Head’s up, aspiring Qatar entrepreneurs – the country’s first startup-minded co-working hub is preparing to open next month with a crowd-funding event to help get fledgling businesses off the ground.
The center, 7ayak Hub, is pronounced “Hayak,” which means “welcome,” “hello” or “come in” in Arabic and it will provide space for startups in Qatar to collaborate with and support one another.
The three-story building in Madinat Khalifa South offers hot-desking for those who need a space to work once in a while, and also 24/7 full office facilities with permanent desks.
There is enough space for 17 people to work at permanent desks and 50 people to work at hot-desks at once.
Entrepreneurship is already an important aspect of Qatar’s economic diversification strategy, and organizations such as Bedaya and Silatech exist to provide mentoring and practical support to budding young business people.
Qatar University’s College of Business and Economics also has a Center for Entrepreneurship that works with the wider community to help with business plans and skills.
The co-working hub concept is already established in much of North America and Europe, and is starting to become popular in other parts of the Gulf.
Its aim is to bring together entrepreneurs, freelancers, community activists and start-up founders under the same roof to share ideas and skills.
7ayak Hub Director Evgenia Berestneva told Doha News that the goal is to fill a gap in the Qatar market. She continued:
“A center has recently opened up in Dubai and we felt it was time Qatar had one too, as the concept of entrepreneurship is gaining momentum here.
“There is support for people to start their own businesses but no natural ecosystem for them to talk to each other and get mutual support, advice and expertise. We hope this is what we can achieve through the hub.”
The hub organizers plan to launch their venture with a crowd-funding event on Wednesday, Sept. 3 from 6pm to 9pm.
Tickets for the event cost QR50 if reserved in advance, QR75 at the door, with all proceeds going toward a “winning fund.”
On the night of the event, the pioneer tenants of 7ayak Hub will pitch their business ideas to a panel of experts and the audience, and the idea that is voted most popular will win the fund to help grow their business.
For those interested in hub membership, QR100 tickets are available, which can get the purchaser a 50 percent discount on their first month. Online tickets can be reserved here.
Current hub tenants
Some of the business people who already have space at the hub and who will be vying to win the prize money include:
- Haitham Al-Haidari, co-founder of United Admissions Qatar tutoring center;
- Deevina Visrolia, co-founder of Karak Time, an online platform covering events, activities and stories about trend setters and entrepreneurs in Qatar;
- Meraj Mohammed, co-founder of 7ayak 7aya, providing advice and a directory covering health, diet and fitness;
- Adnan Mujib, co-founder of the House of Wow production company which provides photography and videography services to SMEs; and
- Hesham Attia, CEO of Dorra, which offers creative “edutainment” and interactive content.
The organizers said that they also plan to put on educational, training and networking events for members and new-comers throughout the coming year.
This article was edited to correct the fact that it is not an initiative of The Youth Company.