A group of gifted young entrepreneurs from around the world joined Qatari experts at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of Qatar Foundation Research & Development, to fine tune their business models and learn the art of the perfect pitch.
The mentoring workshop supported Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development and QSTP’s efforts to equip young people with the knowledge they need to make a difference in their community and succeed in the marketplace.
QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation’s scientific research pillar QF R&D, is Qatar’s primary incubator for technology development, fostering the environment required for accelerating commercialisation of research and supporting innovation and entrepreneurship.
QSTP worked with the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) – the United Nations specialised agency for information and communication technologies – to offer the 12-strong delegation of young entrepreneurs leading insight into technology-based innovation and commercialisation.
In the run up to this week’s ITU Telecom World 2014 conference in Doha, QSTP hosted the special session to support participants in ITU’s Young Innovators Programme, which works with young people from all over the world to transform their communities and society through technology.
Haya Al Ghanim, QSTP’s Director of Innovation, and Khalid Naji, QSTP’s Acting Director of Strategic Research, were among the session’s expert mentors. The group consisted of young innovators from Qatar, Tunisia, Iran, India, Kenya, Vietnam, Nigeria, Colombia, Uganda and the Philippines.
Using the Business Model Canvas – a globally-recognised tool and template for start-ups – QSTP’s Qatari mentors helped entrepreneurs work through critical aspects of building a business model including: cost structure, value proposition, revenue streams and customer relationships.
Qatar resident Ahmed Fawzi, Managing Director of Nano Technologies, worked closely with Naji to explore new applications for Al-Dalilah – a crisis management system that utilises satellite information to allow first responders and fire fighters to communicate and share information more rapidly in a crisis.
“Since I was a kid, I always broke my toys to find out how they worked,” Fawzi said.
“There used to be an old flea market in Qatar where you could find beautiful things like a PlayStation with a broken joystick for just one Qatari Riyal. This is exactly what I am doing today for a living – breaking down technologies. I am using this training to work on something new – exploring the potential of the existing Dalilah platform and possible applications in the oil and gas field.”
The workshop culminated in practice pitch sessions where each entrepreneur delivered a two-minute standing pitch to the experts and peers.
Safouan Ben Jha of Tunisia was the first to pitch his idea – INCEPT, which provides an interactive solution for museums and archaeological sites to engage users via Augmented Reality. The venture is now focusing on Arabic content and Muslim heritage as boundless sources of culture and knowledge.
“QSTP is where science and technology-focused companies and entrepreneurs get the resources they need to work, build skills and grow a competitive business,” said Al Ghanim.
“Not only does this workshop offer ambitious young innovators a laboratory for refining their business ideas – it helps build the confidence needed to make a compelling pitch and secure investors in the market.
“Our social entrepreneurs benefitted greatly from this unique opportunity to tap into the world class expertise of QSTP,” said Regina Sipos, in charge of Innovation activities for ITU Telecom. “Their good will, great hospitality and desire to teach have helped make our Winners visit to ITU Telecom World 2014 and Qatar a truly memorable experience.”
Follow https://twitter.com/@QSTP on Twitter for more information.
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