The third edition of the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA), in partnership with Qatar Foundation (QF) and Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), started on Tuesday with the participation of 190 applicants from more than 30 nationalities, 50 percent of who are Qataris.

The number of Qatari participants in this year’s edition increased by 50 percent compared to last year.

The Arab Innovation Academy, the first and the largest entrepreneurship programme in the pan-Arab region, was brought to Qatar and the Middle East through a collaboration between QSTP and the European Innovation Academy, the world’s largest intensive entrepreneurship programme offering aspiring techpreneurs from across the globe the necessary support and mentorship to launch a startup.

The AIA is designed for students in the pan-Arab region who have innovative ideas and an entrepreneurial mindset, regardless of whether or not their background is in business management. The Academy provides applicants with expert knowledge and mentorship throughout the programme in all aspects related to ‘starting your own business’, including business development, marketing, pitching and seeking investment.

Speaking at the opening of the event at the Education City, President of European Innovation Academy Alar Kolk said the programme is a life changing and a very unique opportunity, where many nations from the region are brought together to contribute in building a new economy and a new society.

The AIA aims to support university students who are aspiring techpreneurs by offering them a unique accelerated mode of experiential learning to help them turn an idea into a startup in only 10 days.

The programme exposes participants to real-life experiences and experiments on how to develop and launch new technology ventures in a real marketplace with real customer feedback.

The 10-day entrepreneurship boot camp is hosting the brightest entrepreneurial minds from the MENA region, immersing students, young entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future in a multicultural ecosystem.

In his welcome remarks, QF Vice-President for Research, Development and Innovation Dr Richard O’Kennedy said the gathering of elite of young techpreneurs is very exciting and proves the importance of connectivity.

“Connectivity is very important because we are not limited to one area; instead we work globally, we search for opportunities where new ways will be developed,” he noted

O’Kennedy said, “The challenge is exciting; 190 participants have reached this stage and all of you have the opportunity to create something big and meaningful and to make a change.”

During a presentation titled ‘10x’, Kolk encouraged the attendees to bring ideas together into the programme and build great innovations that will make a change, an innovation that represents a necessity not an accessory. He said taking risks and embracing change will help to create real solutions.