A new innovation academy has been established in Qatar as an educational initiative to help build innovation and entrepreneurship capacity in the Arab world. Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development, and the European Innovation Academy (EIA) have signed an agreement to establish a long-term collaboration to develop the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA).
The AIA, intended to be an annual program organized by QSTP and the EIA in collaboration with other partners, will open its doors to students in selected universities around the Arab world to raise awareness around tech entrepreneurship and spur new business ventures, as well as foster an innovation ecosystem in Qatar and the region.
Dr. Maher Hakim, managing director of QSTP, said, “We are excited to join forces with the EIA to bring their coveted innovation capacity building program and network to the Arab World for the first time. The initiative aims to import international best practices to boost an innovation mind-set locally and regionally, in addition to attracting, retaining, and assisting budding Arab tech entrepreneurs.”
“We strive to level the playing field to empower the region to compete with other global innovation hubs, such as Silicon Valley. The Arab Innovation Academy will work on mentoring as many young talents as possible through a multidisciplinary approach that will determine the best means of launching new tech-based products and services relevant to our markets.”
Commenting on the agreement, Alar Kolk, President of EIA, said: “Students from Qatar Foundation partner universities have participated in our European programs in the past, so we are fully aware of the passion and skills of students in Qatar. We are excited about the AIA’s potential to scale this effort within Qatar and the Arab world, and we could not have asked for a better partner than QSTP.”
The AIA is a two-week boot-camp for aspiring college students in pan-Arab countries, presenting them with real-life experience in how to develop and launch new tech-based ventures. Students from top universities in Qatar and across the region will take part in the program, which enables participants to leverage a network of global experienced mentors to advance their startup ideas.
Within the framework of the agreement, EIA will tap into its extensive global network of mentors, speakers and investors, including those from Silicon Valley, assist in marketing and student recruitment efforts, and facilitate the logistics with which to conduct the program in Qatar. In addition, EIA will develop study materials and tools, including playbooks, a mentor handbook, an online platform, and a mobile application.