SILA stages live demo of business angel network in action
- Qatar: Sunday, October 21 - 2012 at 10:54
- PRESS RELEASE
SILA, Qatar's newly launched business angel network, kicked off with a live demonstration Monday night to a packed audience at the Four Seasons Hotel. Selected entrepreneurs from Qatar, Lebanon, Egypt, Palestine, Jordan and the USA presented their business ideas live to a group of angel investors from the region, in hopes of gaining funding, mentoring and networking contacts to help get their businesses off the ground.
Founding Partners in SILA include Silatech, Enterprise Qatar (EQ), Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and the Bedaya Center.
Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee and Qatar Shell sponsored the event, and Qatar Foundation is SILA's Knowledge Partner.
The SILA Angel Investment Network is a network of organizations, businesses, and individuals aligned on the common goal of catalyzing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in Qatar as a hub for the wider Arab world. It aims to do this by unlocking an alternative to traditional forms of financing for young entrepreneurs such as banks or loans from family members.
Through a series of networking events such as tonight's live demonstration, SILA will work to build connections between young entrepreneurs from Qatar and the region with potential angel investors who would take an equity stake in startup businesses, bringing both much-needed financing and business experience to help enable success.
To address the so-called 'start-up equity gap', SILA will provide entrepreneurial support services from a wide network of partner organizations. Partner contributions include training of entrepreneurs and angel investors, mentorship and incubation, financing, technical assistance, business network outreach, and on-the-ground implementation.
In addition to presentations from the entrepreneurs, who also answered questions about their businesses from angel investors, the event featured dynamic discussions among leading businesspersons from throughout the region. Several angel investors related their experiences, noting the fulfilment and satisfaction they received from participating in startup ventures.
According to Silatech CEO Dr. Tarik M. Yousef, "SILA is all about networks and connectivity. We seek to bring together components which already exist in the region—young entrepreneurs with energy and ideas, potential investors willing to assume some risk in return for an exciting role in driving business success, and organizations with technical assistance and knowledge to offer—to help nourish and grow the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar as a hub for the wider Arab world."
He added, "While our ultimate objective is for the concept of angel investing to catch on and succeed throughout the region, by helping Qatar diversify and build its 'knowledge economy' sector, SILA is very much in line with Qatar's 2030 Vision."
In addition to planning networking events to encourage interaction between start-ups and potential backers, SILA will provide training programmes for both potential angel investors as well as for aspiring young entrepreneurs.
Mr. Mansour Bin Ibrahim Al Mahmoud, QDB's Chief Executive Officer, said, "We're happy to be part of this initiative by Silatech as it certainly accentuates our combined efforts to build and promote solid fundamentals for a healthy ecosystem that encourages the development of an entrepreneurial spirit and culture in Qatar. SILA is a solution to bridge the gap between championing a winning idea and turning it into enterprise success. Our research has shown that entrepreneurs face many barriers and our role here, as vanguards of the private sector, is essential for these start-up's to evolve into engines of growth for the economy. This is why we at QDB, have devised many programmes amongst them is the 'Al-Dhameen Programme', in partnership with other banks, to guarantee finance up to 85% of a project's cost for private sector businesses .This is a solid testament to our serious commitments in order to help entrepreneurs advance and flourish."
Noora Al Mannai, CEO of Enterprise Qatar, commented, "We are delighted to be providing managerial and technical advisory services, including mentoring and business incubation support, on behalf of SILA for high potential individuals and their companies; we look forward to providing a platform to help them grow dynamic, world class companies."
Haya bint Khalifa Al Nassr, Director of Communication at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, said, "Qatar Foundation is proud to be a knowledge partner for the SILA project. Its aim of promoting entrepreneurialism in Qatar resonates with our stated mission to unlock human potential, and we are delighted to offer our expertise and resources to help ensure the success of the project. Qatar Foundation will be supporting SILA by offering entrepreneurs access and benefits at high level conferences, providing venues for workshops, and linking entrepreneurs to QF's wide network of contacts."
Sheikh Thani Al-Thani, Deputy General Manager, Qatar Shell, said, "Shell is proud to partner with Silatech on this initiative to connect angel investors and entrepreneurs to enable them to bring new ideas to life. In our effort to support SMEs in Qatar, we are pursuing several initiatives to enhance local content and support organizations that can act as catalysts in this process. This is part of our ongoing support to Qatar's vision of promoting economic development via nurturing small businesses."
Bedaya Center Manager Saleh Al Khulaifi, noted, "SILA provides an important mode of support for startup businesses, and we at the Bedaya Center are happy to incorporate it into the range of services we provide to young entrepreneurs and job seekers in Qatar."
According to Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee, "The work SILA is engaging in has the potential to make a significant contribution toward diversifying the economy on a national level through promoting start-ups and small and medium business enterprises. The Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee aims to utilise the 2022 FIFA World Cup to be part of this process and to provide a catalyst for entrepreneurs and SMEs, on a national and regional level."
Additional organizations supporting SILA include Flat6Labs, Golden Seeds, ictQATAR, MIT Enterprise Forum of the Pan Arab Region, Qatar Mobility Innovations Center, Qatari Businesswomen Association, Q Media, Sawaid Qatar, Stars of Science, Think Big Qatar, Virginia Commonwealth University (Qatar), and Wamda.
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