Posted on December 07, 2015

The Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), founded by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and Social Development Center (SDC), successfully concluded its 4th wave of the LeanStartup Program with entrepreneurs pitching to judges and investors during “Demo Day”.

The Demo Day marks the end of the 10-week long LeanStartup Program for 27 entrepreneurs in Qatar with 16 startup business ideas. For a period of two and a half months, the entrepreneurs tested the market viability of their intended product or service by talking to customers, partners and suppliers to validate their ideas. QBIC’s localized LeanStartup methodology uses the Business Model Canvas. This does not require a business plan, and instead uses a Customer Development Process that encourages a hands-on learning experience. It also utilizes Qatari startup business cases as challenging exercises, as opposed to theoretical business cases.

Throughout QBIC’s 4th Demo Day, entrepreneurs were, for the first time, able to pitch to be incubated in a specialized incubator, QBIC Tourism. The incubator was set up to enable entrepreneurs to develop products and services that enhance the Qatar tourism experience. QBIC Tourism, guided by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to turn their business idea into a successful tourism product or service.

Through QBIC Tourism, QTA will provide guidance to entrepreneurs to support them as they introduce creative business ideas to the market that enrich visitor experience across various areas, including: Business Events, Urban and Family Entertainment, Family Recreation and Sports Tourism, and Culture and Heritage Products. At the event, Qatar Development Bank CEO and QBIC Chairman Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa said: "We are very pleased with the success of the fourth wave of entrepreneurs who have completed our LeanStartup Program. Their achievements represent an encouraging trend, continuing from the success of the previous wave’s intake and demonstrating the strength of our unique program. He added: “We are proud of the high-level pilot projects that were exhibited, which reflect the drive and ambition of our young entrepreneurs, as they gear up to become part of Qatar’s wider national development.”   

QBIC’s commitment and support of Qatari entrepreneurs lies not only in providing them with a physical space to operate, but also the knowledge to succeed. Support is offered in an integrated manner through our incubation model, to serve the entrepreneurs’ best interests in creating successful startups. He continued: “Qatar Development Bank champions entrepreneurship and the private sector, as we understand the significant role played by entrepreneurs in creating a diverse and knowledge-based economy. It is our duty to strengthen the efforts of local entrepreneurs and provide all means of support to assist their projects, recognising that through this we will be contributing to the wider development of Qatar."

During Demo Day, 27 entrepreneurs with the best-developed prototypes pitched their ideas to QBIC judges and potential investors, who then selected the best 14 pitches to be incubated at QBIC. The main selection criterion was based on each idea’s customer validation and traction attainment. The best startups covered a wide variety of industries. The 14 selected new startups will receive smart financing, coaching and mentoring, office space, and networking opportunities from QBIC.

The XX new QBIC incubatees are expected to complete a three-month milestone upon which their progress is evaluated to ensure they are fulfilling requirements to undergo a successful launch. This includes undertaking a follow-up customer validation assessment.  The entrepreneurs who convinced the judging panel at the Demo Day of their business ideas are now set to become QBIC incubatees. Aysha Al Mudahka QBIC CEO said: “We are very excited that 16 business ideas made it as far as the Demo Day after 10 weeks in the LeanStartup Program, and would like to congratulate those who have been incubated and are now officially part of the QBIC family. With dedication, hard work, and action-oriented coaching from QBIC, we hope to be part of their journey towards becoming the next QAR 100 million companies in Qatar.”

Mohamed Al-Mahmeed, head of Tourism Investment Promotion at QTA commented: “We’re pleased to be partnering with QBIC in providing a specialized tourism incubator to our local talents. The involvement of homegrown talent in developing Qatar’s tourism sector is crucial to ensuring that visitor experiences are embedded in, and reflective of, the country’s national culture and heritage. Through this incubator, we are looking forward to working with Qatar’s brightest entrepreneurs to diversify the country’s tourism offering and reinforce Qatar’s position as a leading tourist destination.”