Carnegie Mellon Team Wins Quick Startup 2019 With Idea to Enhance Driver Safety

Press release
Published April 1st, 2019 - 11:47 GMT
Quick Startup is a competition for university students and new graduates to create a business plan and investor pitch over the course of a weekend.
Quick Startup is a competition for university students and new graduates to create a business plan and investor pitch over the course of a weekend.

A team from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) took first place at Quick Startup 2019, with their idea called VisKit. The idea, which the team developed during the three-day competition, is an all-in-one, dashboard mounted, heads-up display and mobile phone carriage to make sure drivers keep their eyes on the road. The system provides access to driving directions and advanced safety features like night vision and collision detection, without having drivers look at their mobile phones.

Quick Startup is a competition for university students and new graduates to create a business plan and investor pitch over the course of a weekend. The winning team was comprised of four graduating seniors from CMU-Q’s Business Administration Program: Ommar Aburaddad, Mohamed Hamdi, Faisal Mir and Haris Syed.

Michael Trick, dean of CMU-Q, noted: “Quick Startup is about more than developing one idea. We want participants to learn new skills, collaborate with teammates, and be inspired to think like entrepreneurs. Congratulations to the winners, and to all of the participants, for an enthusiastic and invigorating Quick Startup 2019.”

This is the fifth year that CMU-Q has hosted Quick Startup. This year, about 80 university students and new graduates from across Qatar participated in the competition that was sponsored by QNB.

QNB presented the awards for Quick Startup 2019 as part of its continued support for the training program and within its partnership with CMU-Q aimed at encouraging and nurturing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Qatar.

During the Quick Startup weekend, teams participate in workshops on topics like marketing research, funding ventures, the concept of value versus price, and how to draft an investor pitch. As the teams develop their ideas, experienced mentors offer feedback and advice. This year’s mentors hailed from CMU’s Integrated Innovation Institute, General Electric, INJAZ Qatar, Qatar University and Sustainable Qatar, as well as CMU-Q.  

George White, distinguished career professor of entrepreneurship and the organizer of Quick Startup, said, “We are seeing more and more young people take a keen interest in entrepreneurship. At the first Quick Startup, just five years ago, only 20 students participated. That number has quadrupled, and we are so pleased to see such great energy over the weekend.”

Second place went to a CMU-Q team of students and alumni. Abdulrahman Alfayad, Najlaa Al-Thani, Nourhan Elkhatib and Mohammad Zakzok developed an idea called Malabna, a platform that would provide an easy, user-friendly and fast way to book sport courts and fields in Qatar.

The third place team included Qatar University students Huda Ahmed and Sherouk Hasan, as well as Arjun Ajith and Althaf Saifudeen, who proposed Qassure, an insurance aggregator, facilitator and advisor.

This year’s judges represented many of the institutions within Qatar who promote entrepreneurial learning. Representatives from CMU-Q, College of the North Atlantic in Qatar, Qatar Business Incubation Center, Qatar Science and Technology Park and Qatar University chose the winners from among 22 team pitches.

Background Information

Carnegie Mellon University Qatar

For more than a century, Carnegie Mellon University has challenged the curious and passionate to imagine and deliver work that matters. A private, top-ranked and global university, Carnegie Mellon sets its own course with programs that inspire creativity and collaboration.

In 2004, Carnegie Mellon and Qatar Foundation began a partnership to deliver select programs that will contribute to the long-term development of Qatar. Today, Carnegie Mellon Qatar offers undergraduate programs in biological sciences, business administration, computational biology, computer science, and information systems. Nearly 400 students from 38 countries call Carnegie Mellon Qatar home.

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