Qatar has long been home to a rich and thriving economy. In recent years, however, its rulers have taken steps to diversify away from the oil and gas sector. As a result, many entrepreneurs are seeing success in varied fields from hospitality and healthcare to technology and tourism.
One such field, IT consultancy, offers an incredible opportunity for entrepreneurs with relevant skills to start a business with low costs and minimal hassle. In this article, I’ll cover the key considerations of starting this kind of business, including:
- • An overview of the IT industry in Qatar
- • Benefits of starting an IT consulting business in Qatar
- • Cost of starting an IT consulting company in Qatar
- • Types of company setup in Qatar
- • Steps to start a business in Qatar
- • How to grow your IT business
- • How Creative Zone can help with business setup in Qatar
An overview of the IT industry in Qatar
Having seen rapid IT adoption in recent years, Qatar has one of the highest percentages of internet users per capita in the world. In all, the country’s ICT sector is estimated to be worth over USD 4bn – and as it centres itself as a global hub for emerging technologies like AI, ML, blockchain, and more, this figure is set to rise in the years ahead.
The IT sector is also a fundamental part of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and will play a major part in helping it deliver on its key aims and objectives. With so many major developments underway, total ICT spending in Qatar is predicted to reach USD 9bn by 2024.
This presents an incredible opportunity to entrepreneurs with the skills and expertise to guide the nation’s businesses through this transformational and highly prosperous period.
Benefits of starting an IT consulting business in Qatar
One of the major benefits of starting an IT consulting business is that it is an activity that serves every industry. Almost every business in Qatar has a need for IT services and as more and more businesses set up out here, that demand is only set to grow.
Qatar also allows 100% foreign ownership of IT consultancy businesses as well as repatriation of profits. What’s more, the country levies no tax on wages or salaries, though corporate profits are taxed at 10%.
Owners of Qatari-registered businesses are also eligible for residency. And with world-leading levels of healthcare, education and public services, Qatar is highly regarded by expatriates from around the world.
Cost of starting an IT consulting company in Qatar
Incorporating a business in Qatar costs in the region of USD 10,000. However, this is just a starting point. On top of this, you will need to consider the cost of visas, paid-up share capital, equipment, staff and business premises.
For a complete and personalised breakdown of the fees and costs involved in starting a business in Qatar, contact the team at Creative Zone.
Types of company setup in Qatar
When setting up as an IT consultant in Qatar, foreign entrepreneurs can incorporate the following legal business entities.
Limited Liability Company (LLC)
LLCs must be formed by at least two investors, up to a maximum of 50. Minimum share capital for this type of business is QAR 200,000.
Free zone companies
Free zone companies trade from permitted economic zones within Qatar. This type of business benefits from 0% corporate tax and income tax, 100% foreign ownership with full capital repatriation and zero customs duties.
This type of business is formed by two partners. These can be either joint partners with shared responsibility for business affairs and liabilities, or trustee partners, where liability is limited to the value of their invested share capital.
Limited Partnership Company
This type of company requires two or more partners who are Qatari citizens. Foreign shareholding is allowed but it is limited to a 49% stake.
Any entrepreneurs wishing to work as a freelancer in Qatar require local sponsorship and a permit from the Ministry of Labour. Foreign workers should not travel to Qatar in search of freelance work.
Steps to start a business in Qatar
With the help of a local company formation expert, you can set up an IT consultancy in Qatar in just eight simple steps.
1. Company name reservation
First, you will need to choose your company name. You should avoid any words that may be considered offensive or blasphemous. You must also only use words that can be translated into Arabic.
Once you have made your decision, we will register and reserve your name with the Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC).
2. Draft Memorandum or Articles of Association
Next, your contact at Creative Zone will draft your Memorandum of Association (MoA) or your Articles of Association (AoA) as applicable. These are legal documents that outline details about your company and its objectives.
3. Attest MoA/AoA
We will then submit your MoA or AoA for attestation by the Ministry of Justice.
4. Apply for trade licence and tax certificate
Once your MoA/AoA is verified, we will apply to the MEC for your tax certificate and trade licence.
5. Secure office space
As it is mandatory for all mainland companies in Qatar to have an address of a commercial office space registered against its name, you will need to lease a workspace before you can trade.
6. Apply for business documents
Once your trade licence application has been approved, we will help you apply for your establishment card from the Ministry of Interior.
7. Tax registration
We will also help you register your business with the Public Revenue and Tax Authority to obtain its Tax Identification Number (TIN).
8. Company seal
Finally, your company seal is issued by the relevant authorities, and your IT consultancy is ready to trade.
How to grow your IT business
Expertise is highly prized in the world of consulting, especially here in Qatar. So, one of the best ways to grow your IT business is to shout about your skillset. Consider publishing regularly to sites such as LinkedIn to demonstrate the value that your expertise can bring.
The more regularly you post valuable and useful content, the faster you will become a trusted business in the eyes of your target audience.
Another great way to expand your enterprise is to move into new markets. This does not have to be a drastic undertaking. If you are currently offering IT consultancy services to the education sector, for example, consider if these skills could be easily transferred into other industries. That way you are broadening your potential client base with minimal effort or outlay.
How Creative Zone can help with business setup in Qatar
If you’re looking to start your enterprise in Qatar, Creative Zone can help. Our 200-strong staff speak over 20 languages and have assisted clients from all over the world. And whether you are a small startup or a big brand, our advice, support and guidance is always tailored to your needs.
All of our business setup services are rated the highest in the market and we have achieved this by providing our clients with much-needed peace of mind throughout the entire company formation process and beyond. Whether you only want a visa, assistance in business setup, or are looking for long-term business support, our prices are every bit value for money.
Ultimately, our business is your business. So, when you’re ready to get started in Qatar, there’s no better company formation partner.