Challenge 22 returns with expanded reach to support Arab innovators
The Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) has launched the second cycle of Challenge 22, in a digital launch that took place with the participation of the Challenge 22 partners and ambassadors across 10 Arab countries that include Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and the United Arab Emirates.
Challenge 22 is an innovation award launched in 2015 by the SC, to promote a culture of innovation in the region and attract entrepreneurs, scientists and pioneers from across the Arab world. It showcases ideas that can contribute towards the hosting and organisation of major events like the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™, while building a sustainable, economically diverse future for the region.
For the second consecutive year and as part of the sustainable legacy that the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ organisers are looking to leave across the region, Challenge 22 continues to inspire the culture of innovation in the Arab world by creating a comprehensive system to support and nurture Arab innovators and develop their ideas. Challenge 22's second edition is launched in cooperation with SC strategic partners; Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), Wamda and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Enterprise Forum Pan-Arab.
This year, Challenge 22 aims to attract talents from 10 Arab countries to propose innovative solutions to the challenges facing major events, whether in Qatar, across the Arab world, or other regions of the world. The second cycle of the challenge covers four key fields: sustainability, health and safety, the internet of things, and fan experience.
Commenting on the launch of the second edition of Challenge 22, HE Hassan Al Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy, said: "There are many great talents in our region that need support and guidance to help overcome the challenges typically faced by innovators and entrepreneurs. Challenge 22 aims to utilise the occasion of hosting the FIFA World Cup to help develop the community of innovation and entrepreneurship in the Arab world by offering participants the opportunity to turn their ideas into actual projects that can be seen and used by many around the world in 2022".
He added: "Partnering with esteemed institutions such as the Qatar National Research Fund and the MIT Enterprise Forum will support us in fulfilling the goals of Challenge 22, which we hope will leave a positive and long-term impact on the region, and inspire generations to come long after the final whistle of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar".
For his part, Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie, Executive Director of the Qatar National Research Fund, stated: "As a member of the research sector under Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development, QNRF is helping build a knowledge-based economy by promoting scientific research and by fostering innovation in the Arab world. Driven by this common goal we have taken part in Challenge 22 since its inception. We see it as an opportunity not only to invest in and develop Arab talent, but also to introduce the potential that this region possesses to hundreds of millions of people around the world."
Commenting further, Al-Taie said: "Last year's experience with the winning teams was extremely encouraging. We anticipate greater diversity and more exciting projects this year with Challenge 22 now spreading to new countries and the addition of more fields to which the participants may contribute their proposals and ideas."
The winning ideas in the second cycle of Challenge 22 will be awarded prizes of $15,000 each. They will also receive mentoring and guidance from leading scientists and researchers in the region. Those with the best ideas will also receive up to $100,000 in grant funding to develop their ideas to proof of concept stage.
Commenting on the launch of the second cycle of Challenge 22, Habib Haddad, CEO of Wamda, said: "Since 2010, Wamda has been working to create a comprehensive ecosystem to support Arab innovators and entrepreneurs. Challenge 22 gives all the partners involved the opportunity to unify their efforts towards cultivating a community of innovators and entrepreneurs in the Arab world and help the region's most talented individuals turn their ideas into a reality."
Haddad also stated: "We are very pleased to work side by side with Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy on this exciting programme. Using the first FIFA World Cup in the Arab world to develop the region's economy and human potential in the long term is a vision that we all share and I know that cooperation among all of the partners involved will help us realise this."
Hala Fadel, Founding Member and Chairman of the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan-Arab, noted: "The MIT Enterprise Forum in the Pan-Arab Region was one of the first foundations to support the culture of innovation in the Arab World. Over the past ten years, we have been able to support numerous ideas and initiatives, which have today become products and applications we use in our daily lives".
Fadel added: "The Arab innovators community has been growing rapidly in the past few years. Challenge 22 came along at just the right time to give further momentum and direct it towards the biggest international event of its kind . This is a valuable opportunity for innovators in the region to showcase their ideas on a global scale, while also showing the world the abilities that exist in the Arab region."
Challenge 22 roadshow will commence on 3 October 2016 and will last for five weeks, covering all countries included in this year's edition.
Participation in this year's cycle of Challenge 22 is open to all citizens and residents of the ten Arab countries involved in the challenge. Individuals or teams of up to four people may submit their ideas from 27 September 2016 to the final deadline for submission on 12 December 2016. The initial proposals will then go through a two rounds of review, after which finalists will be invited to Doha to develop their ideas further in workshops, along with a group of specialized mentors. The detailed presentations of their ideas will then be submitted to a live final judging panel to determine the winning ideas.
For more information on Challenge 22 and how to apply, please visit the award's official website at: www.challenge22.qa.