The third edition of the Arab Innovation Academy, a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), concluded with an intensive day of pitching by the 30 teams, followed by a graduation ceremony at QSTP on Monday. Ten teams were shortlisted out of which three winners were announced. To mark 2020 as the Qatar-France Year of Culture, a student delegation of 10 students from France also participated in the programme for the first time.
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.
Chief Business Officer of first-place winner Salamtak, Muhammad Al Mukdad, a Syrian living in Qatar, said, “I feel amazing! It has been ten challenging days, but it has been a great experience with wonderful people from around the world. We intend to find investment and start building this platform in Qatar.”
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 recognised 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 – Qatar Science & Technology Park’s flagship Accelerator Program.
Ten days earlier, 190 university students had convened from all over the pan-Arab region to start this year’s Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) programme. These students were selected for their innovative tech-based ideas and entrepreneurial mind-set, and came from diverse backgrounds and academic fields.
The fast-paced innovation academy, that took place from January 7-20, gave the 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 programme in the pan-Arab region, first brought to Qatar and the Middle East in 2018 through a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) – part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) and the EIA, considered to be the world’s largest extreme entrepreneurship program.
Among similar accelerator programmes, 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. With Qatar-based students making up almost half of the participants in the third edition, other applicants came from Palestine, Kuwait, Algeria, France, Oman, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey.