FIRST came the inspiration, then the perspiration, and now the finalists of this year’s ‘AlFikra’ National Business Plan Competition have just one more hurdle to cross before the winners are announced – a nerve-wracking presentation to the jury at the live finals on Monday, 23rd of May.
With more than 230 entrants, the unprecedented response to ‘AlFikra’ - launched in February 2011 – has laid bare a rich seam of entrepreneurialism that runs through Qatar.
Fostering that spirit of innovation is the reason Enterprise Qatar launched the high-profile competition, alongside partners that include top universities such as Carnegie Mellon University, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, Qatar University, Stenden University and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, as well as the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology (ictQATAR), the Qatari Businessmen Association (QBA) and Qatar Development Bank (QDB).
In its quest to find the next generation of Qatari business leaders, EQ has also been helped by the global management and strategy consulting firm, Booz & Company, which has provided invaluable support to AlFikra by conducting business plan writing and financial forecasting coaching sessions for entrants.
Ms Noora Al Mannai, Deputy Project Director of Enterprise Qatar, said: "We're delighted that 'AlFikra' is such an outstanding success, and I’d like to especially thank Booz & Company, whose team has done a great job in orchestrating the coaching sessions."
“'AlFikra' is not merely an academic exercise: it is a true launch pad for viable businesses to come and contribute to the economy.
“I’m sure I’m not alone in looking forward to the finals, where we can finally hear those ideas and concepts that have so impressed our judges. It’s going to be a very exciting event, but I don’t know if I envy those finalists who will have to present their plans to a very tough jury!”
Mr Nabih Maroun, Partner, Booz & Company said: “Booz & Company is delighted to collaborate with Enterprise Qatar on this important initiative. We are pleased to place our expertise and know-how at the service of the candidates in the competition, and we appreciate the opportunity to learn more about the real needs of entrepreneurs in Qatar.”
Enterprise Qatar was established by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Emir of Qatar, to act as the catalyst and principle driver of Qatar’s entrepreneurial spirit by assisting SMEs and entrepreneurs through various programs and products tailored to meet their specific needs.
Enterprise Qatar also seeks to help innovators realize and grow their projects by building a network of partnerships between new businesses and experienced managers and businessmen in both the public and private sectors.