Doha, Qatar: The third annual GWC Forum, titled ‘Fostering Legacy – Empowering MSMEs in the Digital Era’, was a major success, attracting a high-level audience of experts from government, the private sector, and academia from Qatar and the region.

The event was held over two days in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MOCI) and QNB Group. Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) was the research partner, while Oxford Business Group was the intelligence partner, and Q-Live was the gift partner.

Ahead of the forum, GWC and Qatar Development Bank (QDB) announced a cooperation agreement with which will see the entities work together to support MSMEs in Qatar.

The hybrid forum, which was moderated by Al Jazeera Network’s Senior News Anchor, Emily Angwin, and streamed live on YouTube, featured keynote speeches, panel sessions, and workshops. Delegates explored the legacy of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and discussed how Qatar’s enterprising spirit will inspire growth across the region as the nation builds towards National Vision 2030.

Ranjeev Menon, Group CEO, GWC, said: “This is an exciting time for MSMEs in Qatar. As we work towards Qatar National Vision 2030, we are seeing strong growth and expansion as the country prioritises the development of the private sector.”

Events like the GWC Forum highlight the important role MSMEs are playing in boosting local and regional economies as businesses continue to leverage Qatar’s successful hosting of the FIFA World Cup and position themselves to support future mega events. This year’s forum shone a light on innovation, digital growth, and the potential of AI to supercharge businesses and help them achieve new heights.

Menon continued: “I would like to thank our strategic partners for their unwavering support. By continuing to work together, we will provide a strong foundation for MSMEs to flourish.”

The event kicked off with a keynote speech from Dr Hamad Mejegheer, Executive Director of Advisory & Incubation, QDB. Dr Hamad spoke about the landscape for MSMEs and outlined the various financial and advisory products QDB has developed to support enterprises in Qatar.

Dr Hamad said: “Qatar’s journey in hosting the FIFA World Cup was nothing short of remarkable – transforming a sporting tournament into a cultural event that resonated globally and left a lasting impact on our country that accelerated the growth of our entrepreneurship eco-system.”

The first panel session, titled ‘Enabling Growth’, explored the impact of the FIFA World Cup on regional growth and sustainability, with particular focus on empowering MSMEs through sustainable logistics, the circular economy, education, and attracting foreign investment for long-term prosperity. Contributors included Syed Maaz, GWC; Dr Christos Anagnostopoulos, HBKU; Eng. Salim Al Thuhli, Khazaen; and Joelle Yazbeck, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia.

The second panel session, titled ‘Digital MSMEs’, explored tech and innovation to boost MSMEs in the digital era, leveraging AI, exceptional customer experiences, and e-procurement for better service, increased sales, and operational efficiency, leading to prosperity in the digital landscape. Contributors included Jawaher Al Khuzaei, GWC; Aysha Al Romaihi, QDB; and Mohammed Al Delaimi, SkipCash.

Jawaher Al Khuzaei, Chief Marketing Officer, GWC, said: “AI is not a new thing – it was a term coined in 1957 and has been developing ever since. Nowadays, it’s affecting every industry. In marketing, it is affecting social media and digital media – people are using Chat GPT to enhance content. Research that might have taken two hours now takes seconds. AI is also helping in terms of targeting the right audience. AI when combined with data analytics – if you put them both together – this is the future.”

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