The MENA region’s largest mixed-use business incubator, Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), which is owned by Qatar Development Bank, has selected its newest startups for incubation. Incubatees were selected at a milestone Demo Day celebrating the tenth wave of graduates from QBIC’s intensive LeanStartup Program (LSP). Sponsored by QNB, the inspiring event took place at the Sheraton Grand Hotel during the evening of 14 May, attended by VIPs from Qatar’s foremost organizations, leading figures from the local entrepreneurial ecosystem and numerous incubated startups.

During the same event, QBIC, which is owned by Qatar Development Bank, proudly celebrated its own fourth successful year of contributing to Qatar’s shift towards a knowledge-based economy, with the mission of generating the next QAR 100 million companies. Since its inception, the hard-working business incubation center has graduated over 330 program graduates (to date) with more than 120 companies incubated – from an overall investment of 4.5 million QAR, QBIC’s incubatees have generated 27 million QAR in revenues. Recently, QBIC was named ‘Best Business Incubator in the Middle East 2018’ by the World Business Angels Investment Forum (Turkey).

On Demo Day, a select group of LSP graduates pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. Those who present the best ideas and show the greatest potential are selected to be incubated at QBIC immediately after finishing the LSP. The winners receive professional mentoring services, dedicated office space, and, not least, financial support for their nascent businesses along with excellent networking and acceleration opportunities.

Like previous editions, Demo Day 10 proved an exciting, competitive event. 6 winners were chosen overall, from sectors including education, e-commerce, sports tourism. Business startup ideas in the field of tourism were selected for the specialised QBIC Tourism incubator, guided by Qatar Tourism Authority, while promising technology startups were assigned to the QBIC Digital and Beyond incubator powered by Ooredoo Qatar.

Throughout the ten-week program leading up to this point, the budding entrepreneurs had worked hard to refine and enhance their business ideas and to build product prototypes in preparation for Demo Day. The would-be business leaders all followed a highly successful, internationally respected procedure called the ‘Business Model Canvas’ – a key component of ‘lean’ startup methodology.

The fledgling companies newly selected for incubation will now be required to complete a three-month probation period, during which they will set milestones themselves to ensure that their business idea continues to fulfil QBIC’s requirements for a successful launch. After successfully meeting these milestones, the incubating startups will be activated – meaning they can introduce their products and services to the local market, while continuing to develop within QBIC for two years.

Since QBIC’s launch in 2014, it has been our responsibility to simplify the difficulties facing the entrepreneurs and creating the suitable innovative environment for them to focus on turning their ideas into actual projects. QBIC brings onboard new, innovative companies and creates their role-models from male and female entrepreneurs.
Qatar Development Bank CEO and QBIC Chairman Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa said: “Since QBIC’s launch in 2014, it has been our responsibility to simplify the difficulties facing the entrepreneurs and creating a suitable innovative environment for them to focus on turning their ideas into actual projects. QBIC brings on-board new, innovative companies creating inspirational role-models from the entrepreneurs, whether male or female. The startups selected for incubation are not the only winners here today, because QBIC will continue to provide all the participating Demo Day entrepreneurs with support, advice and mentorship so that they can continue developing their ideas and bring them to life.”

Aysha Al Mudahka, QBIC’s CEO, said: “Today, we look back on the past four busy years and look ahead to the fulfilment of new potential. We feel proud that our teams of entrepreneurs, like our nation, have persistently worked to overcome whatever obstacles may arise. Here at QBIC, we are always working to help ambitious entrepreneurs to overcome the inevitable challenges of running a startup and to fulfil their ambitions to become independent, successful businesses. QBIC Demo Days are therefore always a source of great energy and fantastic ideas to power the next wave of startups. This Demo Day 10 is particularly joyful as a double celebration: our fourth year of activity and tenth wave of LSP. We are very happy to welcome our winners and look forward to sharing their continuing journey towards success. The future is bright for Qatar and Qatari entrepreneurship.”