DOHA: A number of aspiring technology entrepreneurs from Oman recently completed the first Arab Innovation Academy, in Doha. The 10-day intensive startup programme was organised by Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), in collaboration with the European Innovation Academy (EIA). The hands-on and groundbreaking programme, held from December 31 to January 11, provided more than 100 aspiring university students and other young entrepreneurs from countries across the Arab world, including nine Omani individuals, with the authentic experience of developing and launching new tech ventures. Under the guidance of leading global tech startup mentors, teams whose members had never met before were challenged to take an idea to a viable startup after just two intensive weeks of working together.
Through the AIA, individuals from Kuwait, Algeria, Lebanon, Oman, Tunisia, Morocco, Jordan, and Qatar had the opportunity to leverage an extensive global network of leading tech entrepreneurship experts, who introduced them to innovation tools and methods developed by leading universities and companies, including University of California, Berkeley; Stanford University; Google; Amadeus IT Group; and QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D).
Safa Hamdoon Hamed al Hashmi, an electrical engineering student at SQU, said: “The mentors have been hugely beneficial in helping us to fine-tune our business ideas, formulate a solid business plan, and implement a successful marketing strategy. I would like to thank QSTP for giving me this opportunity, which has inspired me to persevere with my entrepreneurial ambitions.”
The programme created a new and dynamic network of more than 150 international advocates and message-bearers — from students, to mentors, and speakers — for Qatar’s mission of unlocking human potential and becoming a regional innovation hub whose efforts can benefit both its own society, and the world.
“The young tech entrepreneurs who have participated in the first Arab Innovation Academy care about our region,” said Dr Maher Hakim, Executive Director, QSTP. “They are passionate about, and committed to, helping solve the challenges it faces, and they are now global ambassadors both for Qatar and for the Arab world building bridges among communities and cultures, through innovation.
The EIA is the world’s largest extreme entrepreneurship program, offering aspiring techpreneurs from across the globe the necessary support and mentorship to launch a startup in just 15 days.