Written by Mariam Al Rayes
Mariam Al Rayes is a managing partner at Cubical Services Business Incubator and heads the Entrepreneurship Programs Division and leads Fikra Program, an entrepreneurship training program that helps entrepreneurs transform their ideas into established businesses. She previously worked with MIT Arab Startup Competition as Country Lead Kuwait. Mariam is very passionate about entrepreneurship and has mentored and helped many entrepreneurs start their own business.
The most common phrase we hear from entrepreneurs that want to start their own business is “I don’t know where to start.”
This inspired us to create Fikra Program.
Fikra Program is an intensive training program that was established in 2015 and provides entrepreneurs with the tools they need to start their own businesses. We realized that many aspiring entrepreneurs have exciting and innovative business ideas, but they really don’t know where to start and what they need to do to get their business operational. We decided to create an entrepreneurship training program that includes all the support entrepreneurs need, to start their own business. Training, mentoring, business plan creation, networking opportunities, are some of the things we offer, to help them kickstart their own business.
We addressed the main issues entrepreneurs usually complain about:
Lack of funding? We provided entrepreneurs with practical training on creating a business plan, that allows them to apply to funding entities in Kuwait. We also provide them with opportunities to meet investors.
Confusing licensing process? We invited a senior government official to explain to the entrepreneurs the full process of applying for a license online, through Kuwait Business Center.
Need some help? We provided over 20 training sessions to entrepreneurs, covering different subjects related to entrepreneurship. We also connected them to a mentor that meets with them on a one-on-one basis, to guide them.
We brought in our practical experience as Cubical Services business incubator as we have been operational since 2009 and have worked with over 600 businesses. We invited successful business owners and subject matter experts to provide business training to the entrepreneurs in a practical way.
We are very proud of the entrepreneurs that joined Fikra Program with an innovative idea that are now operational businesses. To name a few from the previous edition of Fikra Program:
Go Diving - Go Diving is an application for booking scuba diving trips and diving courses in and outside Kuwait with an easy gateway payment.
Snack Book- SnackBook is an application that provides audio summaries for books, so you can listen to a book every day
Living- Living is a platform that specializes in interior design and home decor, offering online shopping and delivery for home accessories. As well as, an electronic guide that combines all Kuwaiti interior designers to display their designs
Lawpedia - Lawpedia aims to educate the public about law related subjects by qualified professionals.
We’ve provided over 20 customized training sessions, offered 7 weeks of one on one mentorship, travelled to the GCC, and offered strategic exposure opportunities to our entrepreneurs which helped them grow their business.
Fikra Program is under the kind patronage of Minister of Commerce and Industry, Khaled Al Roudan. Over 40% of the participating business ideas from Fikra Program- 3rd Edition ( Nov 2017-May 2018) are now fully operational businesses. During the 4th Edition of Fikra Program, 24 entrepreneurs were accepted in December 2018, including 7 engineers, 2 inventors, and 2 scientists.
Fikra Program is proudly supported by Ministry of State for Youth Affairs, National Fund for SME Development, Al-Hamra Real Estate Company, Gulf Bank, Markaz Financial Center, KFAS, KUWAITNET, and Grand Cinemas, and is a CSR program managed by Cubical Services Business Incubator.
After completing the main stages of Fikra Program, the 15 teams of entrepreneurs are given a chance to pitch their business idea in front of a large audience of investors, high ranking government officials, business owners, and the startup ecosystem.
We invite you to join us at the final ceremony of Fikra Program- 4th Edition which will take place on April 22 at Sheikh Jaber Al Ahmed Cultural Center at 7:00 pm for a dose of inspiration.
Meet the 15 teams that were accepted to Fikra Program- 4th Edition:
Names: Jarrah Al Shatti + Khaled Al Shatti
Business: Chayyel @chayyel
Business Bio: Gamer's first destination to get the latest products, services, promotion and more!
Name: Qatralnada Alenizi
Business: E-Pill Box
Business Bio: A smart medicine box that notifies patients to take their pills on time.
Name: Mohammed Al Khuraibet
Business: By M.S.K. @bymskofficial
Business Bio: A fashion brand inspired by life in the GCC.
Entrepreneur’s Name: Hasan Akbar
Business Bio: A bus tracking app that allows the user to efficiently manage their time.
Entrepreneurs’ Names: Iman Marafie + Jenan Al Qasem
Business: Invite Me
Business Bio: Invite Me is an application designed for “Brides to be” who can customize their perfect wedding electronic invitation card. The invited guests will receive their invitation card in a form of a link sent VIA sms which is to be presented on the day of the wedding.
Entrepreneur’s Name: Bader Qali
Business: Aqua Clean
Business Bio: A revolutionary new technology to clean and maintain underwater structures/hulls and boats/yachts from fouling.
Entrepreneur’s Name: Nouf Alhamdan
Business: Mole @molekwt
Business Bio: Mole store is an online science store that aims to spread science in a different way.
Entrepreneurs’ Names: Shaya Al Majed + Yousef Al Shatti
Business: Litkw @litkw
Business Bio: Litkw provides canvas frames with lights that are customized to each customer. Their goal is to have their own gift shop that manufactures creative products.
Entrepreneur’s Name: Ahmed Al Rasheed
Business: Lithium Batteries Recycle
Business Bio: Recycling lithium-ion batteries to produce critical materials for re-export.
Name: Esraa Al Aryan
Business: Diabetic Wound Detector
Business Bio: An invention that detects wounds. The invention consists of two stages of detection, location and depth of the wound, using special radiation methods for diabetic patients.
Names: Noora Al Salman + Zahraa Al Salman
Business Bio: OnePass is an application that includes thousands of kids activities in one place
Name: Rashed Al Rashed
Business: Pet Gourmet
Business Bio: Pet Gourmet is Kuwait's first local manufacturer of healthy, fresh, organic pet food.
Name: Noor Boresly
Business: NB Medical Factory
Business Bio: The First Local Medical Consumable Factory in Kuwait, aims to meet the Hospital needs with locally manufactured products following international standards.
Names: Hamad Al Bader + Talal Hamadah
Business Bio: An online platform that shows all bookstores in Kuwait, so it will make it easier for the user to locate books and have them delivered.
Name: Bader AlYaseen
Business Bio: Boulder is a climbing centre that will introduce Kuwait to the enjoyment of climbing. The centre aims to bring together people from different backgrounds and form a climbing community.
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