QATAR 2019: A New Wave of Innovation hub in the Gulf

In a recent study by Gallup says Qatar has the highest jobs-to-population rate where rest of the world still experience the recession. The demand for the newer technologies & possibilities has grown enormously in the recent days. This has pushed many young minds to innovate their ideas that address the gaps.

Start-ups are the centers of innovation and are a great way to enhance employment creation in the economy. Many start-ups involve dealing with new technology which generally lies at the highest end of value addition chain. With ‘Make in Qatar’ initiative, Qatar can aspire to be the world leader in skilled work and not just a natural gas producer.  This initiative is expected to help develop the local start-up ecosystem and drive the country towards self-sufficiency across a wide range of industries, said Dr. Tejinder Singh, founder and chairman @ 360-Nautica in an exclusive interview with Gulf Times.

‘Make in Qatar’ is composed of two components: the first is more than $5mn USD seed fund, while the second is a management company that would address the needs of qualified start-ups. The seed fund would be funded by major players in the Qatari community, while a management company, ‘Innovators’, would screen, select, and develop the shortlisted start-ups, Singh explained.

He also pointed out that the ‘Innovators’ would be run by a management board composed of private and public sector players from the expatriates and Qatari communities.

“The function of the board is to screen, select, mentor, and to coach these start-ups, and elevate them to the commercial level where they could market and distribute their products and services. We are now in the phase where we have identified the start-ups, which were selected from the healthcare, technology, and financial sectors, Singh told Gulf Times.

According to Singh, the fund is not exclusive to local start-ups but could also be accessed by other existing small companies that need funding to further develop their businesses. Similarly, the fund is also open to start-ups from other countries like India, which 360 Nautica is also looking it as a market.

'The idea is that we have to build Qatar. The country is in a state where it has to go into self-sufficiency… so as a private sector, we intend to come in under 360 Nautica, which has a complete digital ecosystem in Qatar, and could help build at least 50 start-ups in Qatar in the next 10 years,' Singh emphasized. He added, “Innovators’ would become the breeding ground, the source, and the fuel. While the technologies and the companies here are being groomed, they could be brought into this system and get the support it needs… so your push into the market is fast.”

By early 2019, Singh said the initiative is expected to launch 3 -to- 5 good start-ups in the fields of healthcare, technology, and finance. Until 2022, you might see about 15 to 20 of such companies, he said, adding that interested start-ups can access the initiative through [email protected].

We hope that the ideals of Qatar and the new wave in the start-ups' ecosystem will help the region emerge as a new hotbed of innovation. What do you think?

Source: gulf-times


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