The US-Qatar Business Council (USQBC) has organised a business visit to San Francisco, California to engage with key policy makers and the local business community to expand and enhance economic partnerships between Qatar and the San Francisco area economic community.
The business visit featured the following representatives: Mansoor al-Sulaitin, Consul General of State of Qatar in Los Angeles; Fahad al-Dosari, the State of Qatar Commercial Attaché to the US; Mohamed Barakat, USQBC managing director and treasurer of the board of directors; Sean Randolph, senior director, Bay Area Council Economic Institute; Eric Loeb, executive vice president, Government Affairs at Salesforce; and Mark Chandler, director, San Francisco Mayor’s Office of International Trade and Commerce.
Al-Sulaitin said, “San Francisco is a flourishing hub for technology with its surrounding area of Silicon Valley being the centre of technology and innovation. Qatar itself is a leading technology hub in the Gulf and is continuously seeking further partnerships and investment opportunities to solidify its technological expertise.”
Al-Dosari said, “California companies will find it easy to establish and conduct business in Qatar. Our government has several programmes underway to encourage investment across a range of industries, including renewable energy, ICT, and smart cities to achieve economic diversification and sustainability from which California businesses, specifically SMEs, could benefit.”
Upon arrival, the delegation met with Sean Randolph, the Senior Director at the Bay Area Council Economic Institute, to discuss business and investment opportunities specific to the Bay Area, while introducing the flourishing commercial landscape in Qatar.
“The Bay Area is a global region and international business is part of its DNA. There are many opportunities in the Gulf region waiting to be explored, and engagements like this both reinforce longstanding ties and help build new ones,” Randolph said.
During a business seminar, participants were able to network, learn, and explore business opportunities between California and Qatar. Barakat delivered the welcome remarks for the seminar and welcomed attendees to participate in business discussions.
He said, “Qatar and the City of San Francisco are already close economic partners, and this visit demonstrates the commitment to expand this relationship. We look forward to assisting San Francisco’s businesses in their international expansion and export development.”
During the business visit, al-Dosari and Barakat delivered presentations on Qatar’s attractive economic environment and the strength of the US-Qatar business relationship.
Qatar has a number of investments and connections in California. Qatar Investment Authority has invested in Califia Farms, Mesosphere, Codak Bioscience, GRAIL, ThoughtSpot, Uber, and SoFi. Qatar Investment Authority led $500mn in equity financing for SoFi, one of America’s top fintech companies, and invested $200mn in Eat Just, Inc, a company that applies cutting-edge technology to create sustainable foods, both of which are in San Francisco.
During the course of the business visit, the participants visited and toured Salesforce Tower followed by a meeting with Loeb, where they discussed ways to expand and enhance collaboration between Salesforce and Qatar.
Following the visit to Salesforce, the delegation departed to San Francisco City hall to meet Chandler to discuss commercial and investment opportunities between Qatar and the City of San Francisco.