FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions!

Innovation Mindset:

How will my eligibility to participate in the Silicon Valley Spring Break be assessed?

Applications are reviewed by a committee. On occasions, we contact applicants’ professors for recommendations, and we also conduct interviews with the students if necessary.

To what stage should I have developed my startup idea in order to participate in the European Innovation Academy (EIA)?

You can join the EIA whether you have a startup idea or not. What is more important than the idea is your interest in tech entrepreneurship, and your keenness to learn more about it.

Do I need a visa to join your programs?

Our programs are hosted in the US, European countries, and Qatar. We advise students to obtain a visa allowing them to enter the hosting country in advance of the program.

Acceleration:

How much time will I be expected to devote, on a weekly basis, to participating in the QSTP XLR8 program, and will it be running within QSTP premises?

XLR8 is an intensive program which moves at a rapid pace. The value entrepreneurs receive from the program is reflected in the level of time and commitment they invest. Typically, each entrepreneur is expected to devote a minimum of 15 hours per week. The program runs at QSTP.

How does QSTP XLR8 enable me to reach out to potential investors?

QSTP works closely with your team to help ensure that you, and your invention, are at a stage where you are ready to approach investors. For example, QSTP will work with your team to help you objectively examine your idea and address many aspects of its commercial viability (i.e. revenue potential, market size, customer traction, and the ability of your team to execute the idea), all of which are of particular interest to investors. QSTP also works with your team to package all this relevant information into a ‘pitch’ format, specifically designed to capture the interest of investors.

Can I maintain contact with my mentor from a QSTP program, and continue to seek their advice, after the program finishes?

The XLR8 program has a large and active alumni network. QSTP encourages teams to maintain contact with their mentors as they continue their journey after completing the XLR8 program.

Can I apply for the Doha Dojo if my startup does not yet have initial funding confirmed? If not, which other QSTP programs might be suitable for me?

Post-XLR8, teams wishing to continue at QSTP must secure additional investment to help them develop an improved prototype, or even a complete product. They can apply to the QSTP Incubation Center, but we emphasize that this does not offer funding, and so alternative sources of investment capital will be required.

The Doha Dojo program is only available to startups that have already been running for several years, can demonstrate that they have a strong team and have generated good revenues, and have great growth potential. In order to apply to the Doha Dojo, teams leaving XLR8 therefore need to start a company, then generate revenues etc. Only then can they apply to Doha Dojo. Realistically, if teams cannot secure initial funding, they unfortunately cannot apply to Doha Dojo, as it would indicate their startup is at too early a stage for acceptance into this program.

Incubation:

What is the purpose behind establishing the QSTP Incubation Center?

QSTP is Qatar’s hub for tech-based innovation and entrepreneurship. As part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development, QSTP is committed to the development of the tech innovation community. Qatar is on a mission to build a sustainable, diversified economy, and we believe that strengthening the nation’s private sector and supporting homegrown tech-related startups is of paramount importance to this mission.

Who can apply?

Application is open to all Qataris and Qatar residents who are eager to establish tech-based startups.

How do I apply?

In order to apply to the QSTP Incubation Center, you should complete the application form and questionnaire, and send it to [email protected]. Promising applicants will be invited to an interview. Admission is on a rolling basis, subject to availability of places.

Does it cost us to apply?

There are no application fees involved in applying to the QSTP Incubation Center.

How does QSTP select startups?

Our selection process is methodical and has the input of experienced professionals. Applications will be reviewed based on the following criteria:

  • The team has an innovative technology-based idea with commercial potential.
  • The team possesses the necessary understanding of product development, and is passionate, committed, and unwavering in their desire to see their startup succeed.
  • The team demonstrates the ability to execute their idea. This may mean building a preliminary prototype, market validation, acquiring users, or attracting investors.
  • The team has at least one founder committed full-time to the startup. The full-time co-founder(s) must own at least 20% of the business.

What type of commitment does QSTP require?

At least one of the co-founders must be committed full-time to the startup project. Teams whose founders are all part-time will not be accepted into the program.

How long is the program?

Accepted startups will be hosted in the QSTP Incubation Center for a maximum of 12 months.

How will I benefit from the program?

Accepted applicants will receive: Accepted applicants will receive:

  • Quick and affordable incorporation in the QSTP Free Zone.
  • 12 months of 100% subsidized co-working space.
  • Subsidized business support services.
  • Training, workshops and networking events.
  • Access to prototyping facilities.
  • Access to QSTP funding programs.
  • Access to mentors network.
  • Access to QSTP’s tenant network of high tech companies and R&D centers.

How long will it take to incorporate my startup?

Upon the submission of a satisfactory application, accepted startups will be incorporated within 2-4 weeks.

What is the capital requirement for the startup companies?

The requirement is 5,000 Qatari Riyals

Do I need to have a Qatari partner?

No. Startup companies incorporated in the QSTP Free Zone are allowed to have 100% foreign ownership.

How many members should my team have?

Companies in the QSTP Incubation Center should have at least two team members, at least one of whom should be a dedicated full-time member. In the case of sole applicants, we will certainly consider your application, but we rarely accept applications from single founders. We will encourage you to seek a partner and then approach us again.

What is the difference between QSTP XLR8 and the QSTP Incubation Center?

QSTP XLR8 is a ‘boot camp’ training program open to individuals and teams, focuses on guiding those with ideas towards validating their markets and products through customer development and building a minimum viable product. The QSTP Incubation Center provides early support for startup teams through legal incorporation, subsidized co-working space, and other business and startup support services.

Should I join the QSTP XLR8 program before the QSTP Incubation Center?

This depends on the maturity of your concept and the commitment of your team. If a concept needs further early-stage market validation, or the team is not yet fully committed, QSTP may recommend that you join the QSTP XLR8 program before being admitted to the QSTP Incubation Center. However, you may be admitted directly to the QSTP Incubation Center if your concept is commercially sound, your team is committed, and a startup is ready to be created.

What about funding for my startup?

Companies in the QSTP Incubation Center have the right to apply to the funding programs offered by QSTP – more details are available at www.qstp.org.qa – or will be guided to seek investment from private investors or funding partners.

Can I resubmit another application to the QSTP Incubation Center if my first application is declined?

There is no limit to the number of times a person or a team may apply to establish a startup in the QSTP Incubation Center. Indeed, if a previously-declined concept has subsequently evolved, we encourage you to submit a revised and improved application.

I have a great idea, but I lack the technical ability to develop it. Can QSTP help?

If you demonstrate sufficient knowledge of the industry and market, true passion, dedication, and a commitment to your concept, any deficiency in technical capability need not necessarily stop you from pursuing your technology startup, if you can form a team with the necessary skills to complement your own. However, entrepreneurs are responsible for establishing their own teams, as QSTP takes no part in hiring people for startup companies.

I have the technical ability to develop my idea, but I need help with business development. How can QSTP help?

QSTP will offer the opportunity to join startup and entrepreneurship-focused training programs, including QSTP XLR8, prior to joining the QSTP Incubation Center. Accepted startups will have the opportunity to leverage their business skills during the incubation period through training and workshops. These sessions will either be offered in-house by QSTP, or by guest lecturers, mentors, or industry practitioners.

Does QSTP retain the Intellectual Property (IP) developed in the QSTP Incubation Center?

No, QSTP does not retain IP developed during this program. Your startup owns all rights, titles, and interests to the IP created by you. However, we strongly encourage you to ensure that you have rights to any IP that you may be transferring from prior employers.

I am currently living outside Qatar, but I have plans to re-locate to Qatar. Can I apply to QSTP’s programs?

All applicants should have a valid Residency Permit in Qatar prior to applying to the program.

After I finish the incubation period, can I stay at QSTP?

If your startup gets good traction and is well-financed upon graduation, we would welcome you to become an established tenant at QSTP and part of our technology innovation tenant community.

Does QSTP incubate Information Technology (IT) startups only?

No, QSTP considers startups in different technology sectors, including Information and Communications Technology, Health Sciences, Energy and Environment, and other areas.

When I make an application, will QSTP sign an NDA?

Although we do not sign a separate NDA in each instance, due to the volume of applications received, QSTP will treat all submissions as confidential in nature and will not disclose any information to a third party without prior consent from the applicant.

Does QSTP provide feedback on the results of an application’s assessment?

