|CBE students win tops in business plan competition
Joining e-business in Gulf region
Creative and innovative ideas lauded
Three enterprising CBE students’ are blazing a trail on the e-business scene with plans to set up two online companies which will operate across the Gulf.
“Alimni” and “Mujala-TEC” are the names of the students’ business plans that won first and second place in the recent Al Fikhra competition.
The young women, accounting students Haya Khalid Al-Noaimi, and Dabia Khalifa Al-Noaimi have plans to set up the website “Alimni” offering GCC citizens online tutorials in Arabic in Math, Sciences, and Languages, while marketing student Najla Al-Kuwari is set to establish an e-business magazine which she describes as “the first fully interactive magazine in the MENA region”.
“Knowledge and education should be provided in all languages and that is what made us think of “Alimni” an educational website for Arabs and Arabic speakers, and specifically GCC citizens”, Haya said in explanation of what brought them to the idea which clinched first place in the competition.
She recounted that in her search for tutorials to help her while studying for accounting exams, she found them all to be in English and asked herself why there was nothing similar in Arabic.
The students conducted a number of surveys and received responses from throughout the GCC, particularly Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE. “One of the questions we asked was what subjects students found difficult and from their answers, we chose the three subjects. We aim to cover all subjects in the future”, Dabia said.
She added: “We discovered that more that 89% of GCC students hired private tutors to help them in their studies, 54% of those who hired tutors are in high school. That’s why we are targeting high school students from the GCC”.
Haya and Dabia say that their vision is “Educate. Nurture. Commit”. “We believe that this is not just a private tutorial website but rather a space for knowledge and education. It is essential to create moral and civic habits, and raise awareness of social and ethical responsibility. We will strive to recruit people that not only teach, but also motivate and nurture human values in students”, they explained, adding, “The plan is all set up and ready for investors to fund it”
On winning the competition, Haya said: “We thought of this competition as a test to our idea and abilities and worked together on this. Winning is winning, it’s what tells us that our efforts have paid off”.
Describing her online magazine, Najla said: “Mujala-TEC covers a lot of things -- entertainment, fashion, sports, travel, home and social life. It basically covers whatever a reader would look for in a magazine. The target market is GCC citizens and residents, aged between 15 and 35. There are over 40 million in the GCC region, and 84.48% of the targeted population is literate and educated. The survey reached out to people from Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE; therefore, I believe there is a huge number of readers who are interested in the topics Mujala-TEC is covering”.
What led her to this idea? “Three years ago when BlackBerry became a new trend in Qatar, everyone was introduced to the bar code technology. They knew that they can scan a barcode to add a new contact person, but didn't know more. That led me to thinking a lot about the CPU barcode technology and how it can be used to transform media and make it a multi-source of media. Under each article in the magazine, there will be a barcode; once a reader scans the barcode using a smartphone, he/she will be directed to a video, audio, discussion or a poll. In this way, readers are part of the magazine and are communicating and interacting with each other”, she explained.
On her win, Najla said: “When I first entered the competition I said to myself that I'm going to win this. But it was not an easy task. I had to be in the field to know how it works to be able to produce the magazine”.
The three students credit the guidance of their professors and support of families and friends in their winning the competition. “It would not have happened without their encouragement and believing in us”, they said.
Commenting on the students' achievement, CBE Chair of Management and Marketing Department Dr Rana Sobh said: “We are very proud of them. Now the challenge for them is to turn their creative business ideas into successful businesses and inspire many Qatari youth to follow in their footsteps”.