Start ups and SMEs in Qatar here’s your first step

Dear Startups and SMEs. It’s time to take your first professional step! First of all I wanted to say congratulations to Enterprise Qatar on the appointment of their new CEO. His name is Abdulaziz Al Khalifa. Don’t know him? Ask around, you’ll hear nothing but great things about this guy. What’s more exciting for me, is the fact that he’s all about supporting Qataris and encouraging start-up partnerships in the country. I get excited when there are people who want to empower the youth that get put into these great positions.

I wanted to share something that EQ call the Jadwa program. I’ve gone through their documents and their website and thought it would be nice if I put together the main points (or al zibda in Arabic). Honestly, there are many people (myself included) that have been burnt and demotivated by ‘incubators’, investment schemes and grant programs. Honestly, I kind of felt like it was all for show. “Hey look at us, we’re helping startups”, and then they just sit there.

I’ve seen other organizations (not necessarily in Qatar) that have spent MILLIONS on publicity and luxurious events. Honestly, all I could think was “Wait… why don’t they just use those millions to actually invest in startups?”. Common all you other youthful entrepreneurs, you’re thinking it, I just said it.

Anyway, now EQ has caught my attention (about time!) and it’s with this Jadwa program.

What is it?
You know what I’m bad at? Numbers. I get a great idea and go with my gut instinct. You know what would have given me even MORE confidence in my ideas? Understanding the potential of the business I’m trying to run. Now if I was going to pay a company or consultant to help me put together a feasibility study, it could cost an arm and a leg.

What Jadwa does is they will cover the cost of up to 70% of conducting a feasibility study. Before that, they’ll help advice you as to how sound your businesses idea is before actually moving forward with the feasibility study (that’ll help save you cash).

What’s included in the feasibility study is Market analysis, potential for profit, legality, and more. The goal is to look at the opportunities and weigh them in with the risks. Put simply, they’ll help you assess the cost required and the value you’ll be getting.

More info here on what a feasibility study includes.

Why should you do this?
Well, I’m not here to tell you what you should or shouldn’t do. Different entrepreneurs have different styles. If I was asked to be a part of a program where the program organizers controlled my time and told me what to do, I’d ignore them. If someone made a service available to me that I could use when I wanted to, then I’m interested. So it depends how you want to get started with your business.

Who can apply?
If you’re a Qatari great. You’re one step closer. If you’re an expat, find your Qatari partner and you’re one step closer. (Don’t get sensitive please, this is a program focused on supporting Qataris in Qatar set up businesses in Qatar as a priority first :) )

Here is the online Application form for Entrepreneurs
Here is the online Application form for SMEs

Not what you’re looking for?
Don’t worry. I had a chat with the EQ team and they told me that they’re launching different products and services. There’ll be investment support, advisory services, office space, etc…

My advice

I’m about to impart some words of wisdom here. Take it from a guy that has business idea after business idea.
1- Focus. Pick something you’re seriously passionate about and believe in and go with it. Don’t get distracted. You’ll fail. If you don’t beleive in your own idea, why will others?
2- Be prepared to take some financial risks. Even if you DO get funding, it can be a while until you actually receive anything. Do you want to sit around and wait?
3- Partner! Find the right partners, whether it’s another business you can work with or someone that you want to work with in your own company.
4- Even if you are a small business that has already started for a while. Think like I do. Your business is just start-up with a head start. (It’s important to get into the right mindset).

Another note specifically for expats:
One common thing I hear is, it’s not fair that a Qatari gets 51%. Let’s set this straight. It doesn’t mean that a Qatari takes 51% of the profit. It’s 51% legal responsibility. That means that if the expat he is partnering with or sponsoring takes a loan for 1million riyals and runs away, the Qatari has legal responsibility and can go to jail. So just as an expat might worry about the Qatari sponsoring them, we Qataris also have to worry about the possibility of getting screwed over.
So to set things straight, you could have a legal partnership where the Qatari has 51% ownership but 10% equity or is 5% share plus a fixed salary. (These are just examples).
You want to know why there needs to be Qatari partnerships? We’re 8% of the population! It would take less than a couple of years for people of ANY nationality to just come to Qatar, set up shop, and take all the opportunities away from Qataris.
Then there’s the argument of “Well if they don’t want to do it, then why stop other people from doing business?”. Who says Qataris don’t
Some may say “it’s not OUR fault, not enough people have the entrepreneurial drive or skills to set up a business.” Qatar is a NEW country. Give my people a chance… :)

Any comments? Feedback? I’m pretty sure EQ will probably be checking this blog for your ideas and comments.

The Emiri announcement – Here’s what I’ve heard (UPDATED)


Image shared on Pinterest by Vera Campbell-Capriotti
First of all, thank you so much for your messages and comments saying that we’re a source you can trust. It really means a lot to us.

People saw this post by Al Jazeera titled
‘Qatari emir to meet ruling family members’

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2013/06/2013623221218495868.html

and a post on our sister site Doha News titled
http://dohanews.co/post/53723624652/report-qatars-emir-to-meet-with-ruling-family-members

‘Report: Qatar’s Emir to meet with ruling family members to discuss succession plans’ and then started to ask questions.

