Qatar’s Digital Incubation Centre supports startups to help them grow and innovate in Qatar.
The Digital Incubation Centre (DIC) turns dreams into reality. Ask what they actually produce, and the answer will be innovation and success. Set up in 2011, the Digital Incubation Centre aims to support young entrepreneurs to transform their ideas into viable businesses.
They nurture the creation of new innovative digital startups in Qatar, helping young people learn essential business and commercialisation skills and develop their innovations.
Duha Albuhendi, DIC Manager, says: ‘We provide an array of targeted resources and services to entrepreneurs within the Digital Space, in order to accelerate the successful development of startups and fledgling companies.
‘By offering expertise, professional guidance, and services – including access to workspaces, business planning, training and mentorship, and legal counselling – we help innovators with emerging technologies to succeed.’
“Most of the startups join DIC with only an idea. We take them through a series of trainings and hand-holding support until they become mature businesses.”
Other services include networking and participation in local and international events, and access to a network of partners and business contacts. There is also access to investment forums and angel investors, free office space and shared facilities.
DIC offers its array of services for free to all of its incubated startups, helping contribute to the rapid growth of Qatar’s thriving digital economy. It currently offers four programmes for start-ups. There is the Ideacamp, a five-week programme for entrepreneurs, technologists, developers and designers who have a great idea for a technology solution.
Participants take part in a series of workshops, training and mentorship programmes to help them develop a business model, build a prototype and test their idea with customers, with the support of industry mentors and DIC staff. By the end of the programme, participants will pitch to join the DIC Startup Track to take the idea to the next level.
Then there is the ‘launch’ stage and ‘growth’ stage of Startup Track – each taking a year. The first year is structured around a set of milestones taking a startup from prototype to registered business in Qatar.
The second year is focused on growing the business. Startups with a business already launched can join the Growth Stage Program.
Additionally, there is the co-working space; startups and entrepreneurs with an idea for a technology business can use this space in preparation for joining one of the DIC Incubation Programs.
Albuhendi says: ‘Most of the startups join DIC with only an idea. We take them through a series of trainings and hand-holding support until they become mature businesses. Some examples of those startups that have joined as an idea and have now reached the growth stage include E-emdad, Applab, Wash Now, Magaza, FiTech, Urban Point and Meeddy. Some of these have graduated from DIC, others are about to do so.
‘As of today, DIC has supported 178 teams of entrepreneurs. Some 75 of them have reached the startup stage. Many of our startups have been successful in raising funds from local investors and international VCs and expanding to other markets besides Qatar. We are immensely proud of the successes our businesses have achieved.’