See all results

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates

For the latest COVID-19 information and updates from Qatar Foundation, please visit our Statements page

Story | Research
11 August 2021

QSTP program helps turn big ideas into the next big thing

Share

Admissions to QF’s Arab Innovation Academy open to university students in the Middle East and North Africa

Anyone can come up with a new idea; the real challenge lies in turning that concept into a viable product or business. The Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) program from Qatar Science & Technology Park – part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development & Innovation – is helping young people do just that.

Do not underestimate your skills and ideas – believe in yourself, and them

Rana Al-KhouliResearch assistant at Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University.
Rana Al-KhouliResearch assistant at Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University.

The innovation program, which is open to students pursuing undergraduate or graduate studies within the Arab region, aims to equip participants with the skills and tools to be able to turn an idea into a start‐up in just 12 weeks. And with the fourth edition of the Arab Innovation Academy (AIA) program set to take place virtually from August 31 – November 23, the deadline for applications will close on August 15. For more information, or to register, students can visit: www.inacademy.eu/qatar/

Rana Al-Khouli and her team won second place for their project in 2020.

Rana Al-Khouli, a research assistant at Qatar Foundation’s Hamad Bin Khalifa University, says she stumbled upon the AIA after scouting the internet for programs that support tech startups. And was pleasantly surprised to find a program in Qatar.

Her group went on to win second place for their project, an Arabic grammatical tool, based on artificial intelligence, to help people with their Arabic writing called “Hamza” in 2020. She said: “I had a fruitful and inspiring experience, through which I was able to get to know students from different universities in the Arab world. I also benefited greatly from the experts on the course, and this drove my creativity.”

I believe that the Arab Innovation Academy is a successful program as it meets the aspirations of young people and entrepreneurs, and it increases their confidence through the support and guidance provided by specialists in different fields

Sheikha Al-Marri

During the course, Al-Khouli said she learned about basic business concepts, as well as specific areas such as marketing, software, and design – all of which are taught by international experts. “The program helped us develop our skills at all levels, starting from the way we look at the world and people, to consumers or producers of the idea that we developed.”

Al-Khouli’s advice to university students is: “Do not underestimate your skills and ideas – believe in yourself, and them. Take your first steps towards achieving your dreams, and be the first to find solutions to the challenges we are facing in our societies today.”

Sheikha Al-Marri took part in 2019, and her idea – recycling household waste – earned her and her team first place. “Through the program, I looked to learn as well as gain new experiences. I also wanted to meet people from different countries and exchange knowledge with them.

I encourage young people to sign up for the new edition of the program, as the experience helped me to be more open and receptive to the opinions and ideas of others

Sheikha Al-Marri

"I believe that the Arab Innovation Academy is a successful program as it meets the aspirations of young people and entrepreneurs, and it increases their confidence through the support and guidance provided by specialists in different fields,” Al-Marri continued.

“I encourage young people to sign up for the new edition of the program, as the experience helped me to be more open and receptive to the opinions and ideas of others. I developed a range of professional as well as personal skills. It was truly an invaluable experience.”

Although implementing new ideas is not easy, it is not be impossible

Maryam Al Nuaimi Entrepreneur, and winner of the 2018 edition of the program
Maryam Al Nuaimi Entrepreneur, and winner of the 2018 edition of the program

Maryam Al Nuaimi, an entrepreneur, was the 2018 winner. “The program provides an interactive learning environment that enables people from different countries to share best practices and create a great network. It also inspires participants, and encourages them to work on their projects, and provide innovative and distinctive ideas.

Image 1 of 4

Arab Innovation Academy held in January 2020.

“Although implementing new ideas is not easy, it is not be impossible. And the program demonstrated this – through constructive discussions, highlighting talents and capabilities, and working within a collaborative and creative team,” Al Nuaimi said.

Related Stories