With the FIFA World Cup 2022 expected to be held in Qatar, it’s opened up a wealth of new opportunities for start-up companies to take their first steps into the business world in a stack of different industries.

Qatar is making strides in the world of health and sport, supporting start-up companies to assist in the development of healthy living, both physically and psychologically. Their National Sports Day, held annually on 11th of February, allows the community to come together to celebrate healthy living and grow together to achieve the Qatar National Health Vision by 2030.

Hosting the World Cup presents opportunities for start-up businesses in the venue optimization and management, tourism, fan engagement and sports equipment industries. Paving the way for the growth of start-ups whilst working towards the collective end goal of healthy, more sports-oriented living in Qatar.

Start-up Support

To help boost the economy in regard to sporting and health start-ups and set up Qatar as a global hub for sporting opportunities the Qatar Development Bank (QDB) has teamed up with Qatar SportsTech (QST – a sports-tech development program). Together they provide funding for innovative start-up businesses, inviting health and sports business models to begin their journey in Qatar.

The scheme is powered by StartupBootcamp and along with funding, each start-up is provided with support with business planning, budgeting, and marketing in association with Aspire Zone Foundation, BeIN Sports, and the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Aspire and BeIN groups have also allowed many small businesses to boost their reputation within the sports therapy, equipment, and venue areas. Creating organic growth in the sports industry as there’s more demand from fans and increased space for new teams to form.

An extra $5 million has also been dedicated by governing bodies to provide extra support for start-ups who have struggled to establish themselves in the market. This will benefit the businesses, their employees and improve the tourism aspect of Qatar as a whole. Their long-term goal being to increase the funds following through the wider economy.

In 2017, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced a further $6 billion over the following 10 years. Coupled with The Qatar Smart Nations Project, their aim is to ‘bridge the gap between policy-makers and society across five sectors — transport, logistics, environment, health, and sports. This bridge is achieved using technologies that are cheaper, faster, and more efficient in every way.’

What Does Qatar Look Like for Start-ups?

In recent years, Qatar has been built up to 24th in the Global Economy Index (2016) and boasts a tiny unemployment rate of 0.5%. The introduction of further start-up opportunities in the sports field allows them to develop a culture of inclusivity, explore healthier lifestyles for the community and increase the employment opportunities for local people.

There’s been a noted increase in Qatar’s involvement with accelerator platforms, allowing start-ups to apply for independent funding from investors to purchase technology, platforms, and advertising methods. These accelerators have help to carry businesses forward in the venue management and health technology sector. The aim is to increase the uptake and participation of sports activities to ensure an invested worth of $27 billion by 2022 when the World Cup arrives.

Platforms such as Hustle have allowed residents and external founders of start-up companies to raise $14 million dollars collectively over the last 5 years to fund businesses that will benefit the whole community and economy. These services also allow access to support from other business owners or professionals to gain experience and ask advice.

Established Start-ups

The QST looked specifically to fund and support 10 innovative sports, tourism, and health companies in the build up to the World Cup in 2022. This ensures an inviting atmosphere to advertise the forward thinking and positive mindset in the Qatar community.

  • Uncover Qatar

Uncover Qatar was one of the start-ups chosen for this investment, with the initial idea being born in 2017, around the time that the blockade was introduced. The aim was to celebrate Qatar and increase the flow of tourists in the build up to the World Cup in 2022. The start-up provides all you need to know about travel and tourism with Qatar, giving advice on interesting places to visit, the best places to eat and activities that tourists can take part in. This boosts the appeal of Qatar as a destination and has an end goal of increasing the tourist industry in Qatar by 10% in the run up to the World Cup.

  • Urban Point

Urban Point has also made leaps into the world of discounts and vouchers for restaurants, spas, and health clubs, promoting healthy eating, mindfulness, and exercise on the journey to a healthy lifestyle. The app incentivizes healthy living by providing further discounted rates for people showing that they are making advances in their exercise regimes. A monthly subscription is available for the service. The consumer can also get increased benefits based on their lifestyle changes. This assists the overall economy in Qatar as it advertises local businesses, simultaneously increasing job opportunities.

  • Meddy

Alongside the advances towards sports and health, Qatar is really focused on marrying up the aspects of medical care and technology. It’s important to make it easier for people to seek medical attention and advice. Meddy is a technology resource to allow the public to find the best medical professionals to address their specific needs. This could be for illnesses or sports injuries, or even to obtain help with mental health.

The application shows the credentials of each doctor, their locality, and their specialist areas. This gives the Qatar community access to more support and also increases the trust that tourists have in the local area. If tourists are traveling as part of a sports team, it’s important that they feel this trust and security when visiting Qatar.

With the confirmation of the World Cup 2022, the preparations for Qatar have increased, opening the market further for start-up companies. With the increase of funding for small businesses and the recognition that these companies will shape Qatar’s future in the sports world, there’s no better time to put forward a proposal for a new venture.