Exclusive Interview with Mr. Perälampi, Manager of the Business Incubator at Qatar University

Mr. Juha Perälampi is the Manager of the Business Incubator, Qatar University, and works as a Lecturer in entrepreneurship and international business in the College of Business and Economics, Qatar University. He is also an entrepreneur.

Mr. Peralampi has provided coaching and consulting for over 2000 start-up companies and corporations during the past 15 years. He has also won “The Most Successful Entrepreneurship Educator and Promoter in Finland” award in 2012 by FINPIN, The Finnish Entrepreneurship and Innovation Network for Higher Education. Juha is also a TEDx Speaker.

  1. How did you start your professional career? And, why did you choose IT as a career?

When studying for my Bachelors’ degree in international business, I started my career as headhunter for an IT firm and became exposed to the world of IT. After completing my education in Entrepreneurship and International Business, I went into professional business consultancy and helped startups and corporations with business development. In the past 15 years, I have coached over 2000 startups and corporations, 400 of which are in the GCC countries and 25% directly involved with IT.

  1. How do you see growth of IT industry in Qatar? And, what steps Government should take to improve the IT industry?

In general, over the past 5 years, the startup scene in Qatar has seen unprecedented and accelerated growth – a higher number of startups, but more importantly better quality of startups. In my opinion, there is so much more we can do from the startup perspective as long as we truly collaborate between different organizations and entrepreneurs. We should pay attention to IT based startups, but at the same time focus on how IT can be enablers for scaling non-IT related industries, as well.

  1. What are your three most important recommendations to Qatar IT Industry?

Investment in IT education so that students have the theoretical and practical resources to carry out their ideas and vision. In addition to this, provide IT students with required business skills.

Offer platform for nationals and residents for natural interaction and collaboration on a continual basis.

Understanding and tapping on global markets. Qatar is powerful but our internal markets are limited so our approach should be to take on global markets as early as possible.

  1. What projects are you currently working on?

As an expert in the field of business development, I am very involved in the IT startup scene in Qatar and in the region. I try to practice what I preach and I am a global entrepreneur, as well. I am currently facilitating several interesting Qatar University growth-oriented startups. I am also associated with startup cases overseas. The beauty of the IT industry and IT based startups is that you are not bound to any specific geographical location.

  1. Who are your inspirations?

In my everyday life, Michael Jordan and his determination, dominance, and passion in a very competitive sport inspires me to work to the best of my abilities and excel in whatever way I can.

Other than that, I have been fortunate enough to work with startup entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs who come from different and often challenging backgrounds and take upon the world and make it a better place. They may not be the big names you would see in books and media, but are people who inspire me every day. When you see their idea turn into a success story, you have a much higher respect for them.

  1. What’s the secret of your success as a Professional?

I am able to understand and appreciate that people have different mindsets, influenced by their culture, background, and circumstances. I have an innate curiosity to learn more about people’s motivations, actions, and intentions. At the end of the day, business is about dealing with people. When you understand people, you understand the best entrepreneurship and management practices.

I have lived on three different continents; Europe, Asia, and North America. I have seen the extremes of the business culture and this enables me to tap on the global marketplace.

Quality education also plays an important role. However, education itself if not enough as it is just a platform for further growth. When education is coupled with experience, it truly becomes a force to be reckoned with.

  1. What’s the side of you that your friends, family and colleagues never see?

I try to keep very true to myself, but I have different versions of me depending on where I am. There is the work-me, the family-me, and the athlete-me. On the pitch, I may be competitive and passionate, but calm and professional in the office. While I try to be as open as possible, it does take a good amount of time to understand the depths of me.

  1. If you could go back in time, what would you do differently in your career?

I would not change anything in the past as I believe every given year has prepared me for a greater challenge. While I cannot dictate the future, I am content with my past. My calling is to assist people with global entrepreneurship, while doing something on my own.

In 2013, I had the opportunity and then made the decision to move to Qatar – a decision that I am extremely satisfied with.

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