Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content




The Key Objectives of the Award:

  • Recognize top performing SMEs/Entrepreneurs who have created sustainable business models, achieved business growth, and have made an impact on the economy of Qatar
  • Provide a platform for Entrepreneurs to showcase their excellence and be role models for future Entrepreneurs
  • Inspire and motivate the business community in Qatar and promote competitiveness among Entrepreneurs both locally and internationally
  • Create a culture of embracing best practices, innovation, and business excellence
  • Enable Entrepreneurs/SMEs to identify areas of development and promote efficient management practices


Applicants are allowed to apply for only one award category from the following list.

Please choose the award category that is most suitable for you based on the award description.
This award recognizes the best performing SME in Qatar that has made significant contributions to the country and showcased excellence in all aspects of the business.

The award aims to create a role model in Qatar for adopting best business practices and performing consistently through effective leadership, constant innovation, achieving internationalization, managing the business efficiently, and contributing towards supporting local enterprises, their employees, and other stakeholders.

This award category will evaluate the applicant based on (but not limited to) the following parameters:
Financial Parameters
  • Revenue Growth
  • Net Profit Growth
Non-Financial Parameters
  • Leadership – Impact of the entrepreneur on the business, vision and mission of the SME, and the management’s commitment towards improving the performance and growth of the SME
  • Internationalization – SME’s initiatives to promote export sales and gain international market share
  • Human Capital Development – SME’s initiatives towards employee development
  • Localization - SME’s contribution towards adding value to the local economy
  • Innovation – SME’s efforts to promote innovation within the organization
  • Business excellence - SME’s business strategy and emphasis on quality and business risk management
This award recognizes the best SME that has created innovative products/services and instilled a culture of innovation within the organization.

The award aims to create a role model in Qatar for adopting innovative business practices and encourage SMEs to grow through product/service innovation. The award will evaluate the applicant’s success in creating a culture that promotes innovation within the organization as well as the real-world impact the SME has showcased in various areas of business as a result of adopting innovative solutions.

The applicants will be judged across various parameters but higher emphasis will be placed on innovation enablers and results linked to adopting innovative practices. Key evaluation parameters include (but are not limited to):

  • SME’s commitment towards Research and Development (R&D)
  • SME’s initiatives to create and instill a culture that promotes innovation within the SME
  • Innovative approaches taken by the SME in developing its product/service(s)
This award recognizes the leading SME that has achieved a high degree of localization and has contributed to self-sufficiency in the State of Qatar.

The award aims to create a role model in Qatar for adopting strategies that have contributed to self-sufficiency goals by procuring or producing locally, hiring local talent, and those that have achieved import substitution by replacing demand for foreign products/services with local alternatives.

The applicant will be mainly evaluated based on (but not limited to) the following criteria:

  • Contribution towards the local economy (Value-add)
  • Success of the SME in localizing supply chain
  • SME’s success in gaining local market share by replacing foreign products/services
  • Degree of Qatarization achieved
  • Contribution to the development of local talent through various programs such as internships, graduate programs, etc.
This award recognizes the best performing SME that has been successful in the internationalization of its business by increasing its exports and presence in international markets.

The award aims to create a role model in Qatar for adopting business practices that have resulted in growth and recognition internationally. The award will evaluate various measures adopted to improve international sales such as product customizations, export business development activities, innovation, etc.

The applicant will be mainly evaluated based on (but not limited to) the following criteria:

  • Export share in sales and export sales growth
  • Strategies adopted to improve exports
  • Initiatives undertaken by means of product/service modifications to gain competitive advantage
  • SME’s sales and customer service resources to cater to international markets
  • Measures adopted to mitigate export market risks
This award recognizes the leading SME that has incorporated core business practices to drive sustainability across all areas of business. The award will be granted to the best performing SME that has a proven track record of driving sustainability through commitment towards the environment, people, society, and business profits

The award aims to create a role model in Qatar for adopting best practices that showcase the SME’s commitment towards protecting the environment and conducting its business in a way that helps the overall development and welfare of society, employees, and all stakeholders.

