By Andy Sambidge
UK tycoon and TV star James Caan says Gulf state's growth is 'envy of Western economy'
Qatar should build on its rapid economic growth to become the Middle East's hub for entrepreneurs, James Caan, one of the former stars of the BBC series Dragons' Den has said.
Caan, considered one of the UK’s most successful entrepreneurs, said he was inspired by what the gulf state has achieved, claiming it was the "envy of Western economy".
The businessman turned TV star, who is CEO of venture capital and investment firm Hamilton Bradshaw, made his comments during a keynote speech at the Qatar Investor Window Conference, Qatar daily The Peninsula reported on Tuesday.
“I believe that Qatar should become the Silicon Valley of this region. While Dubai has positioned itself as the travel and tourism hub of the region and Abu Dhabi as the region’s cultural hub, Qatar should become the region's entrepreneurial hub,” he was quoted as saying.
Caan said the country now needed to translate the country’s growth into entrepreneurship to create enough jobs in the future to sustain the expansion.
“For me this can be done not on dependency on the public sector but through creating new business areas for new economies to emerge,” he said.
He cited infrastructure, education, IT, logistics and media as some of the areas to tap.
He said creating an entrepreneurial culture has to begin in school through identifying and nurturing young people’s talent and developing entrepreneur courses and programmes in universities.
With millions of viewers in over 20 countries, Dragons’ Den features entrepreneurs pitching their business ideas in order to secure investment finance from a panel of investors.
Caan invested in 14 companies during his time on the show.
I recommend James Caan looks into the unbelievable amount of red tape required by both Qatari's and foreigners trying to set up any business in Qatar. Totally stifling particularly in the education sector where there is a huge demand for schooling. Every aspect is regulated and restricted by the SEC, plus the sponsorship requirements can kill any development. I speak from many years of experience having owned a very large educational establishment only to be cut out by the local partner who had no previous financial involvement. Sadly I am not alone in my experience!