So here’s what we’ve heard.

When’s the announcement?
An announcement is going to be made at 4PM today 8AM on the 25th.

It might not necessarily be the change of power, rather the announcement that there will be a shift.

Is there a holiday tomorrow the 25th of June?
People have been sharing that tomorrow will be a holiday.

Everyone, just WAIT for the official announcement. Tomorrow MIGHT be a holiday, it would only be natural to give the country a day to celebrate.

Update: There have been posts on twitter quoting the EMIRI DIWAN and also from Al Arab Newspaper saying that the there will be a holiday on the 25th.
This does NOT mean that all businesses will have a holiday necessarily. It just confirms that government institutions will be on holiday.
Sources: @ahjh_althani and @alarabnewspaper and QatarNewsAgency

What to the Qatari people think?
I can’t speak for everyone, but those friends and family that I ‘have’ spoken to, trust in the Emir, trust in Sheikh Tamim, and believe that Qatar will always be protected, progressive, and with a strong vision.

Feeling patriotic? Here’s Qatar’s National Anthem with translation in english :)

Your friendly neighborhood Qatari,
Mr. Q

iLoveQatar’s YouTube Channel and the Communities Videos

Updated! Have you checked it out yet? No? Then check it out habayeb (that’s multiple of habeebee). http://www.youtube.com/iluvqatar

Since launching it, it’s reached almost 650,000 views, but the really cool thing is that we’re getting some awesome community submissions! I really do want to see more vloggers, animators, comedy, anything really, on YouTube. Here are a few of the latest submissions:

Follow Maryam Al Naemi on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MBA_AlN3aimi
Follow FilmForChange on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/filmforchange

Follow Alex on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/alexklim
Have a great Qatari related video you want to share with everyone? Let us know! Just send an email to contact -at- iloveqatar.net :)

ILQ gets support from Katara

I’m really quite honored by the fact that Katara believe in ILQ’s vision. After sitting down with the President of Katara, Bassam and I explained that we needed so much more support than we currently have to be able to raise funds in order to redesign the website, create new functionality, support the community, AND help encourage the community to create their own original content. ILQ is backed by a fantastic community that volunteer for our events and donate their time to help us grow but now it’s time to rely on bigger organizations to take us to the next level.

Our current offices are on Salwa Road (second floor of King Koil) and we’re now moving into Katara! It feels right! Katara not only aims to be an international cultural hotspot, but it’s here to turn Qatar into a vibrant country with great events. I’ll keep you all posted once we finish off the office.

OH! If anyone knows a company that’s reasonable priced and can help us decorate our offices let me know! Not looking for anything extravagant, we just want the offices to look modern and well spaced.

Showing some love to Japan

Soon after the Big Day Out, we embarked on our next charitable project at ILQ. It was time to go ahead and show the country that gave us Land Cruisers that we appreciate them. Qatar without Land Cruisers just isn’t Qatar! We already did have a booth at the Big Day Out where we raised money for Japan (as well as gave out some awesome freebies like footballs with 2022 on them), but we wanted to do more. So we posted and tweeted that we’d be selling special t-shirts that were had writing in Japanese and Arabic. (I’ve never seen a t-shirt with those two languages before by the way). Our forum user, and the person in charge of the Japanese Society Qatar (JaSoQa), Daisy said that we should use the words Hope, Love, Brave, Happiness, and Peace. She even went as far as making sure that each color chosen was the right one.

 

 

Jim, one of the senior managers over at Landmark group went ahead and offered us space at Villaggio and Landmark (we are very thankful to them!) in order to sell the t-shirts; and it was with that we embarked on our mission. There were some fantastic people from ILQ and the Japanese community (thanks to Kasumi, Hiromi, Yoshiko, Joel and his friends, Kinimoto (who was dressed up as Naruto!), Ryan, Ellie, Joann, Zhan, Keiko and family, and Daisy) that manned the various booths.

So far, we’ve managed to raise over 16,000 QR selling the t-shirts and we’ve now been offered space at the Hyatt Plaza to do the same this Thursday and Friday as well. We’ll be giving the money to the Japanese embassy to do as they see fit.

I’d like to thank all of the kind souls out there that donated and helped us! I’m so very glad that everyone left feeling as if they had achieved something important with their time.

Now for my next ultimate challenge… find a someone to wash my car and guarantee it won’t rain the next day. Anyone?

The importance of sponsors

To many people this is incredibly obvious, but alas, I’m always reminded of someone’s profile that I once read that said ‘Qatar – the land that logic forgot’.

It’s incredibly important to show some love back to the sponsors of events. If you’re an events organizer, showing them that they are important enough to be recognized, means that you’ve got a sponsor that will come back to you. If you’re someone who’s enjoying an event, recognizing the sponsor (or even using that sponsors services/products) means that they can afford to sponsor more events.

