Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) – owned by Qatar Development Bank (QDB) – launched their 11th wave of the LeanStartup Program on October 9th, 2018. QBIC marked the launch by hosting Jo Malone – the entrepreneurial perfumier who has created some of the world’s best-loved fragrances – at the latest edition of their insightful Speaker Series.

QBIC’s Lean Startup Program (LSP) is the most successful of its kind within the MENA region, with over 380 graduates to date. The program focuses on empowering entrepreneurs and providing them with the tools, hands-on experience and know-how to successfully bring their business ideas to life, which aligns with QBIC’s mission of developing Qatar’s next QAR 100 million companies.

Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al Khalifa, Qatar Development Bank CEO and QBIC Chairman said: “This new wave of aspiring entrepreneurs, God willing, will be following in the footsteps of those who have come before them. The success stories of our incubated startups so far have generated more than QAR 54m for the Qatari economy. QBIC’s LeanStartup Program continues to advance the overall strategy of Qatar Development Bank in its own mission to stimulate a vibrant, robust and diversified private sector, through the incubation and empowerment of Qatari entrepreneurs and SMEs which reaffirms QBIC’s role as a catalyst for development and the shift towards a diversified economy. It is always a pleasure to host inspiring entrepreneurs like Jo Malone”

During the event, Jo Malone – who was visiting Qatar for the first time – addressed the new wave of aspiring entrepreneurs as they embarked on their journey, sharing her entrepreneurial insights, brand building journey, industry expertise, personal story, and how she moved on from her first, huge success to build another new brand, Jo Loves.

Malone, who has been described as an ‘English scent maverick’, continues to create some of the world’s favourite fragrances. Malone discovered her talent for creating scented products in her own kitchen using naturally scented ingredients. From these artisan beginnings, she launched her first brand, Jo Malone London, which gained popularity all over the world and was acquired by Estée Lauder in 1999. Now Malone’s new brand, Jo Loves, is pioneering a fresh approach to beautiful, unexpected fragrances with the aim of again transforming the perfume industry.

Jo’s significant contribution to the UK economy was rewarded this summer by Queen Elizabeth II with the title of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Aysha Al Mudahka, QBIC CEO said, “We’re honoured and delighted to have Jo Malone join us for this Speaker Series session to help inspire the business leaders of tomorrow. Our LSP participants have a unique opportunity to witness with their own eyes and ears an entrepreneur who has become an international sensation after starting small and following her own dreams and passions through hard times to get to where she is in the world now.”

Ms Al Mudahka continued, “Jo Malone’s spectacular story is the perfect beginning for the aspiring entrepreneurs going into QBIC’s transformative program. And given the remarkably high quality of ideas and entrepreneurs who have joined us here in LSP 11, we can’t wait to see their creative processes come to life too.”

During the 10-week LSP 11 program, Qatar’s most promising entrepreneurs will work on developing and transforming their ideas into viable startups, by leveraging the “lean startup” methodology. At the end of this program, they will get a chance to earn incubation by pitching their refined business ideas to a judging panel during Demo Day, which will take place in early December and marks the beginning of their business-building journey.