|Abstract||The third pillar of Qatar National Vision 2030 - Economic Development, set a goal for the non-hydrocarbon sector to raise its contribution to GDP significantly by 2030. In order to accomplish this goal, economic diversification with a focus on enhancing the role of the private sector and maintain its competitiveness is a key priority.
Entrepreneurship plays a major role in shaping and developing a diversified economy in conjunction with the growing role of SME’s in the country in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. The diversification role of SMEs and Start-ups becomes more important under current economic conditions where oil and gas prices have dropped significantly. H.E. Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani, Qatar Prime Minister, at the opening session of the 3rd Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum on 7-8 March 2016 in Doha, emphasized the urgency and importance of the Qatar policy makers in supporting the growth of SMEs and Start-ups in Qatar. In line with this message, this research aims to conduct a review of current regulations in supporting the growth of SMEs and Start-ups in Qatar.
To evaluate the most significant issues that are currently facing SMEs and Start-ups, a mixed of qualitative and quantitative methods known as Triangulation method was used. It started with preliminary interviews of nine Economics experts and Researchers, followed by the quantitative descriptive survey collected from 40 respondents, and finally a qualitative in-depth semi-structured interview with eleven selected entrepreneurs. The questionnaire and the interview complemented each other and helped the researcher to understand and gain a deeper insight into the issues that are being faced by the entrepreneurs relating to the current rules and regulations and how they should help in promoting, starting, growing and sustaining their businesses in Qatar.
This research will contribute considerably towards the pertinent Qatar stakeholders’ understanding of the private sector’s current landscape. The research result identified several external and internal factors that are still seen as barriers to the growth of SMEs and Start-ups in Qatar. It suggested some restructuring to the current laws and regulations relating to SMEs and Start-ups to make those regulations more accessible, more transparent, more consistently applied and easier to implement. The research study also demonstrates scope for Qatari policy makers to increase the urgency of their efforts in promoting SMEs and Start-ups through the implementation of entrepreneurship education, as well as to increase public awareness campaign of government and quasi-government initiatives supporting SMEs and Start-ups through several media of communications. Research recommendations based on findings will be forwarded to the policy makers in Qatar in order to find proper measures for implementation to support the development of its private sector.