'Make in Qatar' may help develop local startup ecosystem

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The private sector-led initiative ‘Make in Qatar’ is expected to help develop the local startup ecosystem, and drive the country towards self-sufficiency across a wide range of industries, according to an official of a venture and a growth capital platform.

 

‘Make in Qatar’ is composed of two components: the first is a more than $5mn seed fund, while the second is a management company that would address the needs of qualified startups, 360 Nautica founder and chairman Dr Tejinder Singh said.

The seed fund “would be funded by major players in the Qatari community,” while a management company, ‘Innovators [974]’, would screen, select, and develop the shortlisted startups, Dr.Tejinder Singh explained.

He also pointed out that the ‘Innovators [974]’ would be run by a management board composed of private and public sector players from the expatriate and Qatari communities.

“The function of the board is to screen, select, mentor, and to coach these startups, and elevate them to the commercial level where they could market and distribute their products and services. We are now in the phase where we have identified the startups, which were selected from the healthcare, technology, and financial sectors,” Dr.Tejinder Singh told Gulf Times.

According to Dr.Tejinder Singh, the fund is not exclusive to local startups but could also be accessed by other existing small companies that need funding to further develop their businesses. Similarly, the fund is also open to startups from other countries like India, “which 360 Nautica is also looking at as a market.”

“The idea is that we have to build Qatar. The country is in a state where it has to go into self-sufficiency…so as a private sector, we intend to come in under 360 Nautica, which has a complete digital ecosystem in Qatar, and could help build at least 50 startups in Qatar in the next 10 years,” Dr.Tejinder Singh emphasised.

He added, “‘Innovators [974]’ would become the breeding ground, the source, and the fuel. While the technologies and the companies here are being groomed, they could be brought into this system and get the support it needs…so your push into the market is fast.”

By early 2019, Dr.Tejinder Singh said the initiative is expected to launch “three to five good startups” in the fields of healthcare, technology, and finance. “Until 2022, you might see about 15 to 20 of such companies,” he said, adding that interested startups can access the initiative through business@360-Nautica.com.

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