On paper at least.

Jojo Puthuparampil is a business news writer for Inc. Arabia.

Qatar’s government has announced new licensing procedures for entrepreneurs running home businesses, in a bid to regulate that growing home business market in the country.

The process has been designed specifically for small businesses, and self-employed residents, Ministry of Economy and Commerce (MEC) said in a statement.

Regulation of home businesses will provide a motive for entrepreneurs for expansion and development of their projects and the opening of shops that will contribute to economic development and diversity in Qatar, MEC said.

However, the ministry did not specify whether the regulations apply only to Qataris or expats too.

MEC said commercial activities based on personal skills cannot involve hazardous materials or equipment that causes inconvenience to others. 

Examples include sewing and embroidery, wedding photography, gift packaging, flower arranging, cooking and making beauty products such as perfumes and cosmetics.

The initiative comes amid news of entrepreneurs feeling daunted by bureaucracy while trying to start a business in Qatar.

For applying for the license, which costs QAR1,020 annually, people who are running home businesses need to be over 18 years old. They should also live in the residence where the company is registered.

Only one license will be granted per home. In some cases, entrepreneurs also need clearances from certain entities, MEC said.

For instance, those involved in home catering and cooking must obtain Civil Defense clearance.

Entrepreneurs also cannot sell directly from home. Instead, home delivery must be used.

The name of the company should be listed on a placard outside the home with the license and business number. Also, no advertising is allowed on the outside of the house.

It is yet to be seen how the license regime will affect home businesses, as many entrepreneurs struggle to cut costs and avoid bureaucratic intervention.

Many small business owners in Qatar are hesitant to register their ventures for fear of higher fees. However, the license regime is expected to fix this and we could see more home businesses out of Doha soon.

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