DOHA, Qatar, Jan. 22, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- The third edition of the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA), a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) ─ part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) ─ and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), concluded with an intensive day of pitching by 30 teams from across the MENA region, followed by a graduation ceremony at QSTP on January 20. Ten teams were shortlisted out of which three winners were announced.
Salamtak, a company that developed an online system for the management of chronic diseases, like diabetes and hypertension, and provides both patients and healthcare professionals with a real-time interface to monitor vital data, won the first place. While Hamza, for their development of the program, which assists with Arabic writing, automatically correcting grammatical errors, just like Grammarly in English, came second; and the 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 the pet.
Representing third-place winner, Go Star, Sara Ait Hak from Morocco, said: "From AIA, I learned that you can turn any idea into a business if you work hard enough. I'd advise fellow young entrepreneurs to always listen to the mentors and to all the advice you get, and you will definitely be able to make your dream a reality."
A number of teams won special awards including Doctorle, a consultation service for diabetic patients that provides them with guidance in helping them manage their lifestyles. The Doctorle team will get a chance to showcase their innovation at the upcoming edition of the World Innovation Summit for Health. The LimPap team was also recognized for their innovation that aims to produce paper by using completely sustainable sources instead of paper. The team will get an expedited interview with XLR8 – QSTP's flagship Accelerator Program.
Ten days earlier, 190 university students had convened from all over the pan-Arab region to start this year's AIA program. These students were selected for their innovative tech-based ideas and entrepreneurial mindset, and came from diverse backgrounds and academic fields.
The fast-paced innovation academy, that took place from January 7-20, gave aspiring techpreneurs ample exposure to real-life experiences and experiments on how to develop and launch new tech ventures, in a real marketplace with real customer feedback.
AIA is the first and the largest entrepreneurship program in the pan-Arab region, first brought to Qatar and the Middle East in 2018 through a collaboration between QSTP and the EIA, considered to be the world's largest extreme entrepreneurship program. Among similar accelerator programs, the AIA is distinguished by its unique accelerated mode of experiential learning to help techpreneurs turn an idea into a start‐up in only 10 days.
Following on the success of the first two editions, AIA 2020 received an overwhelming response and close to 800 applications. Selected applicants came from Palestine, Kuwait, Algeria, France, Oman, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey, with Qatar-based students making up almost half of the participants. A student delegation from France also participated in the program for the first time, as part of the Qatar-France Year of Culture.
The AIA is geared to providing participants with expert knowledge and mentorship in all aspects related to 'starting your own business', including business development, marketing, pitching and seeking investment. For this edition, all participants had full access to more than 40 top mentors and coaches, from the United States, the United Kingdom and European Union, Singapore, in addition to the regional and local mentors in the field of techpreneurship and innovation.
Hayfa Al Abdulla, QSTP Innovation Director, said: "Congratulations to this edition's winners! They've shown true determination and brilliance. The AIA is one of the most successful platforms for bringing together regional capacities with young talents, and fostering innovative ideas. We are more than proud of the innovation shown by all participants and we have no doubt that their mindset will help us find solutions to the challenges we face in the region."
As a leading technology hub in the region, QSTP has continued to play a key role in the success of a number of startups over the past 10 years and through AIA assists aspiring entrepreneurs to realize their ambitions by helping their tech startup ideas to gain momentum. To date, the number of graduates from the first and second editions of the AIA program has reached over 300 students. The region's tech-based startups have benefited from the opportunities extended by EIA to leverage a stellar network of global mentors from Silicon Valley and all around the world.
Alar Kolk, President, EIA, said: "I am proud of each participant and believe that the program will shape their determination to continue innovating. The intensive program has given them a solid foundation to successfully launch their tech startups and realize their business ambitions, and they are assured of a wide network of support to do so."
For more information about the Arab Innovation Academy and a complete list of winners, please visit: aia.inacademy.eu
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, 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 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 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.
For a complete list of QF's initiatives and projects, please visit: 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 www.inacademy.eu
SOURCE Qatar Science & Technology Park