Doha: There are more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Qatar now shifting into online stores and are now trying to build a strong online presence; an entrepreneurial move brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic which will likely fast-track the Ministry of Transportation and Communications’ (MoTC) Digital Transformation of SMEs (DTSME) programme.
The DTSME programme, which was launched in 2018, aims to help SMEs in advancing their businesses by using technology, as well as in order to support the country’s digital transformation.
New Waves Qatar, which has been ranked Number 1 in digital marketing in the country, has been working closely with the MoTC on the said programme. For the past three years, New Waves Founder and CEO Ahmed Hassan (pictured) has been training entrepreneurs on how to create digital platforms for their businesses, reiterating that an online presence is a must and no longer an option to survive in the market.
“There has been an increasing requirement for many businesses to shift into online stores. Companies with limited resources are hesitant to spend on online marketing, but are more willing to spend on creating online stores because this is the only solution for them. This is what we find in the market now. We have been receiving inquiries on a daily basis for the creation of online stores and e-commerce solutions. Some of them have already decided to create e-shops and are asking for prices, solutions, and after sales services, while others are still contemplating about opening up e-shops and online businesses. Some companies have also been inquiring about online solutions to get paid for their services online,” Hassan said in an interview with The Peninsula.
According to Qatar Development Bank (QDB) officials, of the 25,000 private sector businesses currently registered in Qatar, more than 96 percent are classified as SMEs. It has also been reported that of the total 750 firms registered under the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), all the 700 companies are classified as SMEs.
“Companies need to find alternatives to reach their clients to keep their business going. Most shops now either have their own applications or use other applications to maintain their clients through home delivery. In partnership with the MoTC, we have been providing free consultations for businesses to survive the pandemic. The Ministry has already sent us some companies or businesses in Qatar who need help in their marketing strategies and advise on how to promote and operate online,” Hassan added.
According to Action Digital, a partner of Action Global Communications Qatar, retail businesses are also moving online.