But who’s job is it to support sponsors of events? It’s everyones! Let’s say that Qatar Airways decided to go ahead and sponsor an event happening in New Year. Website’s (and magazines) that list the event, should ensure that sponsors logos are on materials (I’ve seen some places CUT OUT sponsor logos!). A lot of people complain that there aren’t enough events happening in Qatar (I’m sure that twitter.com/qatarevents would disagree), but rememember, if sponsors stop.. sponsoring.. events, then there’ll be less events. Less events means less content to cover. I mean, an events guide isn’t really useful when there’s nothing to cover right?

A true supporter is one that’s there til the end

Now this is only my opinion so I hope that this won’t be a ‘I’m more of a fan than you are’ topic.

Let’s rewind a bit to the first match a couple of days ago between Qatar and Uzbekistan. Qatar was excited. The crowd was roaring. Flames spit out of the ground in Khalifa stadium and there was a fireworks display that looked to be MILES long and visible all the way from the Zig Zag towers.

People of all different nationalities in Qatar were all routing for Qatar.

The match starts.

The crowd is clapping, cheering, and drumming. For the first half, it’s just a giant party and it seems that the two countries are pretty event. However, GOAAAAL Uzbekistan scores against us. My heart sinks for a second. “It’s alright, there’s plenty of time left”, I tell myself. I pick up my phone to tweet “Don’t give up on Qatar yet!”. I noticed people tweeting that they are leaving. I look at the stadium seats and I see that sure enough, some people are leaving. “How can they leave at this time?” I think.

Sadly near the end, the Uzbeks score another goal. “It’s alright, 10 minutes left and it probably is enough for us to score one goal”, I hope. Looking at the crowd, I see event MORE empty seats. It’s a sad view.

5 minutes before the match and many have left. I start to thinking. How can a supporter or a true fan desert his team? You need to support your country in both the good times and the bad. I found myself empthazing with the team. Imagine.. the opposing team scoring a goal against you. You look up at the crowd only to see empty seats. People have given up on you. You feel deserted. All for what? To save time so that you don’t get stuck in a few minutes of traffic? What? So you you came for the fireworks and leave?

Someone actually said that it was embarassing. What’s embarassing is when you don’t have the courage to stand by the team you support. Reminds me of those people who always side with the winning team.

Let’s use the analogy of an army. Why fight for a people, who won’t be there for you when you need them the most. Why do some sports have cheerleaders? Qatar doesn’t have super sexy bikini clad babes on the side-lines with their pom poms cheering the team on. WE are the ones who are supposed to give our country support.

Qatar has given many people a better life, but more importantly it’s given everyone HOPE that this place will change everything in the region, the least you can do show some love :)

Oh and to everyone else, chillax, Qatar isn’t the only country in the world to have ever lost a match.

Good luck everyone! And no matter WHICH country you support, support them til the end.

Please support ILQ :)

Hey there all! I just thought I’d let people know of the many ways people can support ILQ!

1) Clicking on ads! Yep, the easiest way is to just click on banners! ILQ relies on sponsors, so if you click on banners then that helps us not only maintain the site but also generate funds to sponsor more events!

2) Spreading the word. Let people know about the fantastic community that iLoveQatar.net is.
People can make friends here, find answers on the forums, check out the classifieds, find out the latest events in Qatar, read up on Qatar related news, join one of the largest friend networks there is (Qfriends) and read up on a great guide!

3) Adding ILQ buttons in your signature! Create a button and add it onto your signature or blog! We’ve also made some buttons for you to use here http://www.iloveqatar.net/linkus.php

4) Share your articles and opinions. Why not write and share articles on ILQ’s forums. We’ll be launching a dedicated section out of the forums but until then, you can write reviews or even share some funny stories!

5) Link exchange. If you’ve got a site, ILQ would love to know about it. We don’t mind people linking to their sites on the forums (as long as they either link back or participate on ILQ).

6) Volunteering! We participate and sponsor loads of events in Qatar. It could be something charitable (like a red crescent event or doing something nice for the labourers) OR something more entertaining (like helping out at the David Guetta or Akon events). Yep not only are you helping out the community but you’re also

7) Updating the guide! If you spot something that isn’t right or something that should be added. Let us know! Drop us a line at contact@iloveqatar.net and we’ll get the guide updated.

8) Install the alexa toolbar from (http://www.alexa.com) and then set ILQ as your homepage. [www.iloveqatar.net]

Do you prefer setting google as your homepage? Here’s an ILQ version! http://www.iloveqatar.net/search

Want to set google as your homepage AND help the environment? Then set http://www.iloveqatar.net/search/black.html as your homepage.

Read this article http://blog.iloveqatar.net/2009/11/energy-efficient-google/ for how you’re helping the environment!

I’m sure you guys can come up with other ways of helping out! Whether it be partnering, sticking stickers around, or just helping out on the forums or our facebook group (which as of today has over 8,400 members!)

Oh! Don’t forget to ‘Like’ ILQ’s Fan page http://www.facebook.com/iloveqtr and Join the ILQ Facebook group! http://www.facebook.com/khalifas?v=wall&story_fbid=158935400797225&po=1#!/group.php?gid=36900681716

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.