Tuesday, February 7, 2023

How Qatar is Building World-Class Startup Ecosystem?

From its nascent stages of startups developing an ecosystem in a  gradual and phased manner to accelerated growth in the same, the post-petrochemical economy of Qatar is currently witnessing the rise and expansion of its multifaceted startup ecosystem.

In 2019, The Global Entrepreneurship and Development Institute published its Global Entrepreneurship Index, where Qatar earned its space amongst the top 25 countries. This has been the result of its diversified focus on science and innovation technology as well as sports, fashion, design, films, and related fields. 

Qatar’s Science and Technology Park and the Role of Qatar Foundation

Qatar Foundation is a non-profit organization leading innovators and educators with its research-intensive education and community development initiative. So when it comes to marking the important players in the field of this advancement, the role of QF goes without saying.

QSTP, Doha
QSTP, Doha, Qatar

The QSTP is a “free zone,” creating a synergy with international companies and local startups mostly in the field of technology to help with investments and other facilities. This is the startup ecosystem with links to universities and businesses in an intimate environment which was built in a phased manner but has become a hub of talented entrepreneurs and researchers today. Covid 19 has highlighted the immense need for technology in connecting people for work and other purposes. Tech startups in the QSTP ecosystem have also received a boost following the pandemic. 

Qatar Development Bank And The Launch of Scale 7

The success of Qatar’s SportsTech and FinTech has paved the way for Scale 7. In March 2021, Qatar Development Bank announced the first business incubator for small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs in the emerging industries of fashion, films amongst others. With its ten-week training program,  Scale 7 aims to equip entrepreneurs with the necessary skills, expertise, and tools to compete in the local and global markets. In addition, it aims at guiding entrepreneurs into bringing their ideas to a state of proper execution. It further aims at creating a loop of connection between emerging entrepreneurs and potential investors. 

We don’t look to match Silicon Valley. But in our own way, on our own scale, we can achieve something similar.

Hyfa Al-Abdulla, Innovation Director, Qatar’s Science and Technology Park

The Management and Focus of Startup Ecosystem

The 2019 Harvard Business Review report on Qatar’s startup ecosystem suggests that Qatar is on its way to develop its version of Silicon Valley. However, Hyfa Al-Abdulla, Innovation Director at QSTP, stated, ” We don’t look to match Silicon Valley. But in our own way, on our own scale, we can achieve something similar.” This statement is at the heart of Qatar’s success which lies in its focus on innovation, building a quality workforce, and establishing a network of entrepreneurs equipped to take on the global market.

What Comes Next for Qatar Startups?

FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 | Image source: Shuttorstock

The upcoming FIFA 2022 world cup presents an opportunity for the sports startups and techs in the country to develop further and, in the process, benefit the game and its audience. The startup ecosystem of Qatar has become well connected and established in recent years. This is in tandem with more clarity, skill, talent, and expertise on the part of entrepreneurs and more opportunities and investments from the side of government and non-government bodies. Startup Ecosystems in Qatar look forward to embarking on greater success with potential opportunities.

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