By Letizia Faina, Business Development Manager, The Links Group – Qatar.
Recently, Qatar hosted two events for foreign trade delegations. The first event, named Back2Business, was organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, and the second event was organised by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and took place alongside the Milipol Exhibition.
Back2Business is an annual business networking event initially launched by the German Business Council Qatar (GBCQ) in 2004. As the event increased in popularity among Qatar’s business community, the Italian and the American Business Councils joined the organising committee, which helped attract some 800 participants in 2011. Since then, event participation has continued to grow and more foreign business councils continue to lend their support.
This year, the Back2Business steering committee was represented by the Qatar Australia New Zealand Business Association (QANZBA); Qatar British Business Forum (QFFB); Dutch Business Council Qatar (DBCQ); German Business Council Qatar (GBCQ); Italian Chamber of Commerce Qatar (IBCQ); Scandinavian Business Council Qatar (SBCQ); Spanish Business Council (SBC), Turkish Businessmen Association (TBA); Qatari French Business Club (QFBC), and Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA).
As part of this year’s event, the Italian Chamber of Commerce organised a business breakfast the day after for a group of 10 Italian companies representing different business sectors such as design & furniture, quarrying, construction materials, marble & granites and general industrial services.
The Links Group was delighted to support the event as main sponsor. Recognised as the foremost company formation specialist in the Middle East, we were asked to present to the delegation The Links Group’s business model and explain the fundamental role that we play in the Qatari market. After a brief introduction from Palma Libotte, Chairman of the Italian Chamber Of Commerce, we were also invited to talk about the practical aspects of doing business in Qatar and share an overview about The Links Group and our services.
Two weeks later, The Links Group was pleased to support another networking event as co-sponsor. On 19th October we met with a delegation of 40 UK business representatives visiting Qatar for the Milipol Exhibition, a trade show focused on internal state security which attracts strong participation from global companies in the field. Wayne Merrick, General Manager – Qatar, attended the event on behalf of The Links Group.
He was joined by many VIPs and senior executives, including: HMA Nicholas Hopton, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Qatar; Chris Ford, Police and Security Trade Advisor, UKTI; Lee Keane, Partner, Clyde & Co; Kevin Smith, Training Expert, Ministry of Interior Police Training Institute; and Paul Gilligan, Commercial Director – Middle East, Octink.
As the trade delegation was not familiar with the Qatari market, Wayne was invited to share an overview of Qatar’s economic position and the vast number of business opportunities available in the country. Particular attention was paid to the differences between individual and corporate partners, and what this means for foreign companies establishing a commercial presence in Qatar.
While Qatar’s commercial licensing requirements continue to deter some foreign companies from entering the market, it is important to know that working with the right company formation specialist on the ground will ensure the optimum protection of a foreign entity’s 49% shareholding.
The benefits of The Links Group’s corporate nominee structure were explained and well received, and we are already consulting some of these companies on their market requirements.