The latest edition of TECHtalk, by Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), highlighted  QSTP’s Proof of Concept Fund (POCF) and QSTP’s participation in Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s (MIT) Regional Entrepreneurship Acceleration Programme (REAP).
QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), held the talk during Qatar University’s recent Entrepreneurship in Economic Development Forum at Sheraton Doha. QSTP innovation experts provided an inside look at programmes  to boost Qatar’s capacity to develop commercial technologies.
Mohamed Zebian, innovation manager at QSTP, and Pontus All, QSTP entrepreneurship manager, gave the details of  POCF and MIT’s REAP at the event.
POCF is QSTP’s principle vehicle for assisting Qatar based research institutes, universities, and SMEs to prove their inventions are commercially viable. Awardees of the POCF are expected to create a commercially viable prototype of their invention and work closely with QSTP to develop a detailed strategy to commercialise it. POCF is designed to increase the probability of creating innovation-driven enterprises in line with Qatar’s National Vision 2030.
Through the POCF, QSTP has already supported home-grown companies such as iHorizons, which created a digital platform to analyse Arabic social media content and AMAN Information Security, which launched a commercial cybersecurity application last year.
Pontus announced that Qatar is one of just eight countries participating in MIT’s REAP programme, which boosts innovation capacity in regional economies by bringing top thinkers and practitioners together to study the innovation challenges and opportunities specific to a given market. REAP is an intensive programme that comprises several workshops, held around the world over two calendar years. In between workshops, participants work on practical projects in their home region or country.
Projects inform the development and implementation of a cohesive regional acceleration strategy, enabling teams to create and improve policies, programmes, systems and infrastructure to enhance the entrepreneurial environment in their respective countries. So far, the programme has identified significant opportunities to innovate in Qatar’s energy and construction sectors.
Pontus said: “REAP promotes economic development by providing a deep looking at the state quo of innovation in Qatar and the region. It proposes fresh strategies and opportunities for nurturing innovation and entrepreneurship here. The programme has attracted the world’s attention, with participants from Qatar, Singapore, Russia, Morocco, Spain, England and others joining the workshops.”
Zebian said: “QSTP has, for years, been developing programmes to support home-grown, Qatar-based innovators and entrepreneurs, and the Proof of Concept Fund is our primary means for doing that.The new and improved POCF will continue to bridge the gap between innovators and the market – commercialising the brilliant ideas that flow through Qatar’s world-class research and development ecosystem.”