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QDB awards 5 entrepreneurial ideas at Al-Fikra National Business Competition 2016 final ceremony

QDB awards 5 entrepreneurial ideas at Al-Fikra National Business Competition 2016 final ceremony

13 December 2016

At the final awards ceremony of Al-Fikra National Business Competition 2016, Qatar Development Bank (QDB) announced the list of five successful entrepreneurial ideas that were developed during the course of the contest. The fifth edition of Al-Fikra National Business Competition was held under the patronage of the Minister of Economy and Commerce, His Excellency Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim al-Thani, who was in attendance along with the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of QDB, Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa, as well as high-ranking officials of partnered organizations and members of the media community.
‘Servisni’ won first place for the development of a business plan that was based on mobile applications; project ‘Fressia Home’ won second place for a business plan that involved cosmetics and perfumes; project ‘Healthy and Tasty’ won third place for its plan to cater healthy meals; project ‘Kitchen on Wheels’ won fourth place for its plan to develop a mobile restaurant; and project ‘Mezanya’ won fifth place for concepts that involved the use of mobile applications.
The value of the awards amounted to more than QAR 8 million, and prizes ranged from access to finance, incubation time and advisory services to help the successful entrepreneurs translate their business ideas into reality and commence operations on ground.
Commenting during the awards ceremony, CEO, QDB, Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa said: "We, at QDB, aspire to inculcate a culture of creativity, entrepreneurial spirt and innovativeness across the nation through providing a supportive environment for entrepreneurs. An integral part of our development strategy for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been to provide the requisite impetus for the national economy to achieve diversity and sustainable development, as envisioned in Qatar National Vision 2030, and our national business competition is, as such, a case-in-point.”
"Our primary focus during our evaluation phase was the quality and innovativeness of the submissions with respect to the commercial needs of the market—the finalists were selected by the jury on criteria that includes the quality of the ideas submitted and the feasibility of their business plans. Through the support of QDB, the finalists are empowered to translate their business models into a reality.  Here, I would like to thank all the pioneers of Al-Fikra, who participated in the contest in the past editions, and I would like to sincerely congratulate the winners of the current fifth edition," he added.
Assistant General Manager (AGM), SME Banking, QNB, Khaled Al-Nuaimi said: “QNB Group is pleased to sponsor this competition which witnesses the presentation of many creative ideas from budding entrepreneurs. QNB Group always aims to be at the forefront of the organizations supporting the efforts of this upcoming generation of business men and women and nurturing their creative energies for the benefit of our national economy and to build a brighter future for our State of Qatar.”
Al-Nuaimi added: “Our Group is very keen on supporting Small to Medium Enterprises in Qatar, since this sector is of vital importance in promoting the future development of our country as a driver of our national economy. We offer our assistance to this important sector through the offering of innovative state-of-the-art products and services designed to meet and exceed the growing demands of SME customers quickly and easily and a ‘One Stop Shop’ SME Center to answer all their inquiries at the Qatar Business Incubation Center.”
President of GTL Ventures at Sasol, Phinda Vilakazi, said, “Entrepreneurship is in our DNA. It is for this reason that Sasol continues to support Al-Fikra and the talented youth of Qatar to develop their ideas into successful businesses, so that they may make a difference in people’s lives. I would like to thank Qatar Development Bank for continuing to develop and support entrepreneurship in Qatar. In the Arabic-language, we say ‘one hand cannot clap by itself’. It is through your support and encouragement that these young people will realize their dreams.”
President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar, Alistair Routledge, said “ExxonMobil Qatar is proud to support the 2017 edition of the Al Fikra National Business Competition, hosted by Qatar Development Bank. It is a tremendous platform for future business leaders to build on their ingenuity and develop their unique competencies.”
“At ExxonMobil Qatar, we are committed to driving human potential across the country, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030. His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani envisions a society for Qatar that relies on the expertise and ideas of its citizens to drive the dynamism of its economy. Entrepreneurs, like the ones who excelled in this competition, are uniquely positioned to contribute to Qatar’s knowledge-based society. We look forward to seeing them thrive in the future, and to seeing their winning ideas grow and flourish into successful businesses,” added Routledge.
In an effort to assist candidates in developing their ideas and transforming them into operational projects, QDB has collaborated with a group of preeminent supporters and strategic partners to organize Al-Fikra this year. The competition is sponsored by Qatar National Bank (QNB), Sasol and ExxonMobil as official sponsors. Moreover, QDB is collaborating with its two subsidiaries, Qatar Business Incubation Center and Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development.
Expressing gratitude to partners, CEO, QDB, Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa said: "I am truly thankful to the companies that supported Al-Fikra National Business Competition—in particular, I would like to extend my gratitude to QNB, Sasol and ExxonMobil Qatar for their generous support of our initiatives. Furthermore, I am grateful to the support extended by educational institutions—through their dedicated coaching to the teams, they helped bring academic refinement to the business ideas presented this year. Together, we have all taken another step to develop the youth in Qatar through the cultivating of an environment where innovative ideas take root.”
The fifth edition of Al-Fikra was launched in late August 2016 and spread across three phases. The first phase – receipt of team applications and preliminary business plans – began in the period from August 31 to September 17. It was followed by the second phase – training and planning workshops – that spanned the months of September and October. Finally, the last stage saw the presentation of business plans and thorough assessment by the jury on criteria such as creativity, innovation, scalability and feasibility. The jury committee comprised eight evaluators from the local business community, QDB and its official competition partners.
Al-Fikra National Business Competition was first launched in 2013, in cooperation with Enterprise Qatar, Massachusetts Institute of Technology Enterprise Forum (MITEF), Silatech, and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar. The joint initiative aimed to develop entrepreneurs by providing workshops that helped translate business ideas into a reality. Various partners and sponsors from the academic and business associations and community in Qatar were included as key stakeholders in the process. Since then, more than 200 ideas have been presented at the Al-Fikra nationwide contests, of which 14 business models have been supported through incubation time, integrated consultancy program coupons, and access to finance.