The Business Year

Aysha Al-Mudahka

QATAR - Economy

Success Story

CEO, Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC)


Aysha Al-Mudahka is CEO of Qatar Business Incubation Center, a leading business incubator in the MENA region. CEO since July 2014, Al Mudahka leads a team of professionals devoted to supporting local entrepreneurs and whose mission is to develop the next QAR100 million companies in Qatar. Born and raised in Qatar, Al-Mudahka has a strong academic background in business. She has completed post-graduate programs at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, and most recently graduated from HEC Paris with an Executive MBA.

TBY talks to Aysha Al-Mudahka, CEO of Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), on supporting innovative start-ups, developing partnerships, and upcoming plans.

How do you assess QBIC’s role in the development of the private sector, which can pave the way for a more diversified economy in Qatar?

The Qatari government is keen on developing and heavily investing in the private sector, as in the long run this diversification will benefit the Qatari economy. This is also the vision of our founder, the Qatar Development Bank (QDB); it strives to diversify the market by supporting and creating a strong SME sector. QBIC supports that vision by providing incubation opportunities. We support innovative start-ups and provide them with the tools that they need in order to grow their businesses. QBIC’s goal is to foster innovative ideas and help create the next business leaders of the country. Since our establishment three years ago, we have become one of the largest incubation centers in the region, and we have been focusing on incubating local start-ups from a variety of different sectors. We are aligning our strategy with the Qatar National Vision 2030; therefore, we are focusing on specifically targeted sectors. For example, we have partnered with the Qatar Tourism Authority (QTA) to set up a specialized incubator, QBIC Tourism, which focuses on incubating start-ups in the tourism sector. We have also partnered with Ooredoo Qatar to set up the specialized incubator Digital and Beyond, which focuses on incubating start-ups with digital solutions.

How is QBIC creating the future leading companies of Qatar?

Since its creation, QBIC has incubated more than 60 companies. Some of them have already graduated and are now successful ventures, while others are in the process of development and growth. The great thing about this initiative is that we expose entrepreneurs to influencers and investors in the private sector. The government and the private sector both partner with our incubatees to develop major projects in technology, retail, luxury, tourism, and a variety of other sectors.

How do you cooperate with foreign counterparts and connect your incubatees with international partners?

We recently traveled to France and met with different incubators. We signed an MoU with Paris & Co., which is now focusing on the tourism sector. It seeks to invest in Qatari start-ups to help them set up their businesses in Paris. Moreover, we also signed an MoU with the Korean Startup Association (KSTAR) to establish mutually beneficial relationships. This MoU has provided a unique chance for 11 Korean and Qatari start-ups to pitch their businesses for prospective Qatari investors during the seventh Demo Day. Our main focus is to promote local entrepreneurship, and we are open to boosting partnerships between local start-ups and foreign incubators and investors. We aim to always welcome international companies and urge them to get involved in the market, meet start-ups, and develop and invest in partnerships with local ventures.

What are your expectations for 2017?

Every year we tweak and improve our programs’ tactics in order to better benefit our entrepreneurs in this fast-paced changing economy. In addition, we will continue to enhance our current specialized incubators, QBIC Tourism and QBIC Digital and Beyond. We always look to expand and add to our scope, and are currently looking into more specific sectors that we could create specialized incubators for. We will look out for opportunities that will help us narrow down the sectors that we would like to focus on. We will continue to analyze the market in order to predict future trends and create opportunities for startups in those sectors. We are also currently working with universities in Qatar for R&D purposes. Moreover, we will continue hosting our speaker series, which takes place every few months with seasoned industry professionals who share their expertise and knowledge with our entrepreneurs. And finally, we urge our entrepreneurs to evaluate our programs and give us feedback on how they have benefited and what more we can do. We will continue to measure, learn, and improve all we have to offer.



You may also be interested in...

View All interviews