Building a Startup Ecosystem in Q8

I mentioned in a previous post that money is not the main reason for not having a startup activity here in Kuwait. The problem is with not having a healthy environment to establish a startup, in other words we don’t have a startup ecosystem.

Five years ago (more or less not sure) the first P2BK event was organized. P2BK stands for Proud to be Kuwaiti, and it’s an event for Kuwaitis to showcase their small business projects. The event is a great idea to foster and encourage entrepreneurship in Kuwait, however it’s not enough. It’s not enough to transform a startup into a successful company that can compete globally and employ thousands of Kuwaitis. P2BK is a good start, but we still need to do more.

What we need is a Startup Ecosystem (or Startup Community). What does a Startup Ecosystem consists of? Good question, a startup ecosystem include:

1.Entrepreneurs: Crazy people with awesome ideas
2.Mentors: Usually successful entrepreneurs with a good track record
3.Government: The government should be committed to help startups and make their life easier
4.University: They are the source of talent and innovation
5.Investors: The source of funding
6.Service providers: Provide office space, legal help, accounting….etc
(Source: Brad Feld blog)

So what do we have here in Kuwait? Honestly, nothing. We don’t have enough entrepreneurs that are willing to share their experiences. The government is just horrible. Moreover, the university is disconnected from the outside world and investors don’t exist. Maybe the only thing we have is service providers, which we can survive without them anyway.

So many things are missing from the Startup Community equation and there is no magic stick to solve the problem. True, there is no easy solution, but I think I have a good idea in how to kick start the Kuwaiti startup scene and transform Kuwait to a vibrant place. In the next few posts I’ll explain the idea that came to me after working with two great organizations, one is called Wayra and the other is called Endeavor.

Update: Click here to read Building a Startup Ecosystem part#2

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