DOHA – On April 4-6, the U.S. Embassy in Doha and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar partnered to launch “3 Day Startup” (3DS) -- an American non-profit organization that empowers the next generation of youth business leaders. Since its conception five years ago, over 2,500 3DS alumni from 55 worldwide events have started 39 technology companies that have collectively raised $9.5 million in investment capital.
During Doha’s three-day entrepreneurship “boot camp,” over forty students representing nearly every university in Qatar collaborated to build innovative technology start-ups for Qatari and international markets. U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Susan L. Ziadeh said, “To witness the energy and innovation of these students is truly inspirational. The entrepreneurial spirit is at the core of our shared mission to cultivate participatory and prosperous communities. Once again, the youth of Qatar have shown us that if you work hard and collaborate, everything is possible.” Students came to the program from a cross-section of disciplines – business, computer science, communications, law, design – diving into the program’s entrepreneurship laboratory that simulated the real thrills and challenges of launching a startup.
Carnegie Mellon Qatar ramped up the event by inviting high-profile faculty to mentor the students throughout the weekend, including Dave Mawhinney, Director of the Donald H. Jones Center for Entrepreneurship, and Dr. Milton Cofield, Executive Director, Undergraduate Programs.
“We are proud to have hosted the 3-Day Startup event for the first time in Doha. Empowering our youth to become active constituents of today’s business society is the basis for developing a knowledge-based economy. Each team demonstrated exceptional entrepreneurial skills and teamwork over the last three days. This program has brought together many talented and energetic young people who want to help achieve Qatar’s National Vision 2030 by founding and building new enterprises,” said professor and 3DS organizer Thomas Emerson.
The Qatar chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization – led by President Khalifa Al-Misnad – also mobilized successful Qatari entrepreneurs to mentor students on doing business in Qatar.
From online fitting experience, mobile inflight magazines, application for booking taxis in Qatar to a virtual market place for home catering - students came up with innovative solutions utilizing their business acumen and creative flair.
The high energy weekend culminated with student team “pitches” to a panel of experts and angel investors. Students demonstrated real prototypes for new technology startups in the hopes of attracting investment from established entrepreneurs.
Kenrick Fernandes, Tidalal team member and Carnegie Mellon Qatar computer science student, expressed his excitement about winning the 3DS team focus award.
“It was a really great experience and it is a good feeling to know that we won an award. It was great working with students from different backgrounds- our various skills sets complemented each other. I particularly enjoyed applying my computer science knowledge to develop an app that could have an impact on Qatar’s culture.
“One thing that really stood out for me was the momentum and excitement that was built during the program, after Friday I couldn’t wait to get here early on Saturday morning,” Fernandes said.
The following universities in Qatar participated in 3 Day Startup: Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Qatar University, Drexel University, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, College of the North Atlantic, Stenden University, Hamad Medical Corporation, University of Leeds, TKM College of Engineering, Academic Bridge Program.
3DS Team Hustle: Fit Right
3DS Team Focus: Tidalal
3DS Smooth Talker: Sweet Story
3DS Best use of a hairdryer: Smart Clothing
Spirit of 3DS: Bayt Baytk