Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) – in partnership with global venture capital firm 500 Startups, launched the third edition of the MENA Dojo Series A Program in Kuwait recently. This edition sees the participation of 14 of the most promising technology startups from across the MENA region, including two from Qatar.

MENA Dojo is a regional spin-off of the internationally-coveted 500 Startups Series A Accelerator Program.

Technology startups participating in this program must have previously raised funding from other investors, and are now preparing to scale-up and raise their Series A round – a startup’s first significant round of venture capital funding that enables its rapid growth and development.

Over the course of the program, the startups will be provided with intensive, one-on-one training and mentorship in developing a mindset for accelerated growth.

The two Qatari-founded startups participating this year are ADGS and MaktApp. ADGS sells a suite of products that use artificial intelligence (AI), behavioural biometrics, and emergent behaviour. Founded by Hassan Al Ansari, President, Christophe Billiottet, CEO; and Nahuel Gonzalez, CTO, the startup is a recipient of QSTP’s Product Development Fund, which is dedicated to funding SMEs and startups that develop products and services relevant to local market needs.

Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director of QSTP, said,“QSTP’s ongoing partnership with 500 Startups has placed regional technology development on the global map. Our joint hosting of the MENA Dojo enables QSTP to promote Qatar’s techpreneurs on the regional stage, and provides 500 Startups with the opportunity to identify and help realise the region’s startup potential.

Over the course of the five-week program, which will run until May 1, participating startups will be trained on how to grow their businesses through different methodologies, including customer acquisition, growth-hacking, distribution, referral marketing and re-targeting, content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO), user experience (UX) and conversion optimisation, as well as pitching to investors.

Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Vice-President for Research, Development, and Innovation, Qatar Foundation, said, “Qatar’s burgeoning innovation ecosystem is driven by people with a passion for harnessing the power of technology to develop solutions aimed at addressing local and regional needs. MENA Dojo provides a robust platform for these entrepreneurs to fine-tune their ideas under the tutelage of industry experts and unleash the potential of their businesses, making impactful contributions to Qatar and beyond.”

On May 1, all participating startups will pitch their businesses and growth models to a global audience of industry leaders and potential investors in the hope of securing significant later-stage funding to fuel their growth ambitions. This ‘Investor Day’ will mark the culmination of this year’s comprehensive accelerator program.