| Kuwait | Feb 23, 2016
The entrepreneurial scene in Kuwait is growing, as more entrepreneurial and business educational and training programs challenge accepted business practices and operate on the cutting edge of tech and business.
Kuwaitis who return home after getting their degrees abroad are often frustrated by the obstacles they face when starting new businesses. Now, this sentiment has fueled an intensified entrepreneurial spirit in Kuwait. In line with the growing startup culture in the country, the number of educational programs and workshops on the theme of “entrepreneurship” has been increasing in Kuwait in recent years—with a particular focus on collaboration, knowledge building, and the sharing of expertise.
To support the growth of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial education and related training programs are becoming more prominent in the country and are now taught at the high school, university, and adult/professional levels. The following programs have made a name for themselves by challenging accepted business practice and operating on the cutting edge of tech and business.
Through a MoU signed with Kuwait’s KWD 2 billion National Fund for SMEs Development, Techstars, a global SME network, will be supporting Kuwait’s goals of developing its entrepreneurial landscape by providing leading technological support and training for entrepreneurs in the country.
Start-up Weekend Kuwait ran its third session in Kuwait in September 2015, and will run annually each year. The weekend is a 52-hour marathon of work, where teams collaborate to build business models out of their ideas, applicable to solving real life problems, then pitch in a competition for funding. Participants learn skills such as coding and how to value their target markets.
Located in Kuwait City’s Global Tower, THRIVE Enterprise College is an initiative operated by Education Consortium (EC), an award-winning educational NGO based in Kuwait co-founded by Dr. Hanan Al-Mutawa and Russell Byrne. In line with EC’s objective to upgrade the standards of education in Kuwait and the region, THRIVE’s aim is to flip the model of business education. At its essence its a school, but in its methods, the college is incorporating a “learning by doing” philosophy, empowering students by bringing business into its classrooms, which don’t look like classrooms at all but are designed as boardrooms where students interact as they would in an office setting. Their motto and the motto of most entrepreneurs is: “learning by doing.” A Peter Jones Enterprise Academy, THRIVE is a unique offering in Kuwait’s education space and will begin taking students in 2016.
Sirdab Lab is a Kuwait-based business start-up accelerator, the first of its kind in the country. It provides support to entrepreneurs, particularly focused on digital products and tech startups, helping them to improve on the quality of their websites and applications and launch their businesses “from the basement to the boardroom”. It also hosts workshops, events, and programs for entrepreneurs as well as mentorships. The accelerator is known as the creative and supportive incubator behind a number of well known Kuwaiti start-ups that received assistance from Sirdab Lab’s in funding and streamline their business models.
Through this NGO owned by Alghanim Industries, students between the ages of 11-24 years are being empowered by INJAZ, learning entrepreneurship and financial management skills that prepare them for economic success in today’s globalized economy. The organization’s mission is to create future business leaders out of today’s youth.
This Kuwaiti based entrepreneurship organization offers a program called Startup School whose objective is to help entrepreneurs put their ideas into a business plan, create an executive summary, and practice pitching their ideas to investors, peers, or potential partners.
There is a continued emphasis on the ways in which young entrepreneurs create a more vibrant private sector in the country, and this coupled with the increasing educational focus, will be key to making Kuwait’s entrepreneurial endeavors a success. This continued focus on entrepreneurial education and expertise will drive Kuwait’s entrepreneurial movement to greater successes.
Investors should take note that there is a passionate, young, startup ecosystem that is up and coming in Kuwait, and it show no signs of slowing down.