The National FinTech Strategy, set by the Qatar Central Bank (QCB), provides a framework for initiatives that enable the local startup sector and create a favourable ecosystem for international fintechs to choose Qatar as their launch pad to the global market.
As Qatar marches steadily on its route to achieving its 2030 vision, the nation has recognised the fintech industry as a key component of its knowledge-based economy objective, according to a statement.
As an established financial and sports hub in the region, with access to nearby markets that are worth $2.1tn, Qatar is opening its doors to startups with innovative solutions in financial technologies, such as e-payments, bitcoins and crypto currencies, and processes automation, among others.
With that aim, the QCB has partnered with Qatar Development Bank (QDB) and the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) to rollout Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH) to stimulate the sector and rise to meet the evolving needs of the country. QFTH is dedicated to offer Qatar’s first ever specialised incubator and accelerator programmes, which target entrepreneurs with innovative and cutting-edge Fintech ideas.
The first wave of these two niche programmes have kicked off recently with over 20 fintechs from around the world enrolled for a rigorous 12-week schedule of orientation, workshops, mentoring, logistical support, networking, speaker sessions, and opportunities for business development.
With the first call for applications, the programmes witnessed a massive turnout, receiving more than 750 applications by early stage and mature fintechs from Qatar and 72 other countries, including the US, the UK, Australia, India, Singapore, Turkey, Nigeria, Germany, Russia, Indonesia, Jordan, and Kuwait, and other regional and international countries, indicating how the country is increasingly regarded as a destination for the international business community.
QDB CEO Abdulaziz bin Nasser al-Khalifa, who is also chairman of Qatar FinTech Hub, said: “QFTH is part of our plan to deliver on the Qatar National Vision 2030. Supporting the local market and enabling the development of our economy requires home-grown state-of-the-art financial technologies that cater to the needs of the tech-savvy Qatari consumer.
“The hub also strives to find solutions that could scale-up the local, regional, and global industry, acting as a launch pad for fintechs from Qatar to the world. The large number of quality applications we have received is a strong testament of the trust that QFTH has quickly gained with the Fintech community worldwide.”
As part of its commitment to offering world-class expertise to participating fintechs, QFTH has collaborated with local and international institutions, including financial institutions, technology and service providers, payment networks, academic institutions, regulators, in addition to partnering with other fintech hubs from Singapore, the UK, Turkey, India, Lebanon, Malaysia, Lithuania, Australia, Nigeria, and Sweden. Major partners for the QFTH Wave 1 Programmes include Amazon, Microsoft, Visa, MasterCard, and others.
Participating fintechs will have the opportunity to receive financial support, in addition to bespoke mentoring and training services provided by QFTH, its strategic partners, and mentors.
Co-founded by QDB, QFTH aims to encourage and support multinational Fintech firms to establish operations in Qatar.