QSTP will only respond with an acceptance or a rejection. Unfortunately, due to the volume of applications received, we are unable to provide comprehensive feedback to those whose applications have been declined.

How many desks (workstation spaces) can I apply for?

The maximum number of workstation spaces per team is six. The minimum is one. Please apply only for what you need, so that others can benefit from the program.

STIR:

I have an innovative idea that addresses a market need in Qatar. Can I apply?

We are looking for foreign tech startups that have already passed the ideation stage and have traction in terms of product usage or product sales. If your startup meets these criteria, we would be delighted to receive an application from you.

Can I also obtain funding through this program?

No, as STIR is a soft-landing program that is not inclusive of funding.

PDF:

Can I still apply to the Product Development Fund if the total cost of my product or service proposal is more than double the total funding value?

QSTP will only provide up to 50% of the project cost, based on paid invoices submitted by the Awardee to QSTP. This contribution is capped at US $400K/1.4 million QAR. The rest of the cost will be paid by the applicant regardless of the amount.

In the Product Development Fund, do I have to be willing to accelerate the development of my own product? What if my idea would accelerate an existing product developed by someone else?

Applicants may accelerate their own product or an existing product, under the following IP policy:

  • QF will not assume ownership of new IP before, during or after (unless existing QF IP is involved in the project)
  • New IP is always owned by the Awardee only (as the Awardee will always be a private sector SME who is not using QF IP)
  • At the point of application, the applicant company must confirm it owns, or has already licensed, any IP essential to carry out the project

How long is the selection process for the Product Development Fund expected to take? Is there a set timescale or is it simply an organic, case-by-case process?

From the submission of the final version of the PDF application, it may take 6-8 weeks for the results of the selection process to be confirmed. Before then, the applicant may have to revise their application in a reiterative process, which may take more time depending on the applicant’s responsiveness.

TVF:

How does QSTP decide on the ticket size of my startup?

Every startup has different capital requirements depending on the nature of the business, the point it has reached in its lifecycle, and the sector in which it is operating. We look at each startup as a unique opportunity, and make an internal decision on how we would like to participate.

Free Zone:

What benefits are offered by the QSTP Free Zone?

  • 100% foreign company ownership
  • 100% corporate income tax exemption
  • 100% personal income tax exemption
  • 100% import and export duties tax exemption
  • 100% repatriation of capital and profits
  • No foreign currency restrictions
  • Swift company formation

What are the fees associated with company formation, branch registration and licensing?

Currently there are no fees associated with company formation, branch registration and licensing.

What types of companies can be formed in the Free Zone?

  • Limited Liability Company (LLC)
  • Branch of Local or Foreign Company

What is the minimum capital required to setup a company in the Free Zone?

There is no minimum capital required to register a branch of a local or foreign company. The minimum capital for establishing Limited Liability Companies is QR 200,000 or US $55,000.

Do I need to rent an office to obtain a Free Zone License?

Yes, renting an office in the Free Zone is required to obtain this License

Can I purchase properties and real estate in the Free Zone?

No. All properties and real estate in the Free Zone are offered on a lease basis only.

What types of offices are available for rent in the Free Zone?

  • Fully-furnished offices in blocks of 45 square meters
  • Category A fitted-out offices in blocks of 500 square meters
  • Custom-built buildings in different sizes

When based at QSTP, is there is a designated port for the import and export of goods?

Licensed entities can import and export goods through any port or airport in Qatar after registering with the General Authority of Customs

Communications:

Can local innovators/entrepreneurs apply to speak at QSTP technovate? If so, what is required and who do I contact?

Yes, they are always welcome. You can send an email to [email protected] to express your interest in a speaking opportunity.

I’d like to conduct a media interview with a member of QSTP’s leadership/staff, or film at QSTP. How can I arrange this?

Please send your request to [email protected]. For filming, complete this form (link) and send it to the same email.

I’d like to visit/have a tour of QSTP. How can I arrange this?

Please send your request to [email protected], including a short brief about yourself or your organization, and the purpose of the visit.

Can I contribute to the QSTP blog?

Yes, we welcome topics about technology and innovation. Get in touch with us by sending an email to [email protected], including a short brief about yourself or your organization, and an outline of your suggested topic.