Qatar’s first specialised incubator for tourism start-ups was officially launched yesterday.
Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) Tourism, guided by Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA), will enable entrepreneurs to develop products and services that enhance the Qatar tourism experience.
Entrepreneurs will be provided business development tools and access to insight and guidance from QTA decision-makers.
The launch event was attended by QBIC chairman and Qatar Development Bank CEO Abdulaziz al-Khalifa and Hassan al-Ibrahim, chief tourism development officer at QTA.
“A central tenet for QBIC is to be continually strengthening our start-up culture in Qatar not only by providing the support and space that every business needs but by partnering for specific excellence and cutting-edge opportunity within prominent industries,” al-Khalifa said.
In Qatar, tourism is playing an increasingly pivotal role in diversifying the nation’s economy, providing a shield from oil price fluctuations.
QTA identifies types of products and services that will contribute to a more diverse tourism offering and works to attract investment for their development.
The involvement of homegrown talent in developing Qatar’s tourism sector is crucial to ensuring that visitor experiences are embedded in, and reflective of, the country’s national culture and heritage.
Today’s start-ups in QBIC Tourism have a unique opportunity to participate in laying the foundations for a strong tourism industry that will continue to grow and contribute to the national economy up to and beyond the FIFA World Cup 2022.
QBIC earlier had a soft-launch period that witnessed the incubation of nine start-ups.
During incubation, potential entrepreneurs can develop and expand their business ideas within any of the four main sectors of tourism activity that have been identified as priorities for Qatar: business events; urban and family entertainment; sports and recreation; and culture and heritage products.
QBIC CEO Aysha al-Mudahka said that small and medium enterprises accounted for the majority of businesses worldwide and played significant roles in any nation in generating IP and building economic resilience.
“We are delighted that QBIC Tourism will be helping to develop Qatar’s increasingly important tourism offering by providing practical assistance, hands-on experience and the sharing of innovative opportunities and ideas.”
One of QBIC’s flagship initiatives is LeanStartup, a 10-week entrepreneurial programme that provides real world, hands-on learning experience on how to successfully start a company.
With the tourism incubator officially launched, al-Mudahka encouraged potential entrepreneurs to apply.
Five of the already incubated companies at QBIC Tourism were selected during the QBIC “Demo Day” last month at the end of a 10-week long programme for developing and testing start-up business ideas.
“We know from experience that all entrepreneurs benefit enormously from practical assistance and the opportunity to network and collaborate with experts and business creatives,” al-Mudahka said.
“With QTA guidance, QBIC Tourism promises to be a fast track to business viability for successful candidates in tourism.
“Whether in business events, urban and family entertainment, sports and recreation, or culture and heritage, Qatar-based entrepreneurs with a good business idea for Qatar’s growing tourism industry can get started now by getting in touch with us,” she noted.
QBIC has proved a successful business incubator since its inception, offering training, mentoring, office and workshop space and financial assistance for start-ups in any field.
Building on this success, more recently QBIC has partnered with other organisations, including QTA, to set up specialised incubators so that entrepreneurs and SMEs in certain sectors can benefit from industry insider expertise and connections.
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