The applicant will be mainly evaluated based on (but not limited to) the following criteria:

  • Commitment towards Quality, Health, and Safety of all employees
  • Measures adopted towards the conservation of natural resources, reduction of emissions, and waste management
  • Commitment towards society th​rough Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives
  • Willingness to engage in business collaborations and community engagement activities
  • Managing suppliers and partners and contributing to their development
This award recognizes the leading SME that has taken steps to promote and put emphasis on quality in business operations and its products/services. The award aims to create a role model in Qatar for upholding the highest quality standards in every area of operation, and inspiring other SMEs to adopt best practices to improve the overall quality standards in line with the global benchmarks for quality.

The award will cover an assessment of all key areas of business to identify whether best practices related to quality excellence are followed.

The holistic assessment will cover various quality parameters across the business model, such as:

  • Leadership
  • Business Strategy
  • Human Capital
  • Partner and Resource Management
  • Processes, Products & Services
  • Financial Results
  • Customer Results
  • People Results
  • Operational Results
This Award recognizes the best microbusiness that has efficiently managed its operations, introduced new products or services, improved its existing products or services, and developed a sustainable business model.

This award aims at defining an exemplary model in Qatar for adopting best business practices and performing consistently through effective leadership, constant innovation, technology adoption, and creation of strong brand value.

This award category will evaluate the applicant across various parameters such as:

Financial Parameters
  • Revenue Growth
  • Net Profit Growth
Non-Financial Parameters
  • Leadership – Impact of the entrepreneur on the operations, vision, and mission of the business and the commitment towards its performance and growth;
  • Innovation – Efforts undertaken to introduce new product/ service(s), or customize existing ones;
  • Marketing and Branding - Efforts undertaken to improve the brand presence through various sales, marketing, and social media activities;
  • Technology Adoption – Initiatives undertaken by the business to adopt tech means to improve efficiency in various areas of the business.


Entrepreneurs and SMEs wishing to participate must apply through the online form on the official QDB website.

The application process has multiple stages until the winner is announced.

The key steps are explained below:



The key eligibility criteria for the Award Category are as follows:

  • Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Definition: The applicant should satisfy the national SME definition in the State of Qatar ( National SME Definition )
  • Age of Entity: The SME should be operational for not less than three years
  • Award Category Selection: Applicants are allowed to apply for only one award category in the awards cycle. Therefore, applicants should choose the award category that is most suitable for them based on the award description
  • Independence: An entrepreneur or owner of an SME who is directly or indirectly related to any employees of QDB or the members of the Jury is ineligible to apply for the award program
  • Previous Winners: Winners of the previous cycle are ineligible to apply for the same award category in which they have won previously (Note that the Self Sufficiency Award is now called as Best SME in Localization)
  • Audited Statements: All applicants should mandatorily have at least three years of audited financial statements (2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20)
  • Nationality: The main applicant should be a Qatari national who has a majority/significant ownership (minimum 51%) in the SME
  • Holding Companies: Holding companies cannot participate in the award
  • Trading Companies: Trading companies are ineligible to participate in the award program


By submitting an application for the ROWAD Awards, applicants affirm acceptance of the following terms and conditions:

