Posted on June 24, 2019

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI), has awarded its Product Development Fund (PDF) to a local startup, Tech Hub, to support their project ‘DietHub’. PDF assists and encourages small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups to develop innovative products or services, in their areas of expertise, that are relevant to the needs of the local market.

The funding agreement was signed by Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, Executive Director, QSTP, and Ali Abdulla Al-Yafei, Founder and CEO, Tech Hub, at a ceremony in QSTP yesterday.

PDF’s lastest project beneficiary, DietHub, is an online platform that connects people keen on living a healthy lifestyle, and losing or gaining weight, with nutrition experts and health coaches. Clients subscribe to platform-based coaching packages through which the coaches provide a food and exercise plan, water consumption rates, and lifestyle programs that are tailored to specific needs. DietHub opens a one-to-one channel between the client and the coach to allow daily communication and follow-up which enhances the user experience and the success rate of the diet journey.

“Providing support to our entrepreneurs is essential to encourage their innovative efforts aimed at addressing local and global market needs. We are delighted to be empowering Tech Hub to develop their product, promoting healthy lifestyles, for commercial impact in the vital healthcare sector,”  said Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation at QF.

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Commenting on the award of the grant to Tech Hub, Mr. Saleh said: “The QSTP Product Development Fund program is nurturing a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators, who are contributing to advancing our ultimate goal of promoting new high-tech products and services, and supporting the commercialization of market-ready technologies. “Since its inception, the program has consistently attracted local SMEs that are driven to address challenges specific to Qatar’s unique market needs. We are very proud of the achievements and results so far, particularly since a number of our graduates have gone on to expand their businesses, both in Qatar and further afield. We look forward to helping PDF’s newest innovator, Tech Hub, reach the same success.”

Since its launch in 2016, QSTP’s PDF has awarded subsidy grants to 17 SMEs, eight of which have successfully graduated from the program with innovative products that range from a smart edutainment app, ‘Haya’, by Al-Doha Link LLC, to an autonomous delivery vehicle, ‘Droid’, by Airlift QSTP LLC; and an ‘Automated Customer Profiling Platform’, by iHorizons WLL. A key element of QSTP’s mission to create a dynamic tech innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Qatar, and as a vital contributor to Qatar’s drive towards economic diversification, PDF is increasing the engagement of private sector SMEs and startups in product development and optimizing the overall effect on the national economy. The program targets startups working in the priority industries of energy, environment, healthcare, and ICT.

Ali Abdulla Al-Yafei, Founder and CEO of Tech Hub, said: “We are very excited to begin this working relationship with QSTP and to receive the support of their professional team of mentors. For our team, the QSTP PDF will be invaluable to accelerating the intensive development of our product to be ready for the market. We see the initiative as a prime example of how QSTP is encouraging a generation of tech entrepreneurs in Qatar.” To be eligible for the PDF, at least 20 percent of the private sector SME should be owned by a Qatari individual, and the SME should have up to 249 employees. Qatar-based SMEs that are successful in securing PDF support may be awarded funds of up to 50 percent of the cost of the product or service proposal. Currently, five new projects are under evaluation by QSTP’s team of industry managers, and QF’s research, development, and innovation experts.