Wannabe entrepreneurs came together for 54 intense hours where they pitched ideas, got advice from mentors and tried to refine their ideas. On the final day, six groups gave a five-minute pitch to six top-notch judges chosen because they have made some sort of entrepreneurial or educational impact in Qatar.
There were definitely some innovative online ideas. Here’s the list of final teams:
1.Faalia – an online portal of all events in Doha
2.EazyShop – online grocery shopping for locals
3.Doxa – a rated opinion site for everyday users with a highly effective search engine
4.Doha Links – Public taxi devices for passengers to access Doha events & browse
5.ICTNews – an Arabic technology news site
6.Time Bank – a link between students and companies
After some deliberation the judges decided on the final three teams that they felt with some fine-tuning, could eventually lead to great success: Time Bank took 3rd place and 2nd went to the young and ambitious team of Doha Links, 15-year old Qatari nationals, Abdullatif Al Kuwari and Salman Al Sulaifi who were partnered with 27-year old, Indian, Mufeed Ahmed.
But there could only be one winner and the main prizes of ipads and 3-hours of entrepreneurship consultation, went to Doxa, the team of Qataris, Rashid Al Naemi and Nasser Al-Naimi and Indians, Adil Abdulaziz and Tejas Kumar, “We don’t have any big costs so it’s just us sitting down and getting a volume of people to our site and then giving the information to government entities.”
Al Naemi expressed a need for more networking opportunities “We would have liked more established people telling us more stories about their own experience, we’re not just looking for a five minute speech we’re looking for time to sit down with people and it would have also been good to see more teams and more tech ideas”. Khalid Aboujassoum Co-Founder & Executive Manager at ibTECHar did offer the future entrepreneurs some advice to focus on globalization not localization, “Don’t become a copycat, think originally, believe me, you can do it, I’ve been there. And refrain from services, they are unsustainable.”
Public Sector Lead at Microsoft Qatar, Lana Khalaf was just one of the judges optimistic that all the teams and future participants will use this experience as a springboard, ‘I hope they take it to the next level and this is not just an event where they get prizes and that’s it, all the students who have really great ideas, we at Microsoft take them into Imagine Cup where they present their ideas and we give the winners financial prizes to develop their idea into a start-up and then they go to London for 15 days of training.”
With the opening of doors to such opportunities, the next Startup Weekend in Doha will hopefully attract even more budding entrepreneurs.