The Qatar Fintech Hub (QFTH), which supports financial technology service providers in Qatar and globally, confirmed recently that it has received applications from companies that are interested in establishing their operations in the Middle East. These companies are looking for a launch-pad or accelerator so that they can begin offering their products and services in new markets.
Many of these projects are focused on digital payments which is consistent with the Qatar Fintech strategy, and it’s also aligned with the objectives of the Qatar Central Bank-Sandbox and a regulatory framework for financial tech businesses (currently under development).
As reported by the Gulf Times, the QFTH confirmed that it’s open or ready to include Fintech companies focused on Islamic finance in its programs. The organization is working on drafting a regulatory framework for Fintechs and aims to assist local SMEs.
Each Fintech that’s chosen to take part in these programs will get as much as $300,000 to fund development. The firms will also receive mentoring and training, which will reportedly be offered by QFTH mentors who come from 12 different countries.
The mentors include Somil Goyal, the COO at Adjoint; Henk Jan Hoogendoorn, the MD of the Financial Sector Office at the QFC Authority; Kolja Rafferty, Manager of Subsidiaries at the Qatar Development Bank (QDB); and Varun Mittal, Emerging Markets Leader at Ernst and Young, Singapore.
The participating Fintech firms will be able to work with more than 16 Qatar based financial institutions and regulators that are a part of the QFTH task force. They include Al Khaliji, Qatar Islamic Insurance, Qatar Islamic Bank, the Qatar Financial Center and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
The QFTH plans to support and further develop Qatar’s Fintech sector in a manner that’s consistent with the Qatar National Fintech Strategy, which has been developed by the nation’s central bank. The Fintech strategy is aligned with the Qatar National Vision 2030.
Fintech has been recognized as a key tool for attaining long-term development goals for the nation’s evolving financial industry (under the country’s Second Strategic Plan for Financial Sector Regulation 2017-22).
C Wallet, Debito, Factora, and Pay Ring have reportedly won the QFTH hackathon program and their ideas will be refined during the first few incubator programs.
The QFTH will be conducting “Virtual Pitch’ days next week for its first group of Incubator and Accelerator Programmes (IAP) participants. There will be up to 30 startup and mature or late-stage Fintech firms that will be chosen to take part in a challenging 12-week course (beginning September 13, 2020).