Posted on March 02, 2015

Over 70 Qatar University (QU) students, faculty and researchers attended the seminar on March 1 entitled ‘Follow your passion, Lead the future – The story of OpenROV’, an innovative underwater robot for exploration and education. The event was a joint effort of the Center for Entrepreneurship (CFE) at QU’s College of Business and Economics (CBE) and Research Office, and the US Embassy in Doha. It aimed to engage participants on how innovative ideas can be transformed into a business.

The seminar was conducted by OpenRov CEO and founder Mr Eric Stackpole. A mechanical engineer and NASA-trained, robotics entrepreneur, he channeled his interest in science and space technology into a number of innovative projects. He built his first telepresence robot as an undergraduate at Santa Clara University and founded its CubeSat group, and later went on to build nanosatellites at NASA. Mr Stackpole’s presentation included a demonstration of the workings of the OpenROV, and a discussion on his experience as an innovator and entrepreneur in which he also explained the process of developing an idea into an enterprise.

Also on the agenda was a presentation by CBE Dean Dr Nitham Hindi who shed light on the college’s efforts to develop entrepreneurial education, culture and research. This includes the introduction of a minor in Entrepreneurship for undergraduates, and an MBA concentration in Entrepreneurship for graduate students. “In establishing the Center for Entrepreneurship in Fall 2013, we aim to support diverse entrepreneurial activities within QU and collaborate with peer institutions in Qatar and beyond to stimulate entrepreneurial research”.

Innovation and entrepreneurship 2 [].jpgCFE director Dr Mahmoud Abdellatif outlined the Center’s mission to support entrepreneurship at QU and the wider community and its ongoing work to link academic life with business reality through training, incubation, research and consultation. He said: “The Center is well placed to promote the culture of entrepreneurship and innovation institution-wide and within the community. In collaborating with companies and experts in the field of business, we are providing our students as well as those in other colleges at QU with invaluable opportunities to learn how to shape their ideas into viable businesses”. Dr Abdellatif also highlighted current CFE programs on entrepreneurship such as the ERADA training series and the “From Innovation to Commercialization" training program.

QU Vice President for Research Dr Hassan Al-Derham said: “We are pleased to be involved in this forum which highlights the level of determination and commitment that is needed to pursue one’s innovation and see it flourish into a product that has an impact on society and how we live. The Research Office continues to support students and faculty through a wide range of research projects and it is indeed exciting to see ideas, however small, transformed into something meaningful”.