Fourth Al Fikra contest launched

January 20, 2014 - 4:52:13 am

Enterprise Qatar CEO Ali Al Khulaifi delivering the keynote speech at the launch of Al Fikra competition during a press conference at the Sharq Village and Spa Hotel yesterday. Qassim Rahmatullah

DOHA: The fourth edition of the annual Qatar National Business Plan Competition — Al Fikra 2014 — organised by Enterprise Qatar (EQ), an  SME-dedicated organisation, was launched yesterday. 

Entry is open and the contest runs until February 2, Ali Al Khulaifi, Acting CEO of EQ, told a press conference.

With the launch of Al Fikra, entrepreneurs and creative minds in Qatar will now have the chance to bring their ideas to life. 

The programme encourages enterprising young minds to submit their ideas for a successful startup business project. 

Winners will receive much needed capital injection in the form of cash prizes and consultancy and incubation services to help their business ideas flourish into profitable ventures.

“We want to tap into one of Qatar’s most important natural resources: The aspiring minds of young entrepreneurs that are driving this country towards the future. We want to offer assistance and guidance to enable them to commercialise their ideas and see them grow,” Al Khulaifi added.

Al Fikra is open to all citizens and residents. Participating entries will go through assessment stages, and six winners will be announced in May by a panel of judges representing different sectors. 

Throughout the process, all contestants will be able to benefit from workshops and educational resources to assist in writing a business case before its submission to the panel.

Al Khulaifi said: “Most young entrepreneurs struggle to find the kind of support they need, whether it is coaching, or much needed business services, that may be out of reach for startups. 

“This competition is meant to engage young entrepreneurs to overcome common hurdles associated with any growing business.”

The competition has assembled important sponsors and strategic and academic partners to enrich the experience of all participants regardless of the outcome of their submissions. 

ExxonMobil and Sasol are platinum sponsors; Qatar Development Bank is Economic Development Partner; Qatar Business Incubation Centre is Startup Development Partner and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and Qatar University are Key Academic partners. 

Other academic institutions participating include, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, College of the North Atlantic in Qatar, Stenden University Qatar, and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Services in Qatar.

Raed Al Emadi, CEO of QBIC; Saleh Al Khulaifi, Head of Business Development, QDB; Saud Al Arifi, Vice-President and H R Manager Qatar and Abu Dhabi for ExxonMobil Qatar Inc, MarjoLouw, President of Sasol Qatar; Dr Ilker Baybars, Dean, CMU-Q; Dr S Thomas Emerson, Professor of Entrepreneurship at CMU-Q and other dignitaries were present at the press conference. 

Entry is free and can be done on Al Fikra’s website The Peninsula