The programme was designed and delivered by Common Purpose, the global leadership development organisation, and brought together 25 leaders from a variety of sectors and specialisms to tackle the challenge: “How can we make a step-change in the survival rate of Qatari start-ups?”

The group themselves were guided through an innovation process – involving inputs from experts and organisations from across Qatar’s entrepreneurship ‘eco-system’ – and charged with developing new ideas to be prototyped in order to make an impact on the challenge. The ideas were exciting, and included:

  • Qatar Association for SMEs (a body of entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs to facilitate peer-to-peer support, a lobbying voice to government and improved market access as a single point of contact for buyers)
  • Discovery Dome (a place for school children to visit – either as a mobile unit visiting schools, a Park or in a mall – that will provide experiences to help them understand important societal issues/needs such as a warming climate, and then help them develop their creative problem-solving skills. Will work closely with schools and Ministry of Education to integrate innovation and entrepreneurship into the early curriculum)

The Platform (an online, one-stop-shop, both for existing and potential entrepreneurs providing simple direction to the information, support and inspiration to make the most of the existing offer to them by organisations in the eco-system).

Economic diversification is a key pillar of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and the Common Purpose Navigator Program is one of a number of initiatives Shell and their partners are supporting to promote innovation and entrepreneurialism.

“We are proud to contribute actively, together with our partners Qatar Business Incubator Center (QBIC), Social Development Center (SDC) and Silatech, to the Common Purpose ‘Navigator’ programme,” says Rob Sherwin, Deputy Country Chairman & Chair of Navigator Advisory Group.  “The programme will play a valuable role in engaging future leaders and entrepreneurs in some of the practical issues raised by the Qatar National Vision 2030 by helping them to be more innovative, more entrepreneurial, and better leaders.”

Munther Al Dawood, Projects & Investment Manager and Acting CEO at Social Development Center added, “We aim through the Navigator programme to engage entrepreneurs and future leaders in meeting the requirements of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and better equip them to address the challenges accompanying the surging economy. This will in turn help harness their leadership skills and develop entrepreneurial business ideas into innovative, sustainable and profitable businesses leading the way to economic diversification. He added “We at SDC are delighted to work closely with our partners to bring this excellent programme to Qatar and we hope that participants will maximize benefits from this initiative, ultimately reaching their full potential as future leaders”. 

Participants on the Navigator programme were drawn from established organisations such as Hamad Medical Corporation, Ooredoo, Teach for Qatar, QatarEnergy, Qatar University, Al Jazeera, Lusail Real Estate, Sidra Medical and Research Center; new start-ups such as  CloudClinik and Envirocon, as well as partners  such as Shell, Silatech, SDC and QBIC.

"Entrepreneurship is fundamental to Qatar's efforts to develop toward a diversified, knowledge-based economy," said Mohammed Al Naimi, Acting CEO of Silatech. He added, "Silatech is proud to partner with Common Purpose to support the 'Navigator' program as we engage future leaders to develop fresh perspectives on the challenges and rewards of entrepreneurship."

Aysha Al Mudahka, Chief Executive, Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) concluded:

"QBIC is delighted to partner with Common Purpose for the Navigator program, as it is directly aligned with our vision of creating an easily accessible, ever-growing private sector in Qatar.”  

She added: “Aspiring entrepreneurs and corporate leaders who took part in the program are now well-aware of the challenges associated with starting a business, and are equipped with management skills needed to succeed and grow.”

About Silatech

Silatech is a regional social initiative that works to create jobs and expand economic opportunities for young Arabs. The organization promotes large-scale job creation, entrepreneurship, access to capital and markets, and the participation and engagement of young people in economic development. Since being founded in 2008 by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Silatech has financed and supported over 90,000 youth-owned businesses, and created or sustained over 140,000 jobs throughout the Arab world. For more information, please visit

About Social Development Center

Social Development Center is a non-profit social development organization, founded in 1996 under the aegis of her highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

The Center aims at contributing to community development via riding herd on families and developing human resources through training, rehabilitation and awareness-raising. The Center also strives to offer advanced development-oriented social services so that it adjusts the factors of sufficiency, solidarity and balance for each and every family member. It is mainly concerned with youth and disadvantaged groups in matters of education, potentials and access to resources so as to achieve its vision aspiring to ensuring stability as well as social and economic security for the family.

The Center emerged from Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and has lately joined Qatar Foundation for Social Work. It is also a member of United Nations' Economic and Social Council, Arab Network for NGOs and World Family Organization.

About Qatar Business Incubation Centre

Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC) is the largest mixed-use business incubator in the MENA region. QBIC was founded by two of Qatar's leading government institutions supporting local entrepreneurs: Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and the Social Development Center (SDC). QBIC's goal is to develop the next QAR 100 Million companies in Qatar. QBIC empowers entrepreneurs to start and grow companies by incubating, developing, connecting and investing.

One of QBIC’s flagship initiatives is LeanStartup, turning innovative ideas into startup businesses. LeanStartup is a ten-week entrepreneurial program that provides real world, hands-on learning experience on how to successfully start a company.

About Common Purpose

Common Purpose runs leadership development programmes that enable people from different backgrounds, sectors, geographies and generations to work together to solve common problems. In the process, we give participants the inspiration, skills and connections to become better leaders, both at work and in society.

Founded in 1989 as a not-for-profit social enterprise, Common Purpose now runs local programmes for leaders in cities across the world, and global programmes for leaders from over 100 countries across six continents. This year, 4,000 leaders will become Common Purpose alumni. 

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