Exciting new tech start-ups and entrepreneurial ventures in Qatar are set to be given fresh impetus after Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Doha-based Innovation Café.

The Café is an innovation and design thinking studio set up with an aim to provide the right opportunities, guidance and support to help businesses start up and thrive in Qatar. It is a unique concept that focuses on transforming organizations through competitive research, implementing business innovation tools, and designing service maps.

The pact has three main objectives – to collectively boost entrepreneurial activity in Qatar; to jointly identify the needs for creating an enabling environment for start-ups to thrive; and to support and promote start-ups by providing mentorship and comprehensive information on innovation and tech-development programs.

Commenting on the two-year collaboration, QSTP Executive Director, Mr. Yousef Al Salehi, said: “Being part of a nationwide ecosystem of research, development, innovation, and entrepreneurship, it is important that we identify synergies and leverage them to effectively support our tech innovators and entrepreneurs to address local market needs while also making a global impact.

“As Qatar’s premier hub for technology development and innovation, QSTP provides the ideal environment encompassing infrastructure, programs, funding, networks, and pathways to make this happen. We are delighted to link-up with our partners at the Innovation Café to accomplish the important objectives of our MoU.”

Several activities have been planned under the terms of the contract to see it succeed in its principal intentions. Among them, the QSTP and Innovation Café brands will be leveraged in incubator events, workshops, bootcamps, hackathons, and pitching sessions. Efforts will also be made to extend expertise in terms of technology, knowledge and management aspects to strengthen the ecosystem. Additionally, both parties have agreed to support applicants by providing access to workspace, machinery, and infrastructure alongside funding and investment opportunities per relevant program criteria, as well as mentoring and other necessary professional support.

There will also be mutual participation in events, as well as workshops and pitching sessions as knowledge-sharing partners. Innovation Café will also offer a 25% discount on marketing services such as branding, digital media and social media management for start-ups incubated at QSTP.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Innovation Café, Mr. Ramzan Rashid Al Naimi, added: “We are really glad to sign this MoU with QSTP. This cooperation aims to serve and empower the entrepreneurs in the State of Qatar by leveraging the national entrepreneurial ecosystem which supports innovation in various aspects. It is also in line with the efforts to enhance the importance of the knowledge-based economy in Qatar and to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030.

“The MoU stipulates that the two institutions will have regular consultations, exchange of information, experiences, and cooperation in various fields to support start-ups and small and medium-sized companies. Also, we agreed to implement innovative programs and initiatives that have a tremendous impact on the entrepreneurial community in the country.”

The Research, Development and Innovation (RDI) ecosystem of QF was created to place Qatar at the forefront of scientific research and technological advancement, addressing national needs while generating global impact. A centerpiece of this ecosystem is QSTP.