Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development & Innovation (QF RDI), recently conducted a session as part of ROWAD Qatar 2021, organized by Qatar Development Bank (QDB), on how startups should be ‘Leveraging Digital Solutions to Gain a Competitive Advantage’. QSTP’s Program Manager for Acceleration, Mohammad Zebian, shared insights on the opportunities for innovators to use digital solutions, for instance through the development of a product, or through marketing via digital channels, in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and directly benefit their businesses.

“The fundamental principle is that a company is creating a product that is solving a problem and that the digital solution is fulfilling a customer need and providing value,” advised Zebian. This is a key element of QSTP’s recently launched and updated 12th cycle of its XLR8 accelerator program for startups which, through the new addition of an Ideation Module, allows participants to gain real customer feedback on their product or business ideas before proceeding with product development.

“The ideation phase is critical to a startup’s success, and I encourage entrepreneurs to take a step back and validate their business idea in order to make sure it’s actually solving a problem. By speaking directly with customers, entrepreneurs can pivot and refine their ideas, which saves time and effort, but also drastically increases the probability of a product succeeding in the market,” he continued.

Commenting on QSTP’s involvement in the event, Hayfa Al Abdulla, QSTP Innovation Director, said: “Our continued partnership with QDB allows us collaborate and drive real change within the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar, and indeed to unlock the potential of this ecosystem as well as our entrepreneurs. As we can see through events such as ROWAD Qatar 2021, the pace of technology development, deployment, and adoption in Qatar is rapidly accelerating, and together we are well positioned to contribute to the national drive towards digital transformation and positively impact our wider economy.”

The session was attended by Qatari entrepreneurs and innovators, all of whom can benefit from the full-spectrum value chain of mentorship, acceleration, incubation, funding and investment programs that QSTP has to offer.

Held annually, ROWAD Qatar is a national initiative comes as part of QDB’s celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, and which this year centered around the theme of ‘Digital Transformation & Thriving in the New Economy’.

QSTP’s work with QDB focuses on fostering an environment that advances technology development, innovation and entrepreneurship in Qatar, which supports aspiring entrepreneurs every step of the way as they turn their innovative ideas and passions into successful businesses.