In today’s world of fast-tracked technological development, institutions around the world are creating initiatives aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and bolstering innovation.
XLR8, the flagship accelerator programme of Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), which since its inception four years ago, has contributed to the growing innovation ecosystem in Qatar and propelled the growth of aspiring ‘techpreneurs’ around the world.
Out of the start ups that emerged from XLR8 so far, a number of companies have achieved success both in Qatar and in foreign markets. These include WakeCap, a company that develops wearable technologies to improve the safety of construction workers and increase productivity on sites; and Stellic, a fully-integrated portal that brings together academic planning, data analytics, and career navigation. Both companies have successfully expanded beyond Qatar, making their mark in international markets such as China, the US and Mexico.
Through the intensive ten-week training and mentorship programme, QSTP – a member of Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI) – provides participants with the opportunity to interact with like-minded people to explore innovative solutions to an array of challenges, and equips them with the tools necessary to succeed.
It features three modules that take participants on a stimulating journey to transform their ideas into products with the potential to make a commercial impact. The first module helps participants identify target markets, design an early prototype, and solicit customer feedback, while the second enables entrepreneurs to assess whether the market is large enough to sustain a startup. Finally, the third module trains them on how to attract early stage investors and additional investment to grow their startups.
According to QSTP Executive Director Yosouf Abdulrahman Saleh, XLR8 is contributing a great deal to fostering the local start up ecosystem and private sector investments in emerging technologies, a factor which strengthens Qatar’s position as a regional tech hub.
The programme’s success is evident through the increasing number of participants and successful start ups graduating from each cycle.’
The 8th Cycle of the programme earlier this year attracted a record number of participants and featured, for the first time, the three finalists of Season 11 of Stars of Science, the edutainment TV initiative of Qatar Foundation, and one of the leading innovation show in the Arab world.
Over the last eight seasons, XLR8 has attracted over 120 teams and more than 300 aspiring entrepreneurs, resulting in 20 startups. Additionally, 11 of these startups are incubated at QSTP, and six have set up shop in Qatar. Three companies have launched their operations abroad.
Entrepreneurs are welcome to apply for the 9th cycle of the programme until 31 January 2020 via the QSTP website.