  • Applicants affirm their acceptance of rules, conditions, and standards that govern the Awards and the awarding process
  • Entries will be accepted through the official form via the online application portal only
  • All applications must be completed online and mandatory documents (e.g Company CR, Financial Statements, etc.) as required for each award category
  • All incomplete applications/applications registered will be excluded without prior notice
  • Government entities and not-for-profit entities are not eligible for participation
  • Enterprises that are a branch of a foreign company or a franchise of an international brand are not eligible for participation
  • SMEs involved purely in trading activity are not eligible
  • SMEs with a favorable Credit Bureau Report would be given due consideration for short-listing. SMEs with adverse Credit Bureau Report might not be considered for further evaluations
  • QDB reserves the right to change the award category of an applicant in case the applicant has applied in an inappropriate category and is more suited for a different award category
  • Applicants must provide supporting evidence such as business documents, examples, photos, videos, and data wherever applicable as per the claims made in the application. Any false information or misrepresentation of data can lead to the disqualification of the applicant
  • Intellectual property rights must be respected. Applicants who do not adhere to those rights shall be penalized
  • Data confidentiality of each applicant shall be respected. Data shall not be shared with anyone except the members of the jury
  • QDB has the right to withhold or withdraw the application in any category if submitted documents violate the award rules
  • Applicants must allow a team of QDB employees or appointed consultants to visit the applicant’s office or site for evaluation. The main applicant should be available for consultation with the jury should the need arise
  • QDB reserves the right to modify or cancel the program without prior notice
  • QDB reserves the right to extend the deadline for applications
  • The decision of the QDB Jury committee is final and binding
  • The Awards Committee holds the right to reject any application at its discretion and is not obliged to store or disclose the rejected application’s information for any purpose
  • By entering the Awards, the applicant authorizes QDB to use data collected during the registration and evaluation processes for the purposes of administering the Awards, and receiving/circulating further information regarding the awards and other related events from QDB from time to time


The applicant is only allowed to apply for one award category. Therefore, the applicant should carefully go through each award category and apply for the most suitable award category. QDB shall not allow changes to the applications once they have been submitted.
The applicant should carefully read through the description of various award categories. Each award category will have different evaluation criteria. For e.g. Best SME in Innovation will mainly focus on innovative techniques adopted by the SME and not focus on other areas such as localization. Therefore, the applicant should see where they have higher chances to win. Applicants can reach out to the QDB team for further inquiries.
YES. The applicant can participate even if they have witnessed a drop in sales/profits. Applicants are evaluated based on both financial and non-financial parameters.
All communication regarding the application status will be carried out through emails. All applicants who have qualified for the site visits will be provided with a feedback report based on their scoring. Other applicants who have failed to qualify through the initial screening will be informed via email.
Once the complete application is submitted online, the evaluation teams will shortlist the applicant based on eligibility criteria and other evaluation parameters. Once shortlisted, the applicant will be required to participate in the interviews and site visits. The applicant will also be required to furnish additional documents to support and validate the discussions during/after the site visits.
ROWAD Awards is aimed at recognizing the Qatari entrepreneur and the SME. Therefore, it is mandatory for the Qatari entrepreneur to be present for the Jury round. The Qatari entrepreneur shall present the SME’s credentials as applicable in the Jury Round. QDB also has the right to request for additional interviews or clarifications if needed.
The applicant should have audited financial statements for the past 3 years. However, in case the applicant is able to reasonably justify the lack of audited financial statements for the last 3 years, the application may be considered only in exceptional cases. This will be at the discretion of QDB and the decision made will be final and binding.
The applicant will not be allowed to appeal against the disqualification or scoring. All scores of the QDB assessors and Jury are final and binding. QDB will however provide feedback reports to applicants that have successfully qualified for the site-visit assessment.
The applicant can only apply if the majority of the ownership is of a Qatari National(s). Holding companies and Foreign companies with branches in Qatar are not allowed to apply for the program.
ROWAD Awards are prestigious and presented during the Enterpreurship Week in November. The winners will be entitled to various financial and non-financial benefits. The details regarding the incentives can be found on the home page
YES. The application form is web-based and can be applied online only.
NO. Applicants are not required to pay any application fees. The application to the ROWAD Awards 2021 is absolutely free.
If an applicant does not have recent financial statements at the time of application, the applicant can submit previous audited financial statements, until the current year statements are ready. An SME must be willing to disclose financial statements for the past 3 years for the purpose of screening and performance evaluation. Un-audited financial statements will not be considered for assessment.
YES. Irrespective of financial year ending, the applicants are eligible to apply.
NO. The applicant will need to decide on the best SME within its parent group or subsidiaries to be part of the ROWAD Awards 2021. Both the Holding/Parent company and the subsidiary cannot participate in the same award program.

Contact US

Have any questions? Please contact us