September 26, 2016

QF Helps Supercharge Regional Innovation

Qatar Foundation (QF) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with ‘500 Startups’, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator, to stimulate and advance innovation in the MENA region.
Through the partnership, the two organisations will provide seed funding, training and mentorship to startups across the MENA region over the next five years. The initiative aims to help startups achieve market traction and scale, using customer acquisition and scaling strategies mastered by high-growth tech companies in Silicon Valley, such as Facebook, Salesforce and others.

QF will become an anchor investor in the ‘500 Startups’ MENA region microfund. It will also organise the annual world-class 500 Distro Dojo growth marketing accelerator programme, and make its incubation centre at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP); part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), available to all startups.

Additionally, QF will help startupsgain access to the cutting-edge research and technology development currently underway within its research institutes and labs, and enable them to benefit from the skills and capabilities of graduates from universities in Education City.

Dr Hamad Al Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D, and Chairman of the Board of Directors of QSTP, said: “Qatar Foundation’s research and development efforts demonstrate its commitment to building the nation’s innovation and technology capacity. Supporting entrepreneurs in developing products that address national priorities, have regional relevance, and provide global benefit is a key aspect of this commitment.”

“This partnership reflects our recognition of the importance of startups to a dynamic, successful and sustainable knowledge-based economy, and illustrates – nationally and internationally - the emphasis that Qatar Foundation places on enabling and nurturing an entrepreneurial culture” said Dr Al Ibrahim.

‘500 Startups’ will also make its extensive network of investors, mentors, experts and startup founders available to the regional entrepreneurs selected. By providing funding, expertise and reach, the regional microfund will create a vehicle forentrepreneurs to develop and accelerate their innovations and take their young companies to the next level, with the aim of establishing them as key players in the regional and global market.

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