Posted on September 29, 2017

Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar’s primary incubator for technology innovation and tech-based entrepreneurship, recently launched Cycle 5 of its intensive accelerator program, XLR8. The three-month XLR8 program provides aspiring entrepreneurs with training, guidance, and mentorship, helping them bridge gaps between ideation and commercialization, and transform their ideas into products that address market demands.

A total of 20 teams were selected for Cycle 5, representing a broad range of tech applications and innovations. One team, Royability, is creating a speech-generation app to help autistic children speak, while Muhami is establishing an online service for legal advice. Other innovations include drone delivery systems, a web platform for hiring and managing remote workers, and an automated cybersecurity solution. Three teams have emerged as part of Challenge 22, a competition run by the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy for innovative ideas relating to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Their ideas include a wearable dehydration detection system for workers, a central smart queuing system, and smart football shirts that can predict cardiac events such as heart attacks or angina.

Dr. Maher Hakim, Executive Director of QSTP, said: “Through programs such as XLR8, QSTP aims to foster a dynamic and sustainable technology startup ecosystem in Qatar and the wider region. We are delighted to welcome aspiring young entrepreneurs who will contribute to Qatar’s journey towards a sustainable, diversified economy in line with the broader vision of Qatar Foundation’s research and development strategy.” Cycle 5 of XLR8 focuses on three core themes: problem-solution fit; customer validation and market validation; and investment, go-to market strategy, and pitching. Participating entrepreneurs will learn how to identify potential customers, design a rough prototype, and solicit feedback from potential clients to revise the prototype accordingly. After verifying that their idea is commercially viable, participants will learn how to pitch their idea to potential investors.

A network of mentors and coaches, who specialize in the commercialization of tech-based innovations, will guide entrepreneurs, enabling them to create commercially viable products and services that transform their ideas into reality. This cycle’s mentors come from some of Qatar’s leading public and private institutions, including ADGS Computer Systems, iHorizons, and Sidra Medical and Research Center. Since the program’s inception in 2015, 50 teams and 124 individuals have graduated from XLR8. Emad Al-Khaja, CEO of INJAZ Qatar and a Cycle 4 graduate, said: “I went to XLR8 with an idea and they helped me develop it, and learn more about the business aspect, which was very useful because I was focused on the R&D aspect at the same time.”

Through the initiative, QSTP, a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, endeavours to foster an innovation ecosystem in Qatar and the region.