Budding entrepreneurs in Qatar pitched a mix bag of business ideas to a local incubator yesterday, including custom perfume lines, an app to book restaurant reservations and a service that allows customers to pilot a jet plane.
But only half of the 16 presentations made the cut with investors during the Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC)’s Demo Day at the Qatar National Convention Center.
QBIC is a mixed-use incubator, founded by Qatar Development Bank and the Social Development Center, with a goal of developing the next QR100 million companies in Qatar.
Those who presented yesterday had already gone through a 10-week LeanStartup program where they tested the willingness of customers, partners and suppliers to use their product or service.
Eight of the businesses, whose founders needed to explain the competitive landscape, detail budgets/forecasts and specify what they wanted from QBIC, were chosen to be incubated and awarded QR100,000 each.
The winners are:
- Lazy Eight: A company that offers an aerobatic experience to customers, allowing them to take part in loops, rolls and more maneuvers in a jet, while accompanied by a trained pilot;
- Tashasheel: A restaurant in a boat that gives visitors a taste of authentic Qatari food and highlights the country’s history of pearl diving;
- Garçon: An app that lets people find and book restaurant reservations;
- SIA: A made-to-order line of oriental and western incense that meets specific customer criteria;
- Maren: A program that uses interactive games and sporting activities to help preserve the Arabic language among the youth;
- Arsenal: A firm that builds 3D architecture mock-ups with various materials to help developers and interior designing firms solidify their ideas;
- Techaid: A service that provides door-to-door maintenance of digital hardware and software while keeping the customer’s security intact; and
- Practica: A collapsible coffee mug with a built-in heating system, targeting university students who need a quick on-the-go drink.
Other start-ups that didn’t win included Snaplee, an app that helps travelers discover places to go and save photos and videos from these experiences.
App users can also upload photos from their own travels and relive their experiences with geotagging services. However, judges showed concern about whether this was different enough from what Instagram currently offers.
Judges also passed on, Ammo, a paintballing venture developed by three Qatar University students.
Their plan was to operate a portable paintball truck that travels across Qatar, setting up private events for groups and parties.
Speaking to Doha News, co-founder Mohammad Waqas said that the idea came about while talking to potential customers who wanted something different to do in Qatar.
The eight winners will join some 52 other start-ups already incubated with QBIC and undergo a three-month probation period.
Within this period, they will set milestones that meet QBIC requirements. Once the three months are over, the start-ups will launch their product or service into the local market.
Speaking during Demo Day, QBIC’s CEO said the incubator prides itself on facilitating the growth of entrepreneurship and the private sector in Qatar.
Aysha Al Mudahka added:
“We anticipate that soon, entrepreneurship will be comfortably viewed as a legitimate career-choice amongst many Qataris of all ages, bringing us one step closer to achieving our mission of developing the next QAR100 million companies in Qatar.”