A local startup wants its new series of short online videos, profiling the achievements of Qatar residents, to inspire others to talk about the positive changes occurring in the country.
Planned shows include interviews with the founders of cultural awareness organization Embrace Doha.
The first video, released yesterday features Abdullah Al Khater and Steve Rhodes, the founders of local ecotourism firm Entalek, and their work to preserve Qatar’s mangroves:
Karak Time was co-founded by The Youth Company’s Mohamed Farid and Deevina Visrolia, a former BBC designer and presenter on the children’s show, Deadly Art.
Visrolia moved to Qatar in 2011 and found that much of the outside media attention on her new home didn’t tell the whole story.
She started her non-profit earlier this year to produce informal English and Arabic video profiles showing how Qatar is developing from a human perspective, and how its residents are making a difference.
Speaking to Doha News, Visrolia said:
“We’re a catalyst for amazing people and talent in Qatar. As someone who is living here, I want to show the great stories of people.”
The startup’s name stems from the local tradition of sharing stories and knowledge over a cup of sweet milky tea.
Visrolia said that she hopes her videos will “ignite” a wave of positive thinking and appreciation among viewers, who will in turn showcase the good things they and those around them are doing by posting their own videos and photos online.
The entrepreneur estimated that each episode costs an average of QR8,000 (US$2,197) to produce, including overhead such as office space. She’s looking to corporate sponsors to help her cost the costs.
Karak Time is one of a handful of startups headquartered in 7ayak Hub, which was founded by Farid and officially opened last month.
The theory behind 7ayak Hub – pronounced “hayak,” which means “welcome,” “hello” or “come in” in Arabic – is that a shared physical space will foster collaboration between the freelancers, community activists and startup founders working in the three-story building in Madinat Khalifa South.
Members can give one another feedback on their business ideas, as well as make introductions to contractors, funders and clients in their network.
The companies and not-profits are also complimentary and can provide services to one another. For example, Visrolia has offered her design skills to fellow entrepreneurs at 7ayak Hub, while drawing upon the web development abilities of others.
“It’s a very helpful ecosystem, especially when you don’t have a lot of money at the beginning,” she says. “There is so much passion and energy (at 7ayak Hub) … Lots of people are passive and accept Qatar for what it currently is. Here, people want to actually make change. They’re young and they’re brave.”