Wahiba Chair (SFU MBA ’08) is nourishing the Vancouver Technology scene with her fantastic new mobile application “CarrotLines“. Wahiba is one of these individuals who has entrepreneurism in her blood, and whose graduate business education served only to solidify and allow her to develop confidence in what is clearly an innate talent for business and technology. Below is a brief introduction to Wahiba and her incredibly colourful professional journey. Stay tuned for what promises to be a regular part of the A Few Good Minds MBA blog.
At age 15 Wahiba graduated from an Algerian high school with high honours in an international math baccalaureate diploma. After graduation she decided to move to California, where her uncle works as an engineer, and she attended Berkeley to study English. An engineering degree at the University of Victoria in British Columbia would bring her to Canada, a country for which she has developed a huge affinity for.
Despite moving back to the Bay area in the middle of her program, once she graduated with a computer engineering degree she started work in Vancouver as a software engineer. It was here that her entrepreneurial spirit began to fully emerge and she was advised by her mentor to pursue an MBA.
“At the time, the SFU MBA Program’s ad campaign slogan said ‘Aim Higher, Reach Further,’ that was exactly what I wanted to do,” says Wahiba. Interestingly, the SFU MBA Program has since changed the slogan to “Looking for a Few Good Minds,” thus the title of our blog.
Wahiba has some great things to say about the full-time MBA program at SFU. She was part of the maiden cohort for the one-year MBA program. It was during her MBA that she developed the basis for CarrotLines, the product that she is currently marketing.
In the fall of 2007 CarrotLines won her a B.C. Innovation Council MBA scholarship. During the MBA program she developed a 100-page business plan, a critical aspect in the early commercialization and socialization of her idea.
“Just after I finished my courses I got an email from my father pointing out an ad in the Algerian-American Association newspaper about a TV contest,” says Wahiba. “He suggested I apply.”
The contest was based on a reality TV show in Doha, Qatar called The Stars of Science. Since the show was open to individuals with Arabic descent and a great idea, Wahiba would apply and be one of 100 individuals out of nearly 6,000 who made the cut for an audition. Wahiba would be one of sixteen individuals and two women who made it onto the show to pitch their ideas to a studio and at home audience. As any entrepreneur will tell you, the pitch is a “make it or break it” opportunity for any start-up. For Wahiba, it wasn’t just a prize pool at stake but a massive number of potential investors and advocates watching the show. Wahiba, with the assistance of her mentor Ron Klopfer began working hard to adapt the MBA project into a workable pitch and presentation for the television show. Wahiba’s first real pitch outside of the MBA classroom would be on international television.
The judges and the audience loved her concept and her pitch which allowed her to become part of a team that ended up winning the contest. She brought her share of the prize money back to Vancouver to launch her company and develop her product. The fateful day has arrived, the software is out of beta testing and the first version is currently being sold on iTunes. As the product develops, along with Wahiba’s career, we will be sure to update the blog and create links to her posts.
CarrotLines can be downloaded directly from: www.CarrotLines.com