Launching “Small Steps Towards Success” to Support Entrepreneurs

Written By Mark

The International Trade Centre’s SheTrades initiative, Visa, the world’s leading payments company, and Qatar FinTech Hub, part of Qatar Development Bank, announced the launch of the next phase of their partnership to support young and women entrepreneurs in Qatar and Kuwait.
The Small Steps to Success programme offers a comprehensive curriculum covering entrepreneurship development, digitalisation, innovation and soft skills, and is specifically designed for young and female entrepreneurs. The project aims to foster a supportive entrepreneurship environment through dedicated peer-to-peer sessions, networking opportunities and collaborative work. It will also empower women in entrepreneurship by working with financial institutions to promote inclusive practices and provide financial literacy training to male and female entrepreneurs.
Youth- and women-led SMEs are playing an increasingly important role in the GCC economy, with 53% of young Arabs in the region planning to start their own businesses in the next five years, according to the 15th ASDA’A BCW Arab Youth Survey. In 2020, McKinsey predicted that within a decade, the proportion of women in professional and technical roles in the Middle East will double due to digital transformation and entrepreneurship.

Empowering Entrepreneurs
In this context, ITC SheTrades and Visa are expanding their efforts in Qatar and Kuwait to support entrepreneurs to be at the forefront of economic growth and innovation in the GCC countries.
In Qatar, Visa and ITC will partner with Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH), Qatar Development Bank’s dedicated fintech incubator and accelerator programme, to empower early-stage entrepreneurs and fintech startups.
QFTH will play a strategic role in supporting Visa and ITC’s efforts to empower entrepreneurs by leveraging its role as the leading FinTech supporter for Qatar’s entrepreneurial sector. Under the partnership, QFTH will help equip young entrepreneurs with the skills, tools and connections needed to succeed through workshops, webinars, training courses, networking events and other activities.

Promote innovation
Dr. Hamad Salem Mejegheer, Executive Director of Advisory Services and Business Incubators at Qatar Development Bank, said: “This initiative is in line with Qatar Development Bank’s long-term efforts to provide all necessary support for entrepreneurs to achieve success. The initiative is also in line with our vision of promoting innovation and developing the entrepreneurship ecosystem to benefit all creative projects, contributing to strengthening Qatar’s position as a leading regional and global hub for financial technology, and supporting efforts to build a strong digital economy, thus enhancing the goals of the Third National Development Strategy and economic diversification efforts in Qatar.”
Skills development
“Through this partnership, we will help equip more women and young entrepreneurs in Qatar and Kuwait with the skills and networks they need to succeed in the digital economy,” said Shashank Singh, Visa’s Vice President and General Manager for Qatar and Kuwait. “Our collaborative efforts with ITC and QDB are a testament to our belief in the transformative power of digital inclusion and its ability to create a multiplier effect of growth and opportunity for everyone, everywhere.”
“We are strengthening our partnership with Visa and QDB to see more women and young people driving innovation and sustainability in Qatar and Kuwait,” said Pamela Coke Hamilton, Executive Director, ITC. “From online business courses to funding opportunities and networking, we are taking a comprehensive and tailored approach to provide the support they need.”
Applications for the program are now open. Selected participants will receive support in identifying key challenges and opportunities for growing their businesses and will have access to an e-learning package covering topics such as e-commerce strategies, sustainable business practices, and financial readiness. These courses are designed to lay the foundation for entrepreneurs to continue developing their businesses.