Posted on August 29, 2014

Young Qatari entrepreneurs take the spotlight in the first ever “Instagram Summer Market”, which opened yesterday near the dancing fountain on the Corniche.

The evening market has been set up by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) in collaboration with Bedaya Center as part of Qatar Summer Festival. It will be open between 6.30pm and 10.30pm from Thursday to Saturday until September 28. Fifteen enterprising participants who have start-up businesses and market their products via Instagram are taking part in the pioneering activity.

“This activity is good for young Qataris to discover what they want to do in life. This encourages them to be more creative and come up with ideas and provides invaluable opportunities to start small businesses,” Amna H Al Buainain told The Peninsula. Al Buainain, a student from Al Wakra, started her photography business, Akkas Eyes, just two months ago. 

“This business was inspired by the Souq Waqif that is going to open in Al Wakra city, where I live. I want to have a shop in the Souq in which old photos of Al Wakra will be displayed for tourists. Visitors from outside Qatar will then see the culture of Al Wakra in the olden times,” she explained.

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Apart from having their photos taken, people can find out the stories behind the old Al Wakra photos and have copies reproduced from the originals, added the young businesswoman. At Akkas Eyes’ booth, visitors — both nationals and residents — can get photographed in traditional Qatari attire for QR25. Men, for example, can wear a traditional costume complete with a thobe, bisht, gutrah and agal, as well as other accessories like the traditional dagger and sword. The photo is taken in a traditional majlis setting.

“Activities like this are good for Qatar so people can have a grasp of our culture,” said Amira, another participant in the market. Her booth offers Swarovski-studded smartphone cases which sell for QR300 to QR350. Although she started only six weeks ago, Amira said her business was thriving, thanks to the power of Instagram. “Many Qataris have Instagram accounts which have been a very effective tool in business because it promotes the brand fast through sharing in social mediam which builds an effective network,” she said.

The Instagram Summer Market is aimed at providing a platform for Qatar’s entrepreneurs to showcase their work and gather support and feedback from the local community. It also helps transform virtual online business activity into reality and enables entrepreneurs to give concrete shape to their projects and encourages them to possibly grow them beyond the online platform.

source: The Peninsula