When Nasser al Kaabi shared his thoughts on bringing the latest innovation to the Qatari market – and to reduce waiting time at petrol stations – a friend of the family and long-time businessman told him it could not be done.
He called his friend Jamal Al Khatib to meet him at Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q) in Education City, and the two began planning on how in fact, it could.
Two months later, the duo won first place in the 7th edition of Qatar National Business Competition sponsored by Qatar Development Bank for iFuel, an app that will change the way how Qatar residents refuel their cars. Their innovative idea won a big prize too – almost half a million Qatari riyals in funding to turn their idea into reality.
For Nasser, who is pursuing a GU-Q degree in International Politics, and Jamal, a 2019 GU-Q graduate in International Economics, rising to the challenge of a difficult problem was something they had mastered as part of their education.
According to Jamal, one of the greatest things he learned at Georgetown is how to learn. With this skillset and the available resources, nothing, he said, is impossible to understand or to achieve.
While the startup competition provided valuable training support for the competing teams, Jamal says they gained an added boost by applying their research skills from the classroom to the boardroom.
We did everything – from writing the business plan to negotiating with application developers to examining other on-demand fuel delivery services across the globe.’
That background work also included coordinating with Woqod for approvals and ensuring that all safety measures are met.
For Nasser, a dedicated student athlete, the student experience is as much personal development as it is academic.
With so much emphasis on classroom participation, I was forced to challenge myself, and to get out of my comfort zone. That intellectual engagement plays into one of the most important aspects of building a successful business: developing your reputation, creating networks, and expanding on those relationships.’
And while their drive and hard work is focused on transitioning their startup from concept to a working model, the team doesn’t only measure success in business terms. They are now fully immersed in their startup, which has garnered great interest from local banks and investors.
Nasser said that on-demand fuel delivery is already available in more than nine countries around the world. With the support of the relevant licensing and supervisory bodies, he said that they aim to bring their own model of that innovative technology to the Qatari market, within ten months.