(MENAFN - Gulf Times) *Initiative to support young tech entrepreneurs
Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP) kicked off the first edition of its Arab Innovation Academy (AIA), which aims to provide future entrepreneurs with an opportunity to work under the guidance of leading Silicon Valley mentors and establish a startup in just 10 days, in Doha on Sunday.
Almost 150 young entrepreneurs and innovators from across Qatar and the region are taking part in the AIA, which is being held at the Education City Student Centre until January 11, 2018.
The AIA is a collaboration between QSTP and the European Innovation Academy (EIA), a non-profit educational institution recognised for excellence in tech entrepreneurship.
Dr Hamad al-Ibrahim, executive vice-president of QF R & D, said: 'The Arab Innovation Academy is a hugely important pan-Arab initiative aimed at supporting young tech entrepreneurs currently striving to get a foothold in the startup arena. The outcomes of this pioneering programme will actively contribute to the diversification of the regional economy and the sustainable success of the entrepreneurship ecosystem in the area.
The opening of the AIA was attended by QSTP executive director Dr Maher Hakim and EIA president Alar Kolk.
'We are delighted to welcome such a diverse cohort of young entrepreneurs to this inaugural AIA programme, representing the pan-Arab tech landscape. This dynamic innovation training has been specifically designed to foster an entrepreneurial mindset among the region's youth and provide a solid foundation for them to successfully launch a startup, Dr Hakim said.
The two-week innovation programme received applications from 68 students from top universities in Qatar, along with 142 students from regional universities in countries such as Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon, Oman, Morocco, Tunisia, Turkey and Kuwait.
Dr Maher Hakim speaks at the opening of the Arab Innovation Academy
As part of the AIA initiative, participants will be introduced to an accelerated mode of experiential learning, including how to develop and launch new tech ventures in a real marketplace with genuine customer feedback.
'The people at QSTP have been an essential part of our programmes in Europe. They have provided input in order to develop a carefully tailored methodology. The first edition of the AIA programme is just the beginning of our common goal to nurture local tech ecosystems and contribute to the sustainability and diversification of Qatar's economy. By serving as an advocate of the AIA programme across the region, QSTP is a future-orientated champion, Kolk noted.
Throughout the two-week programme, participants will leverage an extensive global network comprising top experts in the field of tech entrepreneurship, who will introduce them to cutting-edge research methods developed by leading universities and companies, including University of California Berkeley, Stanford University, Google and Amadeus IT Group.
The academy will also host international mentors, speakers and investors, including those from Silicon Valley.
The first day of the AIA gathering included a ‘Fireside Chat' where EIA alumni, including Shayanne Wright, Deeksha Singh and Bilal Attar, spoke about their startup journeys.
For more information on the Arab Innovation Academy, one can visit aia.inacademy.eu