Business Therapy: Seven ways to fund your startup in Kuwait

Post by Loaay

Funding in Kuwait

In a market that offers tenure jobs to any citizen hired in the public sector, the notion of being your own boss and taking responsibility of generating income sounds like sheer madness to most. Only those who are born with an appetite for taking risk, who have a burning desire to bring their vision to life, or who have been groomed slowly into the role, can make the decision to become an entrepreneur. That being said, once you made that decision to start your own business in most cases you need some paper (a.k.a. moola, dough, or cash.) There are many options; here are a few for you to consider:

– If you were an ex-banker or worked in the financial industry in general you could use your contacts to fund your startup by attracting a number of companies to own shares in a new company (your startup) assuming that it’s a large project that can generate the kind of profit such companies look for.

– Taking a bank loan is another option. Bear in mind that when you have monthly installments your business idea must be cash flow positive (i.e. if you supply wholesale and get paid after 90 days you could run out of cash at any month and not be able to cover your loan for that month).

– You can always turn to family and friends for funding. WARNING: If your friends and family are not businesspeople they could either be impatient and push you for faster returns, ask for a buyout because they suddenly need the cash, or feel free to interfere in running the business. If you have no option but to ask friends and family, then make it crystal clear that you want the money as a loan or as investment with potential dividends but not as managing partners. Either way, buy large boxes of Panadol.

– Being funded by a government programme such as the Kuwait Small Projects Development Co. initiative is another option if you were Kuwaiti, know your business and willing to run it yourself. It has an exit option so you can own the business eventually all by yourself.

– Although technically there’s no legal platform for crowdfunding you can always get your commercial license going along with accepting online payments like Knet and credit cards and then use social media to ask your target audience to purchase your developing product in advance in exchange for some unique benefits conditional to the fact that you’re doing something new. Visit Kickstarter to have an idea.

– Partnerships work well only if the partners’ skills complement each other (think Yin-Yang) and be clear from Day Zero what each is responsible for and respect each other’s boundaries even when you disagree about the decision.

– Ultimately, if you can start your own business without giving up any equity then you’re in a sweet spot. If you don’t have the cash yet but you can save it in a year or so, go for it. You’ll be better off.

This week’s tip: before you decide on any type of funding, know what you want to achieve and be clear on why you want to achieve it. Then see if the price you pay for that funding (and there’s always a price) will jeopardize your focus and goals. If it could, either put in place conditions that can protect your vision or walk way from that funding option.

Post by Loaay Ahmed, a strategic business therapist since 1995. He currently lives and works in London, UK, while earning his master’s in Service Design Innovation, and managing knightscapital in Kuwait. For Loaay’s advice on business or work matters, send a short email to Regrettably, only the questions chosen for publishing will be answered.

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3 comments, add your own...

  1. Abdullatif says:


  2. Faisal says:

    Thanks Loaay for this post! Just take into consideration that the KSPDC stopped funding any new projects, as the new National Fund is going to acquire KSPDC. However, KIB is still funding small to medium projects (up to KD400K).

  3. Shehzad says:

    Thats all good for Citizen…..But for Expats finding a Citizen as kafeel for opening business is the biggest challenge…there are many cases in which the citizen end up taking the whole business….

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