The Enterprise Challenge Qatar, running now for five consecutive years, is an annual competition that seeks to promote and inspire the entrepreneurial spirit among young people in Qatar. The competition consists of three parts: the ethical business challenge, which tests participants’ ability to balance the economic, environmental and social performance of their company; a business simulation element, which familiarises students with general business such as finance, sales, and production; and the business pitch, in which participants present their ideas to a panel of judges from the business community in Qatar.
Mrs. Fawzia Al Khater, Assistant Undersecretary for Educational Affairs, Ministry of Education and Higher Education, conveyed her continued support for the programme by stating: “Entrepreneurship plays a vital rule toward training and equipping the younger generations to establish their own business ventures in the future. This in turn will lead to new employment opportunities and support the State drive into diversifying sources of income and the transformation to a prosperous and viable knowledge-based economy”.
Following the outcome of this year’s Grand Final competition, winners of the competition were recognized during an awards ceremony. Newton International Academy claimed first prize, competing with 40 independent and international high schools in Qatar. The wining team took home a prize of QR 10,000 to fund their business idea and its implementation. Second place was awarded to Qatar Banking Studies and Business Administration School, while Al Rabaa Al Adawiya School were awarded third place.
Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar claimed first prize among competing universities at the grand final competition. The winning team took home a prize of QR 20,000 to fund their business idea. Second place was awarded to College of North Atlantic Qatar with Qatar University finishing third.
Commenting on the competition, Abdulaziz Bin Nasser Al-Khalifa, CEO of Qatar Development Bank and Chairman of Bedaya Center said, “Fostering entrepreneurship is a critical part of developing a diverse economy in Qatar, and at Bedaya we believe that by encouraging young people to consider entrepreneurship, Enterprise Challenge Qatar will help create and sustain a thriving private sector.”
Michiel Kool, Managing Director and Chairman of Qatar Shell Companies stated, “Qatar Shell is very proud to celebrate the fifth year of Enterprise Challenge Qatar. Thousands of students across the country have participated during this time, making a tangible contribution to the future of entrepreneurship in Qatar.”
“This programme is growing from strength to strength, and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and all our partners, we are working on taking the Enterprise Challenge Qatar programme nationwide to all independent schools in Qatar,” Michiel added.
Preparation for this year’s competition was launched in September 2016, reaching out to more than 1,200 students from schools and universities from across Qatar. Since its inception in 2012, more than 3,500 students have participated.
The ‘Enterprise Challenge’ competition was created by Prince's Trust International, a UK-based not-for-profit organisation established by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales, with a range of mentoring programmes aimed at fostering opportunities for young people. Qatar Shell is the founding partner of Prince's Trust International in Qatar, and together with Bedaya, has worked to bring the ‘Enterprise Challenge’ to Qatar.
Bedaya, which means ‘starting point’ in Arabic, was established as a Center to provide young people with the ultimate entrepreneurial and career development services in Qatar.
At Bedaya Center, young people can discover which direction they wish to take, either through career development or through starting their own enterprise. Bedaya provides young people with access to a comprehensive range of youth services, training programs, support and activities each month, in order to help them achieve their career goals and develop their job skills, or to accelerate their entrepreneurial aptitude and ambitions.
Bedaya does this by developing and supporting young entrepreneurs to succeed with a business idea and also helping young people to go for career options that match their personality. Bedaya offers useful workshops to develop key business and workplace skills in leadership, communication, public speaking, project management, idea generation, in short everything needed for success in a career or business.
In career development, Bedaya advisors help to set goals and recommend useful websites, books and workshops to learn from during this process. Bedaya also presents a host of alternative possibilities for consideration such as part-time jobs, taster days, volunteering, internships and job shadowing. Candidates can then evaluate these options before making an informed decision about their chosen future career path.
For entrepreneurship, Bedaya Center offers practical help to budding entrepreneurs in evaluating their business idea by recognizing a gap in the market or creating new business niche. Bedaya advisors help candidates to put together a full business plan with market analysis, legal registration, operational plan, marketing strategy and financial projections. Bedaya also teaches candidates crucial skills such as networking, using technology and social media in marketing, branding and pitching their business to potential investors. Finally, Bedaya advises throughout the incubation period and early growth of a start-up.