Financial technology companies are setting up their businesses in the country after it introduced progressive investment laws and regulations, according to an official dealmaker for the UK government.
Speaking to The Peninsula during the 3rd SMEs Conference, held in Doha recently, Alpesh Patel, a well-known dealmaker for the UK’s Department for International Trade’s Global Entrepreneur Program, confirmed that Qatar’s goal to become a regional base for Fintech, and its business-friendly regulations, are attracting more UK firms to establish their business operations in the country.
“Overall, from the embassy, there are 700 UK companies registered here. I am looking to bring about 10 to 12 more in the next three months or maybe sooner. These are scale up companies of the highest quality. So the kinds of companies that I work with are the ones, which by our estimation, are likely to be worth hundreds of millions of US dollars within five to three years.”
Patel, a Financial Times FTSE forecaster and an experienced hedge fund manager, revealed that he’s helping several UK firms set up operations in Doha. These companies provide various services including blockchain platforms, Fintech, oil and gas, Cleantech, and social impact programs and investments.
“The kinds of UK companies we’re seeing setting up in Qatar are [focused on offering services involving] blockchain, and I brought such a company called Finboot. We’ve also got an air purification company called Air for Life. They already have a tentative order for 50,000 air masks. And their technology comes out of NASA. They then set up in the UK, and now they’re looking to set up here.”
Patel added that there’s also a blockchain and Fintech firm, Worldwide Generation, which will be operating out of Qatar. Another company, which specializes in lending algorithms, and helps banks enhance their SME credit lending, is establishing its business in Qatar as well, Patel said.
Commenting on the mutually beneficial trade relations between Qatar and the UK, Patel remarked:
“What’s interesting for us is, Brexit for us has had no negative impact in these technology companies going global. Equally, the blockade of Qatar has had no negative impact at all for these companies coming over here. So in some sense, both our countries have similarities of what’s going on.”
“The bilateral relationship is so strong. That resulted in trade and investments still continuing in the same level of strength and energy. Actually more so, because Qatar is more in the news because of the World Cup, the free zones, and the technology base that it’s creating. And so we want more British companies to also help build up that technology base and mentor companies and lift them up as well locally.”