50 startups to attend Entrepreneurship Zone at Qitcom 2017
February 25 2017 07:46 PM
One of the scenes during a previous Qitcom event.
One of the scenes during a previous Qitcom event.

Qitcom 2017 is set to provide a launch pad for Qatar’s digital industry by showcasing entrepreneurship, championing digital innovation, promoting investment  opportunities, and tailored learning events, all taking place within a special ‘Entrepreneurship Zone’, the Ministry of Transport and Communication (MoTC) has said.

The ‘Entrepreneurship Zone’ is part of Qitcom 2017, Qatar’s biggest digital event slated from March 6 to 8 at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC), the MoTC said in a statement.

Managed by the MoTC’s Digital Incubation Centre, the ‘Entrepreneurship Zone’ contains a variety of activities dedicated to entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the digital space: a CodeCamp, Innovation Theatre, ‘Make the Deal’ investor matchmaking, and a Startups Hub.

Around 300 entrepreneurs will participate in the ‘Entrepreneurship Zone’ activities, with more than 50 local, regional, and international startups showcasing their products and services.

Reem al-Mansoori, assistant undersecretary of the Digital Society Development Sector at the MoTC, said: “Qitcom 2017 strongly promotes entrepreneurship, innovation, and learning, as these are integral to building a vibrant ICT sector and a knowledge-based economy. There are incredible opportunities for local entrepreneurs and SMEs at Qitcom 2017, and I encourage all to join us at the ‘Entrepreneurship Zone’ and be part of Qatar’s smart future.”

CodeCamp is a first-of-its-kind hackathon in Qatar and a brand new addition to Qitcom. Taking place from March 3 to 4, teams of young students and coders will work together to develop creative technological solutions to a specific problem in four subject matter areas set by CodeCamp’s partners: digital transformation (Microsoft), smart travel (Qatar Airways), e-health (Ooredoo), and assistive technology (Mada).

After 48 hours of coding, a judging panel will shortlist the best three teams from each subject to go to the Innovation Theatre for a final pitch where four winners will be announced.

The Innovation Theatre is a unique platform that promotes digital entrepreneurship by encouraging talent to develop their businesses, and acts as a hub for entrepreneurs to network, learn, and share their latest innovations, experience, and success stories.

The Innovation Theatre is hosting the ‘Pitch-Win-Succeed’ business plan competition, where entrepreneurs and startup owners will pitch an original business idea to a judging panel. Over the course of three days, 40 ideas will be successively narrowed down in a series of pitching rounds, with the final five winners joining MoTC’s Digital Incubation Centre.

To qualify, the product or service idea must be innovative, technologically advanced, and have distinct competitive advantages. More than 30 mentors will be on hand to support entrepreneurs to develop their ideas and pitch.

Available to all during Qitcom are a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions at the Innovation Theatre on subjects chosen to help entrepreneurs turn their startups into scalable businesses.

Separate to ‘Pitch-Win-Succeed’, the Innovation Theatre will also feature ‘Make the Deal’ startup-investor matchmaking that connects high-impact technology startups with local, regional, and international investors.

‘Make the Deal’ is a special track within Qitcom 2017 that provides 18 startups with an amazing opportunity to meet with investors, network, and grow their business. To qualify, the startups must offer a real solution in the digital and intelligence space such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, smart home technology, augmented and virtual reality, cyber security, big data, and smart analytics.

In the ‘Startups Hub’, 20 local, five regional, and 10 international leading startups are showcasing their businesses to fellow entrepreneurs, investors, and visitors in a dedicated exhibition space. The businesses have been selected based on a number of criteria including innovation, technology, and their business model.

In addition to the Digital Incubation Centre’s activities, MoTC’s Digital Industry Department is managing a ‘Digital Masrah’ and ‘BizTech Zone’. ‘Digital Masrah’ is an open stage featuring a combination of knowledge sharing sessions and specific workshops from technology innovators focused on the digital transformation of SMEs. The ‘BizTech Zone’ brings business and technology together, enabling local businesses to gain insights on how to adopt new technologies.

Last updated: February 25 2017 08:12 PM

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