“Facing challenges will only make you stronger”
Fueled by a desire to contribute my bit towards Qatar’s development, I poured my heart and soul into the world of startups. Recognizing the need for a cloud-based business management software, co-founder Waleed Al Obadi and I worked with a team of like-minded people to launch MaktApp, the first company of its kind in the MENA region.
In essence, MaktApp is creating business tools to help our clients work more effectively and efficiently, which in turn propels commercial activity across the board.
Our journey began at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) in 2015, when we participated in its flagship accelerator program ‘XLR8’, an intensive program offered as part of QSTP’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem that facilitated the early development of our business idea and company. Our team received exceptional mentorship from QSTP program executives, guest experts, and coaches who helped us understand the potential of our idea, and how to go about building on that idea to develop it into a tangible product.
In addition to personalized guidance every step of the way, we were provided the tools needed for our business to succeed – from state-of-the-art offices and facilities specifically designed for tech-based companies like ours, all the way to supporting the commercialization of our technology.
I cannot overstate the importance of the mentorship, guidance, training, and coaching from the QSTP team, and gaining access to their extensive network of subject-matter experts as well as communications resources has been valuable.
Equally important for every entrepreneur is to enjoy the journey of building a successful company from scratch with partners who share the same passion.
All the hard work that we put in, gained us recognition at the Qatar IT Business Awards with two successive awards for ‘Cloud Service Provider of the Year’ in 2017 and 2018, for our cloud-based application, “MaktApp”, that enables businesses to schedule tasks and manage time and deadlines effectively.
These awards have inspired us to explore new venues to grow and expand our business into, a path that every successful entrepreneur should be eager to pursue. This is how “Fatora” was conceived. Fatora is an invoicing platform that streamlines online payments between merchants and their clients in the MENA region, powered by Artificial Intelligence.
This year, my colleagues and I were successful in being accepted into the MENA Dojo program, which is part of a continued partnership with QSTP. One year in, we are currently in the growth stage, helping SMEs and other startups collect their payments online using only their customers’ mobile numbers.
The support we have received from QSTP and the MENA Dojo program has been tremendous, and the skills we are gaining are invaluable to achieving success. More importantly, learning new growth hacking techniques from QSTP’s leading local and international mentors and scaling our product to the MENA market will go a long way as we progress to the next stage.
While I am well aware that challenges will continue to surface at various stages of our business, it is my strong belief that these are an essential part of our team’s ongoing learning process. I always say: “Every time you overcome pitfalls, challenges and bad days, it will only make you stronger and push you to believe more in the power and potential of your idea.”
In other words, entrepreneurs must not be afraid to fail and learn from their mistakes along the way. The advice I would give to aspiring entrepreneurs is: “envision your idea in the future, and think about how this idea has the ability to change and improve people’s lives. That will undoubtedly motivate you to work towards turning that idea into a solution that addresses real needs.”
The diversification of the local economy is imperative and Qatar is now well on its way to achieving that goal in various ways. Supporting the private sector and entrepreneurial startups to thrive and contribute effectively to the country’s economic growth will not only drive and accelerate the nation’s development, but also foster a culture of innovation and further promote investments in emerging technologies. These efforts will ensure a prosperous future for Qatar and its people.
CEO of MaktApp