Qatar – a middle-eastern country currently flaunting the lowest unemployment rates of 0.5%, one of the highest per capita incomes, and a striking annual GDP of more than 10.7%. The region consistently ranks third among emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa, 14th among global markets, and 3rd amidst easily accessible international markets. These appealing facts and figures make Qatar an ideal and welcoming destination for both aspiring and seasoned entrepreneurs.
On the surface, Qatar’s geographical location might not sound attractive to many: A flat, low-lying desert that rises into a central limestone plateau in the east. However, it is remarkably rich in oil and natural gas. These natural resources account for more than 60% of the GDP and 70% of the government’s revenue. Hence, despite the country’s modest size of about 11.571Kilometer squares and various sanctions by its neighbors, it is ranked amongst the wealthiest countries by renowned bodies like the IMF, UN, and World Bank.
Moreover, the government’s support and tax incentives such as 0% income, capital gains, and import taxes plus a significantly reduced 10% corporate tax and 5% customs duties make it commercial heaven for new small businesses. As a result, 96% of registered private companies in Qatar are classified as small and medium-sized enterprises.
Surprisingly, recent local and foreign investments have not been restricted to Qatar’s conventional oil and gas, electricity, or rail industries but have expanded to include lifestyle products and services.
Recently the most attractive industries for new startups have been:
Software and mobile app development
AI and IT startups have recently become one of Qatar’s most thriving businesses. The public’s growing interest in technologically advanced apps and online services has created a need for distinctive and inventive app creation, prompting entrepreneurs to dive into the sea of possibilities and offer a variety of amusing and educational apps and software. As a result, numerous award-winning mobile apps have been introduced, as discussed in the sections that follow.
In Qatar, rents have recently increased due to housing shortages in apartments and villas. The supply of new residential dwellings has risen in recent years. Additionally, this tendency will continue throughout the current year due to the rise in immigration, increasing population, and an emerging working class seeking a better standard of living. As a result, opportunities will be available for new startups.
Qatar is a country with an abundance of automobiles. The majority of people struggle to resolve their car-related concerns. As a result, establishing a garage in Qatar may be an excellent choice. It is one of Qatar’s 2019 most favorable business opportunities. Vehicle repair is one of the most profitable and simple auto service-related business ideas that an entrepreneur may successfully establish.
Qatar is a technologically and economically advanced country. The population needs maintenance services from time to time for its residential and commercial needs. The average Qatari uses technological gadgets daily. And as these instruments are utilized, they will require repair. Maintaining installation and infrastructure is less expensive than replacing them. Hence businesses that provide maintenance services for mechanical, air conditioning, electrical, plumbing, and other infrastructure have enormous prospects in Qatar.
Despite the prosperous opportunities available in almost every sector, the most recent successful lifestyle startups have been seen in healthcare, entertainment, tourism, and their integration with technology.
Let us explore just a few of these startups.
Perhaps one of the most innovative startups in Qatar has been this WIFI advertising platform. It offers free Wifi Hotspot networks for locations such as coffee shops, parks, and dispensaries, among others, where visitors can use the internet for free while viewing adverts. So far, the platform has established Internet hotspots in 35 major public locations, including medical amenities, cafés, and other locations. Every month, over 400,000 people view the company’s login and redirection page advertisements. In 2014, this tech startup won the award for Qatar’s Best ICT Startups.
Along with advancements in athletics and health, Qatari entrepreneurs also focus on integrating medical care and technology. It is critical to make medical care and guidance more accessible to the public. Meddy is a virtual health assistant that enables the public to connect with the Find Best Doctors, Gynecologists, Dentists based on specialty, gender, and language. Meddy has enjoyed enormous success and won many awards and recognitions over the last few years. It was ranked 10th in the Forbes Middle-East 2017 ‘50 startups to watch in the Arab world’, received the 2016 Startup of The Year award at the Qatar startups Agility Awards, and got the ICT Exporter prize of The Year at the 2018 Qatar IT Business Awards.
According to Forbes, in less than two years since its founding, a Qatar-based delivery application has risen to the position of the fastest-growing technology firm in the country. With the implementation of the latest innovations and the diversification of its offerings, this Doha-based e-commerce firm was able to attract more than 100,000 consumers. Moreover, Snoonu expects to be able to rapidly extend its activities across the country thanks to the investment it raised in 2021.
Targeting the area of entertainment and fitness, Urban Point is a mobile app that has ventured into the field of offering the public enticing discounted vouchers and entertaining monthly contests where the users themselves are the judges.
This application offers discounts and coupons for different restaurants, health clubs, and entertainment activity clubs. It has achieved popularity primarily due to its ‘Buy One Get One deal’. This mobile app encourages healthy living by offering additional discounts to users who demonstrate progress in their workout regimens. The service is provided on an affordable monthly subscription basis. Additionally, the client may receive enhanced benefits as a result of their lifestyle adjustments. These kinds of startups benefit Qatar’s general economy by promoting local enterprises and creating job prospects.
Droobi Health is an innovative way of diabetes management through a mobile app. The unhealthy eating habits of the modern era and the poor work-life necessitated a quick and easy-to-use method of monitoring the most common health conditions related to blood sugars, insulin levels, and other chronic illnesses. The platform tries to empower people to control their diabetes by using behavioral sciences to motivate people to change their lifestyles and habits. Users can easily enter their health records and monitor their progress over a 16-week extended Health Program. Additionally, it enables users to communicate with a nutritionist to avoid future ailments associated with weight control and diabetes. Finally, users can use the app to track their daily meals and physical activity with Google Fit. The application won the Tech Startup of The Year award in 2018.
Qatar’s political stability and economic growth are a golden opportunity for all entrepreneurs across the globe. Although many countries like the UK and the USA are hubs of great options for startups, Qatar’s favorable government policies, tax incentives, and increasing individual wealth make it a mouth-watering market for local and foreign investors, businesses, innovators, and aspiring entrepreneurs.
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