In only a short time, HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering is being seen as an institution that is forging a reliable reputation in research, innovation, and sustainability. Last year, it celebrated its academic milestone with the graduation of its first cohort of PhD students. Now, two of its members, Dr. Tareq Al Ansari, Assistant Professor and Dr. Rajesh Govindan a post-doctorate research fellow, have been admitted into Qatar Science and Technology Park’s Accelerator Program – a competitive program that converts inventive ideas into products that address market demands.
“When we first heard about the Accelerator Program, Dr. Rajesh and I thought that we should send in our entry, and because we work in food security, we decided that our entry should be related to our research with an entrepreneurial component to meet the requirements of the competition. Of the many start-up companies that submitted their ideas, 16 were chosen,” Al-Ansari says.
Not much can be disclosed about the start-up at this point but acknowledging that food security is a big challenge in Qatar, the duo is developing a solution that will target the supply chain between suppliers, retailers, and consumers with a specific