* QSTP announces opening of applications for aspiring entrepreneurs in Qatar and Mena
The fourth edition of the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) is set to take place over a 12-week period during the fall semester 2021, it was announced.
In light of the health and safety restrictions in place due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, its latest edition will be held virtually from August 31 to November 23. Applications are open now until May 12.
AIA is the first and the most extensive entrepreneurship programme in the pan-Arab region and aims to provide aspiring university students and young entrepreneurs with the authentic experience of developing and launching new tech ventures under the guidance of leading global tech start-up mentors.
Additionally, the programme is now officially accredited by Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) in Qatar. This means that participants who are students of HBKU or are cross-registered HBKU are eligible to gain credit once they complete both the AIA and HBKU requirements.
Regular participants will receive a certificate of successful completion from the AIA. For students enrolled at HBKU or cross registered at HBKU should follow the HBKU course registration deadline for fall semester, while the rest of the applicants should apply to AIA 2021 before May 12.
Last year saw Salamtak , a company that developed an online system for the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension while providing both patients and healthcare professionals with a real-time interface to monitor vital data, winning the first place.
While the company ‘Hamza’, for their development of a special programme which assists with Arabic writing, automatically correcting grammatical errors, just like Grammarly in English, took the runner-up spot. Third place was secured by Go Star, who created a platform for parents to create gamified daily life tasks for their children such as cleaning their room or feeding a pet.
The AIA is a hands-on and groundbreaking accelerator programme that was brought to Qatar and the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region through a collaboration between Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI), and the European Innovation Academy (EIA).
Beginning as an exclusive 10-day start-up boot-camp, AIA took place for the first time in 2018 with the involvement of more than 100 participants from Qatar and the region. The second edition, held in 2019 had more than 160 participants, while last year’s third edition saw almost 200 young entrepreneurs from more than 10 countries in the region taking part, demonstrating the rapid growth and popularity of the programme.
Hayfa al Abdulla, Innovation director at QSTP, said: “Everyone at QSTP is very much looking forward to the fourth edition of AIA. The fantastic, innovative ideas that have been brought to us in the past three editions clearly show that extraordinarily talented entrepreneurs are in great abundance here in Qatar, as well as across the Mena region. We are eager to welcome all aspiring innovators who would like to take part in this year’s programme and are pleased to announce that applications are now open.”
Dr Richard O’Kennedy, vice-president of QF RDI and the vice-president for Research at HBKU, added: “The advanced ideas brought in by talented entrepreneurs to platforms that channel them towards developing impactful products and services, remain pivotal to Qatar’s aspirations – namely, a forward-thinking and progressive nation right at the spearhead of trailblazing ideas and new technology that will benefit both the local and international communities. To that end, AIA is a significant platform, and we at QF RDI are very much looking forward to receiving entries from tech entrepreneurs in Qatar and further afield for the fourth edition of the programme.”
QSTP believes that the virtual setting for the latest edition of the programme will not detract from the many benefits it will bring to all participants. Although the ever-popular in-person networking will be unavailable, participants will have a rich, immersive experience that will prove to be beneficial to future plans and aspirations.
Expert support and guidance will be available throughout the programme, aiding participants every step of the way.
For more details of this year’s programme and to apply, one can visit www.inacademy.eu/qatar