QDB launches new edition of ‘Startup Weekend Doha’

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has launched the latest Qatar-based edition of the popular international series, ‘Startup Weekend’ from October 5 to 7, in cooperation with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and the Bedaya Centre for Entrepreneurship and Career Development.

*Held at the HBKU’s Student Centre, ‘Startup Weekend Doha’ is an experiential education programme that encourages young participants to attend brainstorming sessions, work with an experienced group of area specialists to shortlist a selection of entrepreneurial ideas, and develop their working concepts into workable business models.

Speaking at the event, QDB executive director for Advisory Services Ibrahim Abdulaziz al-Mannai said QDB is “immensely proud” to host Startup Weekend Doha every year.  “We are especially grateful to the partnerships the programme has enjoyed, which have brought the initiative to live at the nation’s most prestigious academic hubs – Qatar University and Hamad bin Khalifa University.

“Through Startup Weekend Doha, we endeavour to inculcate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the Qatari youth and future generations of business leaders. Through the latest edition of this programme, we have successfully rolled out yet another component of our larger organisational strategy to encourage economic diversification and spirit of competitiveness in the private sector, as well as build a knowledge-based society envisioned in Qatar National Vision 2030.”

The Startup Weekend Doha programme was designed as a platform through which participants discuss, share, and develop their business ideas all the way until they reach a basic prototype level. This format allows participants to enhance their technical knowledge of business planning and contributes to the foundation of a knowledge-based society in Qatar. In their endeavour to build the basis for a feasible project, participants are supported by a team of appointed mentors, who conduct a series of consultative sessions with the student groups to prepare the participants for their final presentations.

In an effort to diversify students’ approach to business planning, the designated mentors hail from a diverse range of professional backgrounds, including student development, business administration, marketing and graphic design. This year, the teams delivered their final presentations in front of a panel of judges, each representing one of the collaborating partners: QDB, HBKU, and Bedaya Centre. Three finalist teams qualified on the basis of their idea’s creativity, innovation, and the viability of their proposed project’s development.

During the latest edition of Startup Weekend Doha, team ‘Auto Lounge’ topped the competition followed by team ‘Majlisna’ and team ‘Eco Life’. The awards, comprising a range of encyclopaedic volumes and reference books on entrepreneurship, innovation, and business creativity, were given to the winners at the conclusion of the final presentation ceremony.

Startup Weekend Doha is the Qatar-based instalment of a wider programme that enjoys a presence across 135 countries, in which more than 210,000 entrepreneurs participate yearly.