Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar’s primary accelerator and incubator for technology development, recently hosted the third Demo Day for its ongoing ‘Accelerator Programme’.
The event, held at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), was attended by leading investors and established entrepreneurs from Qatar and the wider region. Serving as a unique platform for Qatar’s aspiring entrepreneurs and technology innovators, the Demo Day featured 19 innovative projects relevant to a range of industries in Qatar, including health, construction, energy, wireless technology, agriculture, education, healthcare, and communications.
The Demo Day aims to bridge the gap between research innovations and the needs of the market by creating a synergy among entrepreneurs and investors from across various sectors of Qatar’s thriving economy. Now in its third edition, the ‘Accelerator Programme’ equips participating entrepreneurs with the necessary training and mentoring programmes to ensure the feasibility of their business ideas in addressing the priority fields highlighted in the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS).
In his opening remarks at the Demo Day, Hamad Al Kuwari, QSTP’s Managing Director, said: “The ‘Accelerator Programme’ has proven to be a successful model in Qatar, and potentially across the region, inciting interest in technology innovation entrepreneurship among the people of Qatar. Our experts and mentors are blessed with a wealth of experience in the fields of research, technology and market dynamics, helping QSTP to offer a standardised entrepreneurship education programme for aspiring entrepreneurs in Qatar.”
“With Qatar’s commitment to further economic development, the establishment of an increasing number of small businesses in the country is becoming imperative. The various projects enlisted in this third Demo Day exhibit the potential of our entrepreneurial ecosystem to think innovatively and strategically in a drive to achieve economic sustainability. QSTP believes in a holistic approach to fostering entrepreneurship in Qatar, with a combined effort of entrepreneurship, technology mentoring, investment opportunities, and increased awareness. Our ‘Accelerator Programme’ is a clear example of such an approach, and one we are immensely proud of.”
Participating projects at the third Demo Day included: ‘ARVEX’, ‘CESHAT’, ‘DietHub’, ‘DigiHeart’, ‘Dr Dial’, ‘EasyBroadcast’, ‘Faham LT’, ‘Feelix Palm Tactile Communicator’, ‘Noval Airway’, ‘Omega-Implant’, ‘Pictoris Data’, ‘Problemia’, ‘Q Nonocomposites’, ‘QSAF’, ‘Salvation’, ‘Sanda’, ‘Ultra Diesel, ‘WakeCap’, and ‘Wheelchair Power Bar’.
One of the projects showcased at the event, the Qatar Smart Agriculture and Forestry (QSAF), is a Machine-to-Machine (M2M) Internet of Things (IoT) system with a cloud platform designed to remotely manage greenhouse agricultural techniques. This system aims to monitor and control the environment parameters of greenhouse effects, decreasing the necessity of human intervention.
QSAF team member Soufiane Rouibia said: “The Demo Day was hugely beneficial as we learned a lot about how to develop and market our idea. The ‘Accelerator Programme’ has been with us every step of the way and ensured that we remain on the right track, assisting us in growing our idea in the right way within a short space of time. Our business idea is now ready to be presented to investors, and I am extremely confident it will attract interest and go on to be a success.”
Another innovative project displayed at the Demo Day, ‘Ultra Diesel’, processes and converts waste lubricants into refined light oil, diesel fuel cut, and bitumen solids. The added value of the process is that degraded oil is converted to diesel fuel and bitumen and sold on the open market, as opposed to the current practice of disposing of this oil at garbage facilities.
"Through the ‘Accelerator Programme’, QSTP provides a great opportunity for innovative ideas to gain momentum and become fully-fledged marketable business ideas,” said project team member Eisa Al Nasr.
“QSTP has been very supportive throughout the ‘Accelerator Programme’, providing us with a set of guidelines and a framework to ensure the success of our business ideas. I am a businessman and it's been very interesting to participate in the project because it has shaped and changed my approach to developing ideas in a more strategic and efficient manner.”
“What has also been great is that we have been given the opportunity to network with other large organisations and SMEs - their input and feedback has been invaluable, as it's always important to get a second opinion and bring in other business which helps us to see the bigger picture and gain exposure.”
Since the launch of QSTP’s ‘Accelerator Programme’, there has been an increased interest in participation from national innovators and entrepreneurs. The programme’s first cohort received 27 applications, the second 57 applications, and the current third cohort an impressive 103 applications. The fourth planned cohort is set to expand participation further, as it is currently in the process of screening a record 269 applications.
QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), runs its ‘Accelerator Programme’ as an intensive three-month programme designed to provide aspiring entrepreneurs with training and mentorship to help them take their ideas to the market. It combines funding and mentoring, setting out three clear objectives or outcomes for those accepted into the programme: create a conceptual prototype, verify commercial viability, and access potential investors.