Earlier this year, more than 150 Qatari SMEs attended the third annual Qatari SME Business Opportunities Workshop, where more than 60 local SMEs showed their interest to participate and compete. As a result, more than 30 local SMEs were shortlisted to tender for seven specific business opportunities offered by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Qatar Shell– collectively worth an estimated aggregate value of more than QR15 million.
The successful SMEs will be awarded with contracts this month to become part of the supply chain for Pearl GTL, the world’s largest gas to liquids plant delivered by Qatar Petroleum and Qatar Shell. As part of a nationwide strategy to support Qatari SMEs, Qatar Shell partnered with QDB to promote and accelerate the development of the private sector in Qatar. “Through its support of local SMEs, Qatar Shell aims to contribute significantly to the economic pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030 (QNV), while helping SMEs raise their operating standards in order to fulfill global requirements,” says Amro Ahmed, Qatar Local Content and SME Manager of Qatar Shell. “We believe that by supporting local SMEs, we are actively contributing to the Qatar National Vision 2030. Localizing elements of the national supply chain is one of the most important and effective methods of achieving this, as the private sector is of invaluable significance to Qatar’s growing population and economy. Also, we are confident in the quality and capabilities of local suppliers currently in the market place and believe that providing them with opportunities makes good business sense and can add value to our operations.”
Ahmed says that by working with and supporting local companies, Qatar Shell is ensuring its business continuity through the development of a robust supply chain, both strengthened and streamlined, while also reducing risks. For instance, the operation of the Pearl GTL plant remains steady with a minimum downtime due to the shorter delivery timings of locally manufactured goods and services that replace imported ones. Ahmed strongly believes SMEs are key to fostering a robust private sector that will reduce the burden on the public sector employment and help diversify Qatar’s economy.
“In his foreword of the Qatar National Vision, His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, says Qatar must invest in world class infrastructure to create a dynamic and more diversified economy in which the private sector plays a prominent role. Therefore, making business opportunities available to the local private sector is a strategic decision for Qatar Shell, and one that directly contributes to the economic pillar of the Qatar National Vision,” reiterates Ahmed. Specifically, the initiative is about localizing Qatar’s supply chain to help diversify the Qatari economy and reduce the reliance on international trade and employment.
“We are proud to see a significant increase in the number of Qatari SMEs and entrepreneurs who are showing interest in joining Qatar Shell’s supply chain, largely due to the successful stories of the awarded SMEs, since the launch of the initiative in 2013,” he adds. In addition to this, Qatar Shell and QDB provide Qatari SMEs with invaluable knowledge and expertise, resources, networking capabilities, associations, mentoring, support and access to national and regional markets. In other words, SMEs have the potential to grow beyond national success and repatriate profits back into the Qatari economy.
In 2013, Qatar Shell signed an agreement with QDB to provide Qatari SMEs access to business opportunities at the Pearl GTL. More than 100 local SMEs and entrepreneurs participated in the first workshop where attendees were also briefed on Qatar Shell’s tendering process, the challenges and opportunities in the SME sector, and the financial support made available to them by QDB. “Following the launch of the first Qatari SME Business Opportunities Workshop, three local SMEs were awarded with contracts; and in 2014 five new local companies were added to Qatar Shell’s supply chain,” adds Ahmed.
By way of example, Ahmed illustrates the following as a quick update of one of 2013 business opportunities. Qatar Industrial Equipment (QIE), winners of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) business opportunity in 2013 received accreditation for their own safety standards by applying OHSAS 18001 standards, followed by international accreditation for product quality and design in 2015– after complying with Pearl GTL’s safety standards in 2014. As a result of these achievements, QIE started delivering to Pearl GTL and also raised their profile to a level that brought interest from prospective companies locally and regionally, allowing their expansion by way of a new factory in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, and a sales office in Saudi Arabia.
“Now in its third year, we have increased the number of the business opportunities to seven, again due to the significant increase in the number of Qatari SMEs and entrepreneurs demonstrating their interest,” says Ahmed. The successfully awarded local companies are given between 12 and 18 months, if needed, in which to build their capacity to handle the contracts.
It’s also worth noting that this year Qatar Shell and QDB won the Social Development Center’s Reyada Outstanding Entrepreneurial Support Award for their role in developing Qatari entrepreneurs and SMEs. “This award is a clear demonstration of this successful partnership in developing Qatar’s economy and private sector, as well as delivering sustainable contributions to positively impact Qatar.” Qatar Shell is wholly committed to supporting the QNV 2030 in each of its four pillars, social, human, environmental and economic, by working with Qatari partners to create and deliver sustainable contributions to positively impact Qatari society.
As the largest international investor in Qatar, Qatar Shell works in partnership with Qatar Petroleum to develop the country’s energy industry providing a significant contribution to the economic pillar of the QNV 2030. “Through our Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs we seek to go beyond philanthropic donations, to contribute strategically with our partners to the QNV 2030 in ways that generate measurable social impact and link to our core business strengths. We therefore look for opportunities to distinctively contribute our innovation or other areas of expertise such as project management skills in addition to any financial support.”
The company’s programs include The Qatar Shell Research Technology Centre, which provides research and innovative solutions to energy and environment challenges faced by Qatar. Additionally, through TAFAWOQ, Enterprise Challenge Qatar program, university partnerships and Road Safety initiative, Qatar Shell is contributing to the development of a knowledge-based society, thus positively influence the country. The social development pillar of the QNV203 emphasizes the importance of a good quality of life, social support and protection for all of Qatar’s citizens. Qatar Shell therefore supports this pillar through its Road Safety and KOORA TIME initiatives.
“Finally, as a long-term investor, Qatar Shell seeks to create a positive legacy– a contribution to the Qatar National Vision 2030 that we and our partners can be proud of.” Qatar Shell and QDB invest a great deal of time, energy and effort into supporting the SME sector, which they have identified as personifying a crucial element in Qatar’s future success. “In addition to the advisory support and financial incentives provided by QDB, Qatar Shell provides the awarded local companies with a period of 18 months, if needed to build their capacity to handle the contract awarded to them.”
In addition, Qatar Shell provides an on-going support and assessment to ensure the company will provide the required quality services. “Also, a large part of winning Shell’s business is the ability to adhere to our technical and Health, Safety, Security, and Environment (HSSE) standards. It is therefore of the utmost importance that every one of our suppliers and contractors is as committed to safety as we are at Shell– ensuring that absolutely nobody comes to harm as a result of our business.” Ahmed further adds that to see the evolutionary process of SMBs flourishing with their help is extremely rewarding: “This initiative is more than just a question of financial gain and the value of tenders; it’s about the value of production and the sustainable impact it creates.