The Gulf states need to become a marketplace

LAST week, I found myself in Doha with the man who brought us JK Rowling&rsquo;s Harry Potter, Nigel Newton, the chief executive of Bloomsbury Publishing. He was in town to launch, a website focused on serving finance professionals in Qatar, in a joint venture with the Qatar Finance Authority.<br /><br />There, in a sea of middle-aged men speaking about regulation, I banged the drum for the new model of the financing of entrepreneurship from London to Doha, and everywhere in between.<br /><br />Throughout history, capital follows ideas &ndash; always has, and always will. The finance industry should be a service industry for business builders. Full stop.<br /><br />Doha sweats money &ndash; which brings inherent problems for the region. Necessity is the mother of invention, and when you don&rsquo;t have to create wealth, you forget that wealth is more than just financial, it is measured in the quality of people&rsquo;s futures and in the strength of the economies which create strong companies.<br /><br /><strong>GROWING GULF STATES</strong><br />The 40m-person, six-country strong GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) region is nascent, and doesn&rsquo;t really operate as a marketplace yet. In 1988 when I came to Europe, there was no euro, no pan-European stock exchanges of venture funds, and European tech entrepreneurs didn&rsquo;t have obvious ways of rolling out their businesses from Stockholm to Madrid, and back again &ndash; accessing 400m customers. So they were confined to smaller markets; venture capital returns were thus smaller.<br /><br />It is the trading community and the communications technologies across the EU which has been a necessary pre-requisite for so many of the businesses I&rsquo;ve watched grow to become European successes. The more that accelerates, the more global leaders we&rsquo;ll have built out of Europe.<br /><br />This too will happen in Doha and throughout the GCC. It&rsquo;s interesting to me though that &ldquo;the money&rdquo; can&rsquo;t really see this &ndash; although they listen with interest &ndash; capital always assumes that it starts the party; that it&rsquo;s in charge. But the most dynamic entrepreneurial ecosystems always have a hierarchy which places the entrepreneur at the centre. In Silicon Valley, the Sergey Brins come from around the world to give it a go.<br /><br />He or she has the market insight, is the creator of value, is truly the hero. The future of the GCC, Doha and indeed any part of the world is measured in the time it takes to unlock the power of people&rsquo;s minds to create a better place. Implicit in that is an inclusiveness, a future orientation, and a freedom to be the architect of one&rsquo;s life.<br /><br />That spirit connects us all, and is rolling out across the globe in the 21st Century.<br /><br />Julie Meyer is CEO of Ariadne Capital.