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IFC Helps Support Smaller Business in Qatar with New Web Platform


In Cairo:
Riham Mustafa
Phone: +202 24 619 140
E-mail: RMustafa@ifc.org

Doha, Qatar, April 3, 2012—IFC, a member of the World Bank group, and Qatar Development Bank today launched the SME Toolkit, an online platform that will help smaller businesses improve their performance while supporting the development of firms outside of Qatar’s oil and gas sector.

Qatar Development Bank will oversee a localized, freely-available version of IFC’s SME Toolkit web platform in both English and Arabic. The SME Toolkit offers entrepreneurs free, online, and around-the-clock access to expert information, interactive tools and educational resources to help them implement sound business management practices, access finance, and enter new markets. Available at www.qatar.smetoolkit.org, it is part of the Qatari government’s effort to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially those outside of the hydrocarbon sector.

“SMEs all over the world, and particularly in developing economies, face challenges in accessing information relevant to making sound business decisions,” said Mansoor E. Al Mahmoud, CEO of Qatar Development Bank. “We envisage that this toolkit will serve as a one-stop shop for private sector enterprises and entrepreneurs in Qatar who want to access relevant, up-to-date information to start, manage and grow their businesses.”

IFC’s SME Toolkit was launched in 2002 and is available in 32 countries and 18 languages. Its local websites receive a combined 5 million unique visitors annually. In many places it is the largest online business support resource in the local language.

“Smaller businesses are a vital part of all economies in this region,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “This toolkit will give them the support and know-how they need to grow and create jobs, helping drive economic growth.”

In 2006, IFC partnered with IBM to strengthen and expand the SME Toolkit’s capabilities. To date, IBM has invested more than $3 million to co-develop the product on an open-source platform, offering innovative and collaborative features.

“We are proud of our cooperation with IFC and Qatar Development Bank in developing the SME Toolkit which will very much help small and medium enterprises,” said Nadim Nakkash, IBM Territory Manager in Qatar.


About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org

For more information about Qatar Development Bank, please visit www.qdb.qa
For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com. IBM’s Corporate Responsibility Report is available at: www.ibm.com/responsibility/