QF signs deal to promote innovation in Mena region
27 Sep 2016 - 2:49
DOHA: In a major initiative to promote innovation in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region, Qatar Foundation (QF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with 500 Startups, a leading global venture capital seed fund and startup accelerator.
Both organisations will provide seed funding, training and mentorship to startups across Mena 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, said a QF statement yesterday.
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.
QF will also help startups gain access to the cutting-edge research and technology development currently under way within its research institutes and labs, and enable them to benefit from skills and capabilities of graduates from universities in Education City.
Dr Hamad Al Ibrahim, Executive Vice-President, QF R&D, and Chairman, Board of Directors, QSTP, said:“The 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 QF places on enabling and nurturing an entrepreneurial culture.
“Through QSTP, our innovation arm, alongside 500 Startups, we will provide access to tools and support necessary for entrepreneurs to thrive in today’s market and develop products that have tangible economic and social impact.”
Additionally, 500 Startups will 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 for entrepreneurs 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.
Dave McClure, Founding Partner, 500 Startups, said: “We provide entrepreneurs with global access to expert mentorship, hands-on support, networking opportunities, and resources that will not only kick-start ideas but also help take companies to the next level.
“We aim to inspire, develop and lead by example. The Mena region is continuing to experience steady growth and through this partnership with QF, we want to help unleash the potential within the region,” he added.