Posted on November 09, 2015

His Excellency Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani, chairman of AlFaisal Without Borders (ALF) Foundation, and Ilker Baybars, dean of Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, inaugurated the AlFaisal – Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center aimed at fostering an entrepreneurial environment and inspiring innovation among Qatar’s university students. The collaboration between Carnegie Mellon Qatar and AlFaisal Without Borders Foundation is a result of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote future collaborations in education, research and community development.

The main goal of the collaboration between AlFaisal Without Borders Foundation and Carnegie Mellon Qatar is to foster an environment and inspire a spirit of innovation entrepreneurship within Doha’s university students. The center was launched in the fall of 2015, concurrent with the beginning of academic year 2015-2016, and offers courses on innovation entrepreneurship that are open to all partner universities within Education City throughout the whole year.

Through the development and implementation of various mentorship programs, the AlFaisal – Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center will equip students with entrepreneurial skills while inspiring innovation. The center will support an incubation phase for graduates, which will function as crucial early-stage support for startups.

“While the importance of entrepreneurial activity to economic growth has been emphasized by economists all over the world, the innovation factor was explored in more recent times, particularly by daring and creative minds who were presented with huge opportunities via the world wide web, the internet, smartphones and tablets,” said His Excellency Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim Al Thani. “However, such innovative ideas are certainly not limited to just this platform but can very well be applied on a wide range of industries.

“Accordingly, we have collaborated with CMU-Q in creating the Center for Innovation Entrepreneurship in order to stir, facilitate and provide further opportunities for young intellectual minds in Qatar to explore thoughts and concepts that may just turn out to be the next big global idea,” Sheikh Faisal added. “Not only will this contribute in a big way to the realization of Qatar’s knowledge-based economy but may also catapult brilliant minds from this country into the global economics of Innovation Entrepreneurship.”

AlFaisal-Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center is one of Sheikh Faisal’s investments in the development of Qatari society, specifically in the human and social aspects. The partnership with Carnegie Mellon Qatar builds upon the vision that society will thrive through the development of human capital. “Through the AlFaisal-Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center, we will provide students with the opportunities, support, mentorship and resources that they need to realize their ambitions,” said Baybars.

He added, “Through our longstanding partnership with AlFaisal Without Borders Foundation, we hope to instill the entrepreneurial spirit in future innovators and business owners. Carnegie Mellon Qatar is uniquely positioned to bring this initiative to life for all university students in Qatar.”

Under the agreement between ALF Foundation and Carnegie Mellon Qatar, the center will develop and launch initiatives across three different dimensions: education, programs and incubation. Within the education dimension, the center will coordinate with other universities to develop, offer and promote courses on lean startup launchpad, design thinking, product management, venture capital financing and startup organizational behavior. These courses will be open to students in all fields.

The programs dimension will develop and implement programs and activities that will expose students and faculty members to the various facets of innovation and entrepreneurship. Sample programs include Innovator Lecture Series, Innovation Field Trip and Summer Accelerator Bootcamp. Lastly, the incubation dimension will focus on providing graduating students with an opportunity to spend up to one more year on campus developing, launching and marketing their innovations, while providing them with funding, mentorship and services needed to support the process.

The AlFaisal-Carnegie Mellon Innovation Entrepreneurship Center will leverage Carnegie Mellon Qatar’s global centers and resources—including the Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship and the Silicon Valley global campus—in order to showcase innovative start-ups in Qatar on the world stage.

For more information about ALF Foundation and Carnegie Mellon Qatar and their collaborations, please visit: www.alfaisalfoundation.org and www.qatar.cmu.edu

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