In the presence of HE Sheikh Jassim Bin Abdulaziz Bin Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Business and Trade in Qatar, and a host of VIPs from government and business, SIX entrepreneurs have won a total of QAR 200,000 towards making their business dreams a reality in an action-packed final to this year’s inaugural ‘Al Fikra” Business Plan Competition.
Organized by Enterprise Qatar in partnership with 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), more than 230 entrants battled it out for a place in the finals, which were held on May 23rd at the Intercontinental Hotel in Doha.
Enterprise Qatar was also helped by the global management and strategy consulting firm, Booz & Company, which provided invaluable support to the AlFikra contest by conducting business plan writing and financial forecasting coaching sessions for entrants.
In the professional category, a Qatari team took first place, and QAR 50,000, with their plan for “DinoSawUs”. In second place, and taking home QAR 30,000, was the “Pregnant & Pretty” team, while the “Entalek” idea secured QAR 20,000 and third place. The prizes in the professional category were provided by QDB.
The same cash awards, provided by QBA, were awarded in the student category, where the first prize went to “ConnectMe”, while “Radical Sports – Qatar” and “AlDallah” took second and third places.
Other big ideas that made it through to the final were 'Qatfish', a proposal to establish a fish farm in Qatar and 'Qatar Educational Portal', an idea to create an online community portal for Qatari students. The response from the business and academic community has been so encouraging that Enterprise Qatar has confirmed Al Fikra will now be an annual event.
Ms Noora Al Mannai, Deputy Project Director of Enterprise Qatar, said: "We're extremely pleased with the exceptional success of Al Fikra. We would like to extend our thanks to His Excellency Sheikh Jassim Bin AbdulAziz Bin Jassim Bin Hamad Al Thani, Minister of Business and Trade for his patronage of the competition."
“Al Fikra, which will be held annually from now on, is a direct result of the enthusiasm and passion of our partners who helped us to achieve such success. Certainly, we believe that Al Fikra is the embodiment of a vision in which entrepreneurs and creative people contribute in order to build the Qatar of tomorrow. Finally, we stress that Enterprise Qatar and all the organizations that participated as sponsors of AlFikra will remain ready to provide all the resources necessary for entrepreneurs to achieve their potential”, added Ms Al Mannai.
Al Fikra directly supports the objectives of Enterprise Qatar; an initiative intended to promote and sustain small and mid-sized enterprises in Qatar and encourage innovation throughout the country. For Enterprise Qatar, organizing a business plan competition serves as a mechanism to engage the people of Qatar in entrepreneurial activity.
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.