Qatar Career Fair (QCF) announced the launch of its fourth annual Istathmir competition, in partnership with Bedaya Center for Entrepreneurship and Career Development.

Istathmir showcases and promotes Qatar’s growing culture of entrepreneurship in preparation for the Qatar Career Fair event in March 2014. The prestigious competition encourages aspiring Qataris to consider the benefits of starting their own business as an alternative career path.

Director of QCF, Abdulla Al Mansoori, said:

We believe in the Qatari youth and what they are capable of achieving, and the Istathmir competition comes in place to encourage young Qataris to unleash their potential. Istathmir is in full support of the national development strategy, and we at Qatar Career Fair aim at re-emphasising the importance of leadership and the role it plays in building the society. We understand every person has their own unique capabilities, and it’s time we release them to resume our journey towards development. We are proud with everything that has been achieved so far since the launch of Istathmir four years ago, as many ideas for ambitious projects have been presented. We look forward to more this year.’

For the first time, smaller Qatari businesses are invited to compete for the chance to showcase their products, services and recruitment benefits at QCF 2014. The 20 best applicants will have to demonstrate how their activities contribute to Qatar’s nascent career culture to a panel of QCF and Bedaya judges, who will then select 10 winners.

Members of the public are also encouraged to take part by submitting their ideas for a new startup. 20 of the most promising candidates will be invited to hone their business and presentation skills at a week-long training course. They will then pitch their plans to the panel, which will choose five winners to attend QCF 2014. He said:

General Manager of Bedaya Center, Saleh Al Khulaifi, said:

The competition represents a very important project, as the business leadership and SME sector is rapidly growing. We believe that the youth’s contribution to this sector is vital…supporting the SME sector is a long-term process that requires ongoing investment from everyone in the sector. More importantly, opportunities like ‘Istathmir’ must always be available to break the fear barrier and get youth engaged in such initiatives.’

He asserted that participating in the competition will provide youth with a chance to start a business that could back a strong economy, which will support Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

Winners from both the business and individual categories will each be given a booth in the QCF ‘Startup Arena’ to demonstrate their ideas to potential future employees, partners and investors. They will also participate in a series of talks about starting a business in Qatar entitled: ‘My business – My career’.

The application window opens on 25 November 2013 and judges will begin shortlisting candidates on 16 January 2014. The selection process goes on until 2 February 2014 and the winners will be informed on 16 February 2014.