Building on its success over the past 10 years, Qatar Science and Technology Park’s (QSTP), a member of Qatar Foundation, will offer $50m in the next five years to support start-ups, said a senior official yesterday.
While QSTP’s core mandate and commitment remain to continue growing the business research and development aspect, it is actively growing its technology innovation and entrepreneurship offerings through various full-featured educational, training, mentorship, as well as comprehensive funding programmes, said Yosouf Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP addressing a press conference yesterday.
“This positions QSTP as an engine that drives the implementation of research, development, and innovation for the national benefit and global impact,” he said.
QSTP was initiated as an entrepreneurial, venture funding culture, and all the associated facilities and systems to support such.
This year marks a decade of achievements for QSTP. “We will collectively mark the milestones of our research, development, and innovation ecosystem in answering the needs of tomorrow at our ‘Catalyzing the Future — Driving’ ideas to impact event in October,” said Saleh.
A key announcement will be made during the event about how the next chapter in Qatar’s Research, Development, and Innovation story will unfold.
Over the years, QSTP’s investments and incubation efforts have helped to produce and commercialise 31 innovative products which have been taken into the Qatari market. More than QR4.3bn has been invested in research, development and innovation activities by international companies registered at QSTP. QSTP has made 115 investments in regional companies through its partnership with Silicon Valley-based 500 Startups. 20 tech-focused Qatari startups have been incubated at QSTP. Over 50 companies, including 20 international companies — are currently based at QSTP.
“We have 88 per cent occupancy at QSTP. QSTP promotes activities aimed at attracting local and international investments and companies by enhancing economic development and supporting technology-based research outcomes that foster venture creation and the innovation value chain. Throughout the years, QSTP has been home to, and business partners with, several of the biggest global companies in the world who have jointly delivered impactful and measurable benefits for Qatar,” said Saleh.
He emphasised on QSTP’s premier Research to Startup (RTS) program, which aims to recruit experienced entrepreneurs and match them with high-potential technologies that have been created in Qatar. “RTS effectively bridges the gap between research and venture creation through a process of match-making researchers and their technology with experienced tech entrepreneurs to advance technologies that have been created in Qatar and achieve impact from their usage,” said Saleh. He also highlighted the positive impact of that the ongoing blockade imposed by neighbouring countries have on innovation and research.
“The blockade has actually opened new opportunities not only to reach the region but the world,” said Saleh. Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Vice-President, QF RDI; Mohammad Zebian, Program Manager, Accelerators, QSTP; Dr. Ashraf Aboulnaga, Research Director, QCRI, Hamad bin Khalifa University, also shared their views during the press conference.
“QF RDI is at the core of RDI in Qatar. We have an essential role in identifying not only challenges, but opportunities, across a range of areas — ICT, energy, environment, healthcare, food security — where RDI can generate solutions that strengthen Qatar’s sustainability and resilience, make their way into the global marketplace, and directly and positively impact people’s lives,” said Dr O’Kennedy.
He also emphasised on QSTP’s pole position as a national and regional hub for technology development and innovation.