Innovative entrepreneurs from Qatar and nine Arab countries have participated in the recently-concluded ‘E-commerce Hackathon’, a first in Qatar organised by Innovation Café.
The staging of the four-day hybrid hackathon was aimed at encouraging innovation and crowdsourcing solutions to address, nurture, and launch the latest innovation opportunities in the e-commerce industry.
Sponsored by Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Vodafone, Microsoft, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), and Snoonu, the hackathon gathered innovators, entrepreneurs, and creative minds from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt, and Turkey.
The participants demonstrated their ideas across eight e-commerce themes: ‘Artificial Intelligence Solutions for E-commerce’, ‘Unique Mobile E-commerce Solutions’, ‘E-commerce Payment Solutions’, ‘Marketing Automation’, ‘Customer Experience’, ‘AR/VR for Product Virtualisation’, ‘Fulfilment Automation & Robotics’, and ‘Last Mile Delivery Technology & Robotics’.
Innovation Cafe founder Ramzan al-Naimi said, “It was just an idea, but with passion and partners who believed in making ideas happen, we did do a lot. We were honoured to host the first-ever e-commerce hackathon in the State of Qatar. We received more than 300 applications and after the assessment and ideas evaluation, we shortlisted over 100 applicants from all backgrounds from 10 countries to participate both virtually and in person at Qatar Science & Technology Park.
“Our biggest aim of organising this hackathon was to come up with cutting-edge solutions in the e-commerce sector that could become the next billion-dollar Qatari based unicorns. We are grateful to our sponsors, judges, mentors, partners, and, of course, the participants.”
The participating teams were evaluated on the basis of market feasibility, contribution to the Qatar National Vision 2030, team skills, innovation, and alignment with the theme. The panel of judges included MBK Holding chairman Sheikh Mansoor bin Khalifa al-Thani, Snoonu co-founder and CEO/CTO Hamad al-Hajri, QDB Angel Investment head Mohamed al-Emadi, QSTP accelerator manager Mohamed Zebian, and Muyasser Taqi-Deen.
The top three winning teams were announced on the last day of the hackathon. The winners bagged the opportunity to access up to QR75,000 in support and investment, integration into Snoonu Incubation Programme (SIP), access to investors and partners to pitch their business idea, and access to local and international mentors belonging to the industry's leading corporations.
The winners were also rewarded with preferred access to apply into a recently-launched initiative by Microsoft programme and upon securing approval, they could unlock up to $350,000 in value across Microsoft’s cloud stack, technical guidance, 1:1 mentorship, and self-led learning.
The best pitch award, presented by Injaz Qatar, was announced where each winning team member won an iPad. Two special winner awards were also presented by Innovation Catalysts Institute.
To address today’s real-world challenges in the e-commerce industry, Innovation Café, a Doha-based innovation and design thinking studio, joined forces with strategic partners, including Qatar Financial Centre, MBK Holding, KiwiTech, QMIC, Innovation Catalyst Institute, Beyond Capital, Dohastartups.com, Bedaya, Doha TechAngels, Fatora, Injaz Qatar, MZAD Qatar, Phaze Venturez, Phaze Ro, Rimads, SkipCash, StartupGrind, QatarLiving.com, 360 Nautica, Draper Startup House, Oasis, Qatar Scientific Club, and Tasmu Smart Qatar.