Posted on March 26, 2017

Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) recently launched a Product Development Fund (PDF) as part of its mission to accelerate technology development and innovation within the private sector in Qatar.

The PDF is a subsidy-grant, through which QSTP supports small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that are investing their own money into product development by matching their investment dollar-for-dollar. The scheme will contribute to the diversification of Qatar’s economy by funding SMEs and startups that aim to develop new, tech-rich products, or accelerate the development of existing products or services.

Outlining the purpose of the new funding vehicle, Dr. Maher Hakim, Managing Director, QSTP, said: “Our PDF will focus on the development of concrete and marketable tech-rich products and will offer financial support to Qatar-based companies that are engaged in the development of tech products, serving to advance the local innovation ecosystem.” “We aim to attract local SMEs that are driven by a passion to address challenges specific to Qatar’s market needs,” Dr. Maher added. Local SMEs that are at least 20 percent Qatari-owned and have less than 250 employees are eligible to apply for the PDF. Applications will be assessed by a committee of industry experts and QSTP senior officials, on an iterative basis, to ensure they have a particular focus on business viability and are fully committed to advancing the technology landscape in Qatar.

The first two PDF agreements were signed recently with Qatari companies STA and Informatica Qatar (IQ), during a special ceremony at QSTP. Established in the QSTP Incubator, STA specializes in providing trusted data analytics and fusion facilities, and provides fully-managed, on-site hardware and software services and dedicated professional staff to securely analyze large volumes of information. The STA project supported by the PDF aims to develop a cyber-intelligence and incident co-ordination center that is relevant to the MENA region.

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Dr. Khalid Al-Ali, Co-Founder and CEO of STA, said: “The QSTP PDF program enables innovative SMEs such as STA to accelerate the development and market introduction of cutting-edge products, while simultaneously reducing internal research and development costs.” “Used tactically, the PDF will play a vital role in enhancing the entrepreneurship and innovation climate in Qatar and the success rates of technology SMEs.” IQ is a Qatari SME that began operating in the technology sector in 2008, and is now planning to produce a new software tool that will help airports to achieve their targets. The real-time web dashboard visualizes airport sensory information and data, and is one example of an innovative product that will be developed in Qatar and adopted around the world.

Wisam Costandi, General Manager of IQ, said: “We are delighted to commence this business relationship with QSTP, which is a perfect example of how the PDF will support the local business community. The program will allow us to develop and consequently take our product to market more rapidly than if we simply did everything without any support. It’s a great incentive for any innovator.” Qatar-based SMEs that are successful in securing PDF support will have access to subsidy funding of up to QAR1.8m, which can be used to develop new products, services, and processes, or enhance existing products that focus on one of QSTP’s priority sectors: energy, environment, health sciences, and information and communication technologies.

A member of Qatar Foundation Research & Development (QF R&D), QSTP’s support programs provide entrepreneurs, SMEs, and startups with access to incubation, funding, training, and mentorship, with the aim of fostering an environment that promotes the commercialization of technology innovation in Qatar and beyond.

For more information on the Product Development Fund, please visit www.qstp.org.qa

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