"In line with Qatar National Vision 2030, QDB’s strategy is focused on promoting the private sector and the local entrepreneurship ecosystem, while offering access to capital, capabilities, and international markets."
Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of GDP per capita. Thanks to investment from both the public and private sectors, Doha’s startup ecosystem has been growing steadily in recent years. To achieve Qatar’s 2030 vision of diversifying the economy away from reliance on hydrocarbons, the Qatari government has invested heavily in founders and innovators. It has been joined by many startup support organizations in nurturing Doha’s ecosystem.
2021 marked the second consecutive year of growth of Qatar’s VC ecosystem. Funding grew by 92% compared to 2020, to reach a record high. Startups graduating from accelerator programs accounted for 46% of the 24 deals in Qatar in 2021.
Qatar Development Bank (QDB) provides financial and advisory services, as well as acceleration and incubation programs through affiliated entities including Qatar Business Incubation Center. In March 2021, QDB launched Scale 7, the first business incubator for fashion, film, and other cultural entrepreneurs. Ithmar, a seed-funding program from QDB, provides entrepreneurs with equity capital and is Shari’a compliant. Qatar University’s QU Innovation & Entrepreneurship Strategy (2018–2023) aims to support the ecosystem’s development. The Qatar Science and Technology Park’s (QSTP) Product Development Fund provides up to 50% of the total budget of local high-tech startups, and has awarded grants to 26 companies.
The Research to Startup program was created by QSTP to support the research community in Qatar by bridging the gap between academia and industry. It provides a pathway to commercialize intellectual property and launch startups. So far 45 startups have participated in the program.
Ecosystem by the Numbers
One third of all funding deals in Qatar in 2021 were in Fintech. Investors in all of these deals were based locally, with Qatar Fintech Hub leading the charge. Fintech was identified as crucial to the long–term development of Qatar’s financial sector in the country’s Second National Development Strategy 2018–2022. The Qatari Fintech market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 19.6% to reach $2 billion by 2025, according to the Global Islamic Fintech Report 2021. The government is streamlining regulations and providing funding to boost the sub-sector.
Logistics & Transportation
Qatar’s growing population and hosting of global events including the FIFA World Cup 2022 have led to a huge infrastructure boom. The Doha Metro, a new road network, Hamad Port, and Hamad International Airport are all being constructed or expanded. The Al Wukair Logistics Park supports SMEs with light industrial workshops, storage units, and open yards. Logistics & Transportation accounted for 26% of all capital deployed in Qatar in 2021. Logistics and supply chain solutions company GWC was announced as the official logistics provider for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.
Reasons to Move Your Startup to Doha
Access to Capital
Qatar offers startups diverse sources of funding, including venture capital, regulator-backed accelerator and incubator programs, and angel investors. Qatar Development Bank facilitates funding through its QAR 365 million ($100 milion) VC fund. ELV8, a 12-month growth accelerator program from Qatar Science and Technology Park in partnership with Plug and Play, provides mentorship and funding opportunities for Qatari startups to expand internationally.
Selected Startup Organizations
Startup Genome Members
Qatar Development Bank
Qatar Development Bank was established in 1997 under the name Qatar Industrial Development Bank, and it is a development entity 100% owned by the government. It was established to support investment in and develop local industries, and to drive economic development and diversification in the State of Qatar with a focus on the private sector.
Key Ecosystem Players
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