‘Startup Weekend Doha’ seeks new entrepreneurs

Qatar Development Bank (QDB) recently launched a new edition of “Startup Weekend Doha,” in collaboration with Hamad bin Khalifa University (HBKU). Startup Weekend Doha, a QDB initiative that actively encourages Qatar’s youth to develop an interest in entrepreneurial pursuits, was also earlier held in April this year at Qatar University.

The latest edition of this year’s Startup Weekend Doha at HBKU saw the active involvement of 40 participants from across Qatar. Spanning a period of three days, Startup Weekend Doha was designed as a platform through which participants discuss, share, and develop their business ideas, hence building a knowledge-based society in Qatar.

During the event, teams were formed and competed against each other, participants attended brainstorming sessions to help them shortlist a selection of ideas, and developed their concepts into workable business models. To build the basis for a feasible project, participants were supported by a team of appointed specialists who discussed the projects with their respective owners to prepare the participants for their final presentations. The teams delivered their final presentations in front of a panel of judges from QDB, Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Injaz Qatar, and HBKU.

Finalist teams qualified on the basis of their idea’s creativity and innovation, as well as the viability of their proposed project’s development. The competition concluded with an awards ceremony led by QDB executive director of Advisory Services Hamad Khamis al-Kubaisi, who distributed prizes to the winning teams.

Startup Weekend Doha rewarded the top three teams with cash prizes of QR25,000 (Team Ahlan Gifts, first place), QR15,000 (Team Karage, second place), and QR5,000 (Team Wain, third place).
Al-Kubaisi said: “QDB considers inculcating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship among the Qatari youth and future generations as part of its mission. “Our programme, Startup Weekend Doha with HBKU, is a component of our larger strategy to encourage economic diversification and encourage a spirit of competitiveness in the private sector, as was envisioned in Qatar National Vision 2030.

“For the programme’s latest edition, we collaborated with HBKU because of their ongoing support of building a knowledge-based economy. Together, through Startup Weekend Doha, we have encouraged participants to develop their business ideas and turn them into potential models for building important projects in the future.”

QDB head of Learning Saoud Abdullah al-Mannai said: “QDB believes in the importance of capacity and potential development as the basis for growing the private sector. “Our co-operation with HBKU in launching the second edition of the Startup Weekend Doha helped us combine a range of practical and academic expertise to appropriately assess the quality and feasibility of the projects developed during the weekend.

“Through Startup Weekend Doha, we hope to create a stimulating environment for participants that equips them with an educational experience and motivates them to join the private sector and benefit the national economy one day.”

HBKU director of the Career Development Center – Student Affairs Adam al-Saadi said: “It is important that we at HBKU build connections with well-reputed organisations such as QDB that are working to enhance the human capacity of the nation. “By welcoming QDB to the HBKU Student Centre, we are grateful that our students, our fresh graduates, and our more established alumni have the opportunity to learn more about developing entrepreneurial skills.”

Sources: Gulf Times, QGN, Caye Global