Posted on October 08, 2017

In its bid to strengthen the culture of local entrepreneurship amongst the youth in Qatar, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) launched the latest Qatar-based edition of the popular international series, “Startup Weekend,” from 5 – 7 October 2017, in cooperation with Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) and Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development.

Held at the HBKU’s Student Center this year, “Startup Weekend Doha” is a experiential education program that encourages participating youth 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, Executive Director for Advisory Services, QDB, Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Mannai said: “At Qatar Development Bank, we are immensely proud of hosting Startup Weekend Doha every year. We are especially grateful to the partnerships the program has enjoyed that have brought the initiative to live at the nation’s most prestigious academic hubs, Qatar University and Hamad bin Khalifa University, in the past. “Through Startup Weekend Doha, we endeavor to inculcate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship amongst the Qatari youth and future generations of business leaders. Through the latest edition of this program, we have successfully rolled out yet another component of our larger organizational strategy to encourage economic diversification and spirit of competitiveness in the private sector as well as build a knowledge-based society, as was envisioned in Qatar National Vision 2030.”

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The “Startup Weekend Doha” program 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 endeavor 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.   

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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 Center. Three finalist teams were qualified on the basis of their idea’s creativity and innovation, as well as the viability of their proposed project’s development. During the latest edition of Startup Weekend Doha competition, Team “Auto Lounge” secured first place; Team “Majlisna” came second; and Team “Eco Life” came third and final. The awards, comprising a range of encyclopedic volumes and reference books on entrepreneurship, innovation and business creativity, were gifted to the winners at the conclusion of the final presentation ceremony.

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