QSTP announces opening of applications for aspiring entrepreneurs in Qatar and MENA

DOHA, Qatar: The fourth edition of the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) is set to take place over a 12-week period during the fall semester 2021. In light of the health and safety restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this edition will be held virtually from August 31 to November 23. Applications are open now until 12 May 2021.

AIA is the first and the most extensive entrepreneurship program in the pan-Arab region and aims to provide aspiring university students and young entrepreneurs with the authentic experience of developing and launching new tech ventures under the guidance of leading global tech start-up mentors.

Additionally, the program is now officially accredited by Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Qatar. This means that participants who are students of HBKU or are cross-registered HBKU are eligible to gain credit once they complete both the AIA and HBKU requirements. Regular participants will receive a certificate of successful completion from the AIA. For students enrolled at HBKU or cross registered at HBKU should follow the HBKU course registration deadline for fall semester, while the rest of the applicants should apply to AIA 2021 before 12 May.

Last year saw Salamtak, a company that developed an online system for the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension while providing both patients and healthcare professionals with a real-time interface to monitor vital data, win first place. While, the company ‘Hamza’, for their development of a special program which assists with Arabic writing, automatically correcting grammatical errors, just like Grammarly in English, took the runner-up spot. Third place was secured by Go Star, who created a platform for parents to create gamified daily life tasks for their children such as cleaning their room or feeding a pet.

The AIA is a hands-on and groundbreaking accelerator program that was brought to Qatar and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region through a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), and the European Innovation Academy (EIA).

Beginning as an exclusive 10-day start-up boot-camp, AIA took place for the first time in 2018 with the involvement of more than 100 participants from Qatar and the region. The second edition, held in 2019 had more than 160 participants, while last year’s third edition saw almost 200 young entrepreneurs from over 10 countries in the region taking part, demonstrating the rapid growth and popularity of the program.

Hayfa Al Abdulla, Innovation Director at QSTP, said, “Everyone at QSTP is very much looking forward to the fourth edition of AIA. The fantastic, innovative ideas that have been brought to us in the past three editions clearly show that extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs are in great abundance here in Qatar, as well as across the MENA region. We are eager to welcome all aspiring innovators who would like to take part in this year’s program and are pleased to announce that applications are now open.”

Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President, QF RDI and the Vice President for Research at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), added, “The advanced ideas brought in by talented entrepreneurs to platforms that channel them towards developing impactful products and services, remain pivotal to Qatar’s aspirations – namely, a forward-thinking and progressive nation right at the spearhead of trailblazing ideas and new technology that will benefit both the local and international communities. To that end, AIA is a significant platform, and we at QF RDI are very much looking forward to receiving entries from tech entrepreneurs in Qatar and further afield for the fourth edition of the program.”

QSTP believes that the virtual setting for the latest edition of the program will not detract from the many benefits it will bring to all participants. Although the ever-popular in-person networking will be unavailable, participants will have a rich, immersive experience that will prove to be beneficial to future plans and aspirations. Expert support and guidance will be available throughout the program, aiding participants every step of the way. For more details of this year’s program and to apply, please visit www.inacademy.eu/qatar

Qatar Science & Technology Park

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), is a Free Zone, accelerator and incubator for tech-product development in Qatar. The park fosters an innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar that works to accelerate commercialization of market-ready technologies to realize Qatar’s national diversification drive.

QSTP’s focus ranges across four overarching themes, comprising Energy, Environment, Health Sciences and Information & Communication Technologies (ICT), in line with the Qatar National Research Strategy announced in 2012.

Located in Qatar Foundation’s Education City, QSTP has access to the vital resources of a cluster of leading research universities. Members of QSTP’s Free Zone include Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), international corporations and research institutions. They are collectively committed to investing in new technology development programs, creating intellectual property, enhancing technology management skills and developing innovative new products.

QSTP supports QF RDI’s economic and human development objectives for Qatar and is increasingly recognized as an international hub for applied research, innovation, incubation, and entrepreneurship.

For more information, please visit the QSTP website at www.qstp.org.qa

Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI)

The Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) division’s role is to play an integral part in identifying and addressing challenges and opportunities across ICT, energy, environment and healthcare, in alignment with Qatar’s national RDI strategy and priorities. QF RDI is at the forefront of Qatar’s innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem, accelerating economic development through supporting the commercialization of market-ready technologies and facilitating the creation of new high-tech products and services.

QF RDI is responsible for translating Qatar’s national RDI strategy into specific initiatives and actions for Qatar Foundation’s (QF) RDI entities. It also directs their efforts in relation to economic value creation, knowledge transfer and the establishment of mutually beneficial national and international RDI partnerships. To ensure these efforts deliver maximum impact, the QF Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation plans, coordinates and oversees all RDI-related activities across QF.

Qatar Foundation – Unlocking Human Potential

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization that supports Qatar on its journey to becoming a diversified and sustainable economy. QF strives to serve the people of Qatar and beyond by providing specialized programs across its innovation-focused ecosystem of education, research and development and community development.

QF was founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Amir, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, who shared the vision to provide Qatar with quality education. Today, QF’s world-class education system offers lifelong learning opportunities to community members as young as six months through to doctoral level, enabling graduates to thrive in a global environment and contribute to the nation’s development.

QF is also creating a multidisciplinary innovation hub in Qatar, where homegrown researchers are working to address local and global challenges. By promoting a culture of lifelong learning and fostering social engagement through programs that embody Qatari culture, QF is committed to empowering the local community and contributing to a better world for all.

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