Ooredoo CEO Sheikh Saud bin Nasser Al Thani said: “Ooredoo is making every effort to ensure that Qatar achieves its vision of being a truly smart society, driven by innovation and the ambitions of our younger generation. We believe that the ‘Digital and Beyond’ incubator within QBIC could play a central role for Qatar, creating our own Silicon Valley of startups and developers, and enabling young Qataris to propel their ideas for new businesses to a global audience.
He pointed out that Ooredoo is currently constructing the infrastructure that will make the next generation of digital companies possible, including the development of its own communications network.
Committee and seed funding
Ooredoo will form a committee to evaluate and select `disruptive ideas’ in the digital space and provide seed funding for the aspiring entrepreneurs. The first wave of ideas to be assessed will include innovative digital ideas focusing on customer experience, healthcare, education, sport, smart living and other areas.
In addition, Ooredoo will manage a 251 sq. metre space within QBIC that will provide a modern working space for these startup entrepreneurs. Following the signing of the agreement, Ooredoo and QBIC formally launched the first open competition for young entrepreneurs.
Young people with a creative idea for a new digital product or service can submit their concepts via a special page on the QBIC website or through a link to that page on the Ooredoo website. Selected ideas will receive the support of mentors and business experts and also access to testing and trial infrastructure, before the winning entries move on to full incubation at the `Digital and Beyond’ zone.
Qatar Development Bank (QDB) CEO and QBIC chairman Abdulaziz bin Nasser Al Khalifa said: “QBIC and QDB are committed to developing the SME sector in Qatar and by supporting technology-focused businesses, we will play a major role in offering employment, enrichment and development opportunities for young people.”
He added: “With the support of Ooredoo, we will be able to offer the kind of environment that enables startups to grow and flourish and transform digital ideas into international business opportunities.”
The incubator will include three zones designed specifically for startups: a community zone for relaxation and regeneration; a collaboration zone to encourage communication and teamwork; and private zones for meetings and innovative thinking.
The partnership will include coaching, mentorship and a wide range of support services. QBIC will also provide connections to its key partners and affiliates, such as QDB and the Social Development Center, for financing support.