Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), a member of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), launched the second edition of their Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) today. AIA brings together more than 160 aspiring “techpreneurs” from Qatar, MENA, and representatives from India and Russia – the most recent Year of Culture countries; an exchange program that aims to convey Qatar to an international audience.
In addition to having over 80 students from Qatar representing 26 different countries, AIA delegates and participants hail from numerous other countries, including Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Turkey, Oman, and Yemen.
AIA, the first and largest entrepreneurship program of its kind in the region, is a strategic and exclusive partnership powered by QSTP and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), the world’s largest extreme entrepreneurship program. This unique program is aimed at equipping entrepreneurs in the Arab region and global community with the skillset to build their start-up in just 10 days. During the AIA, participants are introduced to an accelerated mode of experiential learning, including how to develop and launch new tech ventures in a real marketplace, with genuine customer feedback.
The opening of the AIA was attended by Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP, and Alar Kolk, President, EIA. Speaking at the event, Saleh remarked, “Here, at QSTP, the initiatives we have taken and the projects we are engaged in revolve around our commitment to the process of research, development, and innovation. With leading programs like AIA, we encourage our talented youth to take the next step and propel their ideas to the stage of practical implementation.
“We aim to develop an innovative mind-set among our talented youth to nurture an unprecedented and competitive environment in the MENA region. More importantly, we believe that investment in our region’s talent pool is the key to achieving long-term economic sustainability and prosperity.”
Alar Kolk, President, EIA, said: “The Google founders were from Stanford and the Facebook founders from Harvard. The next game-changing companies will come from students’ dreams to make the world a better place. Our mantra for the Arab students is that the greatest danger for most of you is not that your aim is too high, but that it is too low, and you reach it. Be the change you want to see in the world. Make the dream true: the next Snapchats, Fornites, and Spotifys will come from the Arab world.”
As part of this hands-on and groundbreaking initiative, participants will be introduced to cutting-edge methods and tools related to the entrepreneurship journey, from team formation and ideation to pitching venture capitalists and angel investors, tactics that are accredited by leading global universities, and endorsed by QSTP, Google, and Amadeus.
AIA also offers participants access to an extensive global network of prominent experts, mentors, and speakers from premiere organizations in the fields of tech entrepreneurship and innovation.
Rick Rasmussen, Chief of Chief Mentors, Industry Fellow and Faculty Member at University of California, Berkeley, commented: “The whole idea behind the Arab Innovation Academy is to develop the mindset of how to become an entrepreneur, as well as provide the tools that are needed to take an idea from conception to implementation. Students are at the most creative stages of their lives and we are trying to provide them an entrepreneurship school in a setting that doesn’t depend on lectures and case studies and text books. We teach how to build companies by doing; everybody rolls up their sleeves and builds companies from scratch.”
Commenting on the significance of the program, Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President, QF RDI, said: “AIA was a huge success last year, and I am delighted to observe the overwhelming response the program has received this year as well. Such programs help us identify talented Arab youth who have a drive to find innovative tech-based solutions to the shared challenges this region is facing, and become an integrated component of the rapidly developing entrepreneurship ecosystem and knowledge economy in Qatar.”
The program also acts as a bridge for young “techpreneurs” in Qatar to become extended members of EIA’s global network, and benefit from a valuable mentorship and support system that includes industry experts at the heart of its foundation.
The first edition of AIA accepted more than 100 participants from 11 countries to come together and develop their techpreneurial ideas. This year, AIA selected more than 160 participants from a pool of over 900 applicants, to have an enriching experience of learning from 25 speakers and 37 mentors and investors, all representing 30 different nationalities, for its second edition in Doha.
The first day of the AIA saw alumni from the previous edition share their valuable experiences with the 2019 cohort in a moderated panel discussion. The budding entrepreneurs will also benefit from sessions offered by speakers from Silicon Valley and the University of California, Berkley, all with the intention of driving the collective entrepreneurial sparks of our of youth from Qatar, the region, and beyond.
For more information on the Arab Innovation Academy, please visit: aia.inacademy.eu
Qatar Science & Technology Park
Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), a member 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, 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 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 https://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, healthcare, and agribusiness, 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 private, non-profit organization that is supporting Qatar on its journey from a carbon economy to knowledge economy by unlocking human potential, for the benefit of not only Qatar, but the world. Founded in 1995 by His Highness Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, the Father Emir, QF is chaired by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser.
QF’s work encompasses education, research and community development. World-class universities are brought to Qatar to help create an education sector in which young people can develop the attitudes and skills required for a knowledge economy. At the same time, QF builds Qatar’s innovation and technology capacity by developing and commercializing solutions through key sciences. The Foundation also works to foster a progressive society while enhancing cultural life, protecting Qatar’s heritage and addressing immediate social needs in the community.
For a complete list of QF’s initiatives and projects, visit https://www.qf.org.qa
European Innovation Academy
The European Innovation Academy is a non-profit educational institution recognized for excellence in tech entrepreneurship and methodology designed and developed together with the representatives of the Silicon Valley universities and companies UC Berkeley, Stanford University, Google and Amadeus. For further information visit https://www.inacademy.eu
SOURCE Qatar Science & Technology Park