DIC FAQs

1. What is the ultimate goal of being part of the DIC?

The objective is to develop a viable and sustainable tech start-up.

2. What type of ideas is DIC looking for?

We are looking for innovative ideas/start-ups that serve important sectors -- education, government services, health, transportation, urban planning, environment, financial services, energy, construction, among others – and use emerging technologies such as cloud computing, Internet of Things, big data and analytics, e-commerce, M2M, cloud computing, smart cities, and telecommunications. These technologies represent our focus areas, however, if you have another innovation using other technologies, please feel free to get in touch with us and we will be happy to discuss it with you.

3. What services does the DIC provide?

We provide administrative and logistics services; legal and accounting; potential funding; technology services; education and training; mentors; networking, and interns.

4. What training do you provide?

DIC provides a variety of training opportunities that equip entrepreneurs with the necessary knowledge and skills required to start and run a company. Training is based on individual needs and includes both business and specialized technical training.

5. Do you provide funding?

If you are in the Start-up track, potential funding is available through the Qatar Development Bank and other financial institutions. In addition, we can, also support you through connecting you with our investors’ network, and help you with tools needed for successful fundraising.

6. Who is eligible to apply to the Digital Incubation Center?

Any innovative entrepreneur with residency in Qatar.

7. Can I apply if I only have an idea?

Yes you can. If you have an original tech idea and have been dreaming about opening your business, you can apply to the Launchpad track. This is a 6-month track that focuses on transforming your ideas into a viable business plan. The program provides services such as education and training, mentors, free office space, access to networking, publicity, and much more. Some entrepreneurs choose to go through the selection process to continue on with the 2-year incubation program offered by the Center, and others move on to other projects.

8. Can I apply if I am already a start-up but still need support?

Yes, you can -- provided that you need incubation support. The Start-up track is for early-stage entrepreneurs to catapult their business to the next level. Our mission is to empower you with the tools you need to grow your business and provide you with the skills to make yourself a better entrepreneur and leader. The Start-up track is 2 years long, and it focuses on helping you fine-tune your business and revenue models and, hone your business skills. The program provides structured educational content and affords you the experience of learning from and connecting with the region’s most influential entrepreneurs.

9. Do I have to have a Qatari partner to apply?

No, you can still apply without having a Qatari partner. However, you must have a Qatari partner to register your start-up with the Ministry of Business and Trade. The DIC will provide you with networking opportunities that will support you in your efforts to find a Qatari partner.

10. What are the admissions criteria?

  • Launchpad track
    • Innovative/original idea
    • Covers one of the focus areas
    • Sufficient market opportunity
    • Entrepreneur/team profile
  • Start-up track
    • Innovative/original
    • Covers one of the focus areas
    • Sufficient market opportunity and potential
    • Target customers and validation outcomes
    • Initial cost structure and financial plan
    • Entrepreneur/team profile

11. When can I apply?

We accept applications twice a year – during spring and fall. Admissions for spring 2015 will open on March 1, 2015, and be open for online submissions for 4 weeks.

12. How long does the application process take and what does it involve?

The process takes up to 6 weeks from the date of the application for the Launchpad track candidates, and up to 3 months for the Start-up track (that includes the refinement of the business plan stage for start-ups). If you’ve made it through the first round, you will usually hear back from us within a few weeks. A detailed process is listed below:

 

Application process for the Launchpad track

 

  • Online application (1 month): tell us more about you and your idea.
    Application status (within 2 weeks): you will receive an email notification with the status of your application. Accepted candidates will receive an invitation to a live pitch.  We will provide you with feedback if your application is not accepted.
     
  • Live pitches (2 weeks): candidates will be asked to pitch their idea to a panel of industry experts.
    Announcement of final results: we will let you know if you are accepted into the Launchpad track and you will be inducted into the program for 6 months. We will provide you with feedback in case you are not accepted into the program.

 

Application process for the Start-up track

 

  • Online application (1 month): tell us more about you and your start-up. Application status: (within 2 weeks): you will receive an email notification with the status of your application. Accepted candidates will receive an invitation to a live pitch.  We will provide you with feedback if your application is not accepted.
     
  • Live pitches (2 weeks): candidates will be asked to pitch their start-up to a panel of industry experts. 
    Announcement of results (within 2 weeks): we will let you know if you have the first round in the process. If you have not been accepted, we will provide you with feedback.
     
  • Business model training (1 month): one month program designed to support you to develop a clear business plan, sometimes we refer to it as a refinement stage.
     
  • Business plan submission (2 weeks): you will be granted time to finalize and submit your business plan.
     
  • Final pitch (2 weeks): you will be invited to present your business plan to a final panel to assess your business plan. We will let you know within 2 weeks if you have been accepted into the 2 years incubation. 

13. If I am already in the Launchpad track, can I transition to the Start-up track?

Yes. As a part of the Launchpad track, you will go through the following process.

 

  • Business model training (1 month): your final month of the program will focus on supporting your development of a clear business model.
     
  • Business plan submission (2 weeks): you will be granted time to finalize and submit your business plan.
     
  • Final pitch (2 weeks): you will be invited to present your business plan to a final panel to assess your progress and decide whether to grant you incubation not. Final results will be announced. 

14. Do you provide help with visas and other immigration paperwork?

We do not provide help in those areas. All immigration paperwork needs be done through your start-up.

15. How will you evaluate my concept?

DIC wants dedicated and passionate entrepreneurs with innovative tech ideas. The process is designed in several stages to allow you to develop and enhance your idea or start-up and for DIC to assess you throughout the process. Your applications, business plan and live pitches will be evaluated by a group of industry experts, business professionals, academics and others to ensure your applications are meticulously evaluated. Please refer to the admission process page for more information.

16. Do you have collaboration with other incubators and entrepreneurial initiatives?

Yes, we work with other local and regional incubators, accelerators, and programs, such as Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), Bedaya, College of the North Atlantic Qatar (CNA-Q), Qatar University, and many others.

17. Will each company have its own mentor?

Each company has at least one mentor and sometimes two depending on the company needs.

18. Will you help start-ups connect with local and international tech companies?

Yes, we provide those we incubate with access to a network of tech industry leaders and tech entrepreneurs who share their expertise and insights, and help you, explore business, funding and other opportunities.

19. Do you have any partnerships with local or regional funds: VCs, angel investors, etc.?

Yes, we do have relationships with local and regional investment groups. While we do not yet fund start-ups, we will work with entrepreneurs to make their fundraising more effective through introductions to our networks.

20. Does DIC take equity from incubated start-ups?

No, DIC is a government-funded program. We do not take equity or receive any payment in return for our services. DIC is mandated by the State of Qatar to support and encourage entrepreneurs to succeed in order to drive a vibrant, diversified knowledge-based economy and achieve Qatar’s National Vision 2030.