economic development lies at the core of Qatar Development Bank’s (QDB) Home-based Business National Programme (HBBNP), which was launched in 2015.
QDB executive director of Advisory Services and Incubation Ibrahim al-Mannai earlier said QDB’s support for home-based businesses aims “to improve their economic and social stability".
This, he added, would “contribute to the sustainability and diversification of the national economy, which is in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030".
He noted that QDB is also committed to transform MSMEs into larger enterprises by supporting and empowering them, enhancing entrepreneurs’ skills, improving levels of production, and by providing them with opportunities to access a wider market.
This coming October, QDB, in collaboration with Qatar Chamber, Nama Centre, and the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs will launch the second edition of the “Made at Home” Exhibition.
The event, slated from October 14 to 20 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, is part of QDB’s HBBNP, and offers home-based entrepreneurs the opportunity to display their products to a wider audience, “by creating new marketing windows, which will contribute to the diversification of the national economy".
Development of a competitive and diversified economy capable of meeting the needs of, and securing a high standard of living for, all its people is one of the pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030.