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Qatar Development Bank announces Al-Fikra Competition winners

The Qatar Development Bank has created a great place from which young Qatari entrepreneurs can take innovation to new levels

Qatar Development Bank revealed the names of the winning teams in the fourth edition of “Al-Fikra” competition for start-ups, during the Gala Dinner at the Marriott Marquis Doha Hotel.

Al-Fikra competition was launched in September this year, in partnership with a number of influential economic and educational institutions and companies in Qatar, such as Sasol, the international integrated chemicals and energy company, as the official sponsor, and ExxonMobil Qatar as the platinum sponsor. Other significant partners Qatar University and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar provided all the academic support for the contestants, and Qatar Business Incubation Center and Bedaya Center organized the competition. During the three months the jury, consisting of 7 dignitaries from academia, members of the business community and officials of Qatar Development Bank, evaluated each idea presented by the entrepreneurs throughout the competition in order to select the winning groups. There were 200 Qatari entrepreneurs divided into 75 teams, and each team presented one idea.

Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO of Qatar Development Bank, said: “The competition this year showed a great drive for innovation which demonstrates the ability of Qatari entrepreneurs to understand the market needs and its mechanisms. This success motivates us to enhance our support to entrepreneurs in Qatar and SMEs in particular. Ideas we heard during the presentations is what will drive our national economy forward”.

The first place winner is Ahmed Al-Meer, presented the Blue Marine Farm idea while the second is Nasser Al-Jaber who presented the idea Pivot Solutions. The third place is Ali Al-Kaabi who presented the Gulf Studio idea, and the fourth place is Fatma Al-Khater for the Smart Lend idea, while Mubarak Al-Khulaifi team came in fifth place and the last presenting idea Football Playgrounds Reservations.

On behalf of the best team, Mr. Ahmed Al-Meer said: “We want to thank Qatar Development Bank and the companies which made this competition possible on their trust and faith in our ideas and ability to innovate for the benefit of our society.”

Phinda Vilakazi, President of GTL Ventures at Sasol, said, “Entrepreneurs are the engines of innovation, efficiency and job growth. Sasol is pleased to be main sponsor of this competition, a proving ground for Qatar’s future economic leaders. Qatar is a shining example of where ambitious ideas are put into action and made reality. We thank Qatar Development Bank for their leadership and wish success to all those who participated in the event.”

“At ExxonMobil Qatar, we believe one of the greatest contributions we can make is to provide the energy to drive human potential in support of a skilled and productive workforce that can sustain Qatar’s future. Such a workforce is the key to a sustainable, knowledge-based economy, as outlined in the Qatar National Vision 2030. We’re committed to supporting capacity building initiatives at every link in the chain, from primary school through to the boardroom,” said Simon Younger, Acting President and General Manager for ExxonMobil Qatar.

“The Qatar Development Bank has created a great place from which young Qatari entrepreneurs can take innovation to new levels, contribute to shifting workforce demographics, and be catalysts of economic change. We are extremely pleased to be a part of the 2015 Al Fikra National Business Competition and look forward to seeing its winning ideas grow and flourish into successful businesses,” added Younger.

During the gala dinner, George White, distinguished career professor from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and the founder of the Al Fikra competition, was awarded the prestigious appreciation award for his effort and contribution in creating a supportive environment for entrepreneurship in Qatar.

Dr. George White, said: “As an educator in Qatar, I encourage entrepreneurship through my classes, and competitions like Al Fikra provide a platform for students to put their theory to practical use. Al Fikra is making a significant contribution to the entrepreneurial culture in Qatar. We sincerely thank Qatar Development Bank for their role in promoting entrepreneurship in Qatar.”