Posted on October 14, 2015

Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) founded by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Social Development Center (SDC) kicked off its fourth wave of the LeanStartup Program on October 4th, 2015. 42 participants from 29 startups enrolled in the 10-week entrepreneurial journey will help the Center achieve its mission of developing the next QAR 100 million companies in Qatar.

The LeanStartup Program focuses on providing entrepreneurs with real world, hands on experience and knowledge on how to successfully transform their business idea into a thriving startup. The Program runs twice a year, in Spring and Fall, and follows an untraditional approach by excluding the necessity of creating a business plan in advance, and instead follows a practical approach by developing products and services that are needed by the target customers. For the very first time, and by utilizing the same approach, the fourth wave of the LeanStartup Program is being fully conducted in Arabic. 

Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Qatar Development Bank CEO and QBIC Chairman said: “After a lengthy and strenuous application process, we’re pleased to have witnessed a high number of applications to QBIC’s flagship Program the LeanStartup Program. With the fourth wave taking place in Arabic, we’re confident that the strength of our unique Program will further produce a wide and impressive range of projects.” He added: “By providing all means of support and unifying our efforts to help Qatari entrepreneurs, we would be fulfilling our duties in developing the local SME sector.”

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Some of the potential ideas that could turn into prosperous startups include ideas in the field of development, technology, and education. Out of a total of 29 ideas, 6 are related to tourism. If eventually incubated, these will fall under the first specialized incubator, the newly soft-launched “QBIC Tourism”, guided by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA). Aysha Al Mudahka QBIC CEO said: “We’re very pleased to introduce the first Arabic LeanStartup Program at QBIC. The last three LeanStartup waves were very effective in transforming ideas into startups that are now quickly thriving, however we realized that there are many more ideas out there that are remain uncultivated, which deserve to be brought to light and developed to their maximum potentials.”

She added: “By reinstating QBIC’s flagship Program in a new light and in our country’s native language, we’re expanding our reach to those entrepreneurial minds who also seek to build successful startups, but feel more confident and efficient doing so in Arabic.” Two specialized instructors are currently conducting the fourth wave of the LeanStartup Program, and are heavily experienced in the entrepreneurship field. In the remaining 9 weeks, the aspiring entrepreneurs will learn more about the lean methodology and will test their products and services using the customer validation technique.

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Khalid Hamad Al Thani, QBIC entrepreneur enrolled in the fourth wave of the LeanStartup Program said:  “The best thing about the Program is learning how to start a business from scratch. To be able to think aloud with a group and exchange ideas, is more productive than thinking alone.” He added: “My intended business project is called ‘Doobee’, which is a mobile application that acts as a platform to all of Qatar’s laundry and dry cleaning vendors. By ‘uberizing’ this concept, users will be provided with a delivery laundry service.

Hamda Al Naimi, QBIC entrepreneur enrolled in the fourth wave of the LeanStartup Program said: “The Program so far has been enlightening in terms of expanding my understanding of the business implementation process. With discussion, it provided me with details on how to be self-sufficient. My startup idea includes the recycling of palm tree remnants to create raw materials such as fertilizer and coal.” Based on customer feedback, entrepreneurs are urged to develop prototypes that act as a reflection of their customers’ needs. These will be showcased while pitching their refined business ideas to a judging panel and potential investors during a Demo Day event, marking the end of the 10-week journey.

Tahani Al Onaizi, another QBIC entrepreneur enrolled in the fourth wave of the LeanStartup Program said: “The Program taught us that we cannot expect to have a full-fledged idea ready for immediate implementation; instead, it showed us that we have to really narrow our ideas down and confine them to a single field. This helped me develop a more realistic view when thinking about my project, which will be a center for human development.”