Over 200 business men and women representing a variety of nationalities and industries in Qatar came together for Back 2 Business Networking Event at W Doha on 29 October.
Back 2 Business (B2B) takes place annually and brings together European and American business councils, chambers and businesses on one platform where individuals representing different business sectors in Qatar can introduce their services or products to the market, make new contacts and develop new business opportunities.
The Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar and the German Industry and Commerce Office Qatar are the organising founders of the event. The 15th edition included the participation of other chambers, councils and embassies such as the Qatari Businessmen Association, American Chamber, Qatar British Business Forum (QBBF), Maison de le France, Spanish Business Council, Irish Professional Business Network, Dutch Business Council, Swiss Business Council Qatar, Belgian and Swedish Chamber of Commerce.
In her opening speech, Palma Libotte, Founder/Chairperson of the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar and B2B, said that this is another great, successful edition in the 15 years that they have been running the event.
And I have to say, in 15 years, Qatar has gone a very long way and subverted every rule of the economic cycle. In Qatar, the expansion cycle lasts longer, the pressured cycle is shorter and then the recovery is incredible. The capacity of the international business community to adapt to the new sectors and seize new opportunities is incredible. I really have to say there is a great vibe and energy in this country. There was never a dull moment here from 2006 with the Asian Games, we went on with the growth of infrastructure to railways to stadiums to Qatar 2022 and then Qatar 2030 National Vision.’
Libotte also said that the business community always stood together, expats and Qataris, alike. They never surrendered. She added:
We are still believing and investing in this country and we have a very positive attitude. We’re very grateful to what this country has given us so far and as expats living here for a long time, I’m sure they understand that we’re a privileged category. We are ready and eager to serve this new wave of energy in Qatar, there are new opportunities and of course, there will be new sectors that are rising.’
Rabab El Tanamly, Project Manager of the German Industry and Commerce Office Qatar, said that the good thing about the event is that it’s growing.
It’s happening despite all the different economic cycles that are happening and the business community is very much committed to the vision for Qatar and to enforcing the business and business relations.’
As part of new business opportunities and developments in Qatar, B2B welcomed guest speaker, Deputy CEO of newly established Free Zones Authority, Abdullah Hamad Al Misned. He said:
‘Thank you for this great event. The attendance and energy in the room, you can feel it, it very palpable. This is the next step in Qatar’s effort to continue to expand and to be an attractive place for investments, whether foreign investments or local investments.’
Hamad Abdul Aziz Al Mohannadi, Business Development Manager, Free Zones Authority, said:
‘We are from a newly established entity called Free Zones Authority and what we found very useful is to connect with business communities in the country who act as our ambassadors and introduce us to companies to attract them to come to invest in Qatar. They serve as the best ambassadors because they are people who’ve been in Qatar, know the system and can testify to what Qatar is. Attracting foreign direct investment into Qatar is a new thing so they’re helping us better navigate what are the companies that are a little more courageous to take that leap of faith and come to Qatar.’
Back 2 Business was launched in 2004 and has become the most popular business networking event in Qatar, engaging over 500 participants per year. Attendees represent prime business sectors in Qatar such as construction, oil and gas, professional services, education, technology, healthcare, transportation and logistics, finance, hospitality and more. They are invited from mailing lists of each business association and their embassies. Many ambassadors attend the event as well. The attendees are identified by coloured badges, each colour represents a business sector to facilitate communication and networking.
First time attendee Claire Holloway, Marketing and Business Development Manager at law firm Al Tamimi & Co, said:
There’s a big turnout. I’m just networking, trying to see what the Italian has been working with. There a lot of international companies for restructuring so we’re just trying to know what new embassies and companies fall under which chambers.’
Attendee, Dr Olga Revina, Founder and Chairperson of the Investors in People Advisor at the Qatar Ukraine Business Council (QUBC), attended B2B to introduce QUBC with the aim to unite with other business councils present in the gathering and to meet more Qataris. As QUBC is a new business council in Qatar, it aims to support cooperation between Ukraine and Qatar.
Another frequent attendee, Fadey AbiDaoud, Instructor at School of Business Studies at the College of North Atlantic Qatar (CNA-Q), said:
I find it a great way to network with many industries and get to know what’s going on in Doha, get to see what people are talking about and what kind of activities are being generated. It’s gotten a lot bigger. The last time I was here, I don’t remember this many people. This is excellent. I see a wide variety of people from all sorts of different industries and it’s excellent that everyone is getting together.’
Kalyan T, Operations Manager at Q Travel and Tours, attended B2B for the first time to introduce the travel agency as members.
What I see here are people from different councils – France, Spain, England and so on – and we’d like to meet them and we’d like to meet companies from their countries operating in Qatar. We’d like to connect with them and see how we can work together, how we can support their countries here in Qatar.’
Jocelyn Seran, Corporate Sales Executive at Turkish Airlines, another regular, said that being in the aviation industry, which is more customer service oriented, B2B is a good avenue for Turkish Airlines to introduce their company to new members and get new clients.
There’s not a lot of options for an airline, at the moment with the current situation in the country, but there’s definitely more opportunities for Turkish Airlines to be looked upon. So this kind of event is actually a very good avenue for people who are looking for networking connections, contacts and clients.’
Shaijan MO, Regional Director of Lulu Group International, said, he saw a lot of new faces this time.
All the business councils are here so you can interact with people and explore all the business opportunities. For us, we like to know what people think about our organisation and contact them for their involvement’
The 15th edition of Back 2 Business included Al Maha Insurance as the silver sponsor, Qatar Airways as the official airline partner, Marhaba Information Guide as the media partner, and W Doha as the hosting and hospitality sponsor.
Author: Ola Diab
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