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Deep Impact - Football, Business, and Investment in Qatar

Qatar is a country on a mission: to protect its economy while making it grow even stronger at the same time. They say that the best form of defense is attack, and Qatar is doing this by embarking upon a major investment drive this year.

And as entrepreneurs know, where there’s an investment drive, there are opportunities for business.

What has brought about this approach?

One factor has been the desire to reduce the economy’s dependence on oil and gas, which provide a large amount of the country’s wealth. Variations in the price of hydrocarbons can give the country an unwanted shake and Qatar feels that the more it can diversify its income, the easier it can absorb any future economic shocks.

The other has been Qatar’s successful bid to host the 2022 World Cup. Qatar is getting ready to accommodate the greatest football tournament on the planet and you can be sure there will be no expenses spared.

What does it mean for businesses?

It means that if you’re wondering where to start your next business venture, Qatar is a land of opportunity. The World Cup announcement has created a wealth of opportunities for businesses who can contribute to the country’s infrastructure. Airports, sea ports, power generation, education, hospitals, financial services and property development all offer opportunities for business, and Qatar has become more receptive to those who wish to offer business bank accounts.

As part of its 2022 World Cup preparations, Qatar is making big investments in its infrastructure. Thirty-six billion dollars is going into a metro system in Doha that will link up all nine of the stadiums that are participating in the tournament, and a new airport has just been built. A further 20 billion is going into the country’s roads. 

Pitching for business in Qatar

To attract more foreign investment, Qatar has opened itself up by relaxing some of its laws regarding the startup of companies by foreign nationals. Originally, non-nationals who wanted to start up a business in Qatar had to go into partnership with a Qatari national. Worse still, this national would own the majority share of the business. Thankfully, that’s no longer the case, provided your business operates within one of the following sectors:

• IT
• Sports, culture, and entertainment
• Distribution
• Agriculture
• Industry
• Tourism
• Development and exploitation of natural resources.

When thinking about starting up your business, it’s worth taking into account the preferences of the Qatar Chamber of Commerce. The chamber prefers projects that fully optimize use of raw materials, that introduce new products or export products, or which employ new technologies. Not only that, the chamber smiles kindly on projects that involve leaders in industry setting up their business, or part of their business, in Qatar, and also on business projects that will provide Qatari nationals with training or qualifications.

Qatar is counting the days as it builds itself up to the 2022 World Cup, an event that is proving a blessing for its economy and an opportunity for foreign entrepreneurs who are looking for new business opportunities. The country’s investment drive is equipping Qatar both to deal better with economic shocks and accommodate all the football fans that will come Qatar’s way. Then while they cheer their national sides on to victory, Qatar can celebrate as its economy goes from strength to strength.

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