Over the years Qatar, especially Qatar Science & Technology Park, have become a great place for entrepreneurs, startups and investors. Qatar’s geographical location provides an ideal base for businesses to access the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, as well as Europe and the Indian sub-continent.

According to Yousef Al Salehi, Executive Director of QSTP, in recent years, Qatar’s tech-savvy decision-makers have built upon this foundation to ensure that our unique, technology business-focused park has become the place for global tech companies, industry leaders and innovators to call home.

QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation, provides a world-class, customisable infrastructure for tech businesses of varying scales.

“QSTP also offers a complete innovation value chain of Acceleration and Incubation programs, mentorship, and access to networks for startups and entrepreneurs, as well as funding and investment programs, including our internationally recognized Tech Venture Fund (TVF). QSTP is proud to be playing a key role in developing an impactful technology, innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem here in Qatar,” Al Salehi told The Peninsula.

The list of many success stories of QSTP includes Obrizum, a cloud-based adaptive learning platform powered via Artificial Intelligence (AI), in which QSTP invested through Tech Venture Fund (TVF).

The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) also backed this startup. The TVF, RTS and Qatar Foundation Research, Development & Innovation’s (QF RDI) office of Industry Development & Knowledge Transfer (IDKT) were also central to the development of Kanari, an AI-powered speech-based technology solution for modern Arabic and dialectal Arabic.

“In June, we were enormously proud to attend the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) 2021 where we showcased these exciting and truly impactful problem-solving technologies to an international audience.”

“Over the years, our acclaimed Incubation and Accelerator programs have helped a whole host of new and upcoming firms grow and expand. Since 2016, over 20 local companies run by more than 66 entrepreneurs have been incubated at QSTP, whilst our XLR8 program has produced over 400 graduates,” said Al Salehi.

“The startups we work with are addressing real-world challenges through innovative solutions – from hapondo, a platform that connects residential real-estate brokers to renters, to SaVest – a smart, wearable device that cools the body of a construction worker when on site,” he added.

Other notable startups at QSTP include Airlift, which is developing and piloting a self-driving utility platform. Subol Products Design, on the other hand, is developing pioneering sensor-based safety products for homeowners.

“We are also extremely proud of impactful FinTech firms such as Fatora, which provides diverse and flexible payment solutions to Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs),” said Al Salehi.

“Many of our startups are tackling issues related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the winners of the 10th edition of our XLR8 program in December 2020 was Sahatech, an application which enhances employee wellness through access to health risk assessments, mental health support, weight loss and sleep pattern data – a topic that has become ever more important to organizations over the past 18 months,” he added.

“Our Free Zone is home to some of the most renowned multinational corporations. By building sustained partnerships with industry-leading companies and global conglomerates, QSTP has helped bring international expertise to Qatar, which has successfully contributed to the development, implementation and commercialization of new technologies, products and services,” said Al Salehi.

There are a number of benefits to operating from QSTP Free Zone. “We are located within QF’s Education City, and our partner companies can collaborate with the research institutes in Hamad Bin Khalifa University as well as the other top partner universities in Education City.”

QSTP is focused on supporting QF’s and Qatar’s RDI initiatives. “Our work is fully aligned with and contributes towards the Qatar National Vision 2030 which places great emphasis on self-determined RDI, as well as the priorities outlined in the National Development Strategy.

QF RDI is at the forefront of our national RDI ecosystem through its world-class infrastructure, human capacity development, strong local and international partnerships, and solutions-driven approach to address national needs while generating global impact,” said Al Salehi.

Speaking about the goals for coming years, Al Salehi said, “Our primary focus is to attract more international tech businesses, innovators and R&D centers to QSTP, as well as further enhance our innovation programs. In line with QNV 2030 and beyond, we are actively working to position Qatar’s capabilities and offerings across technology and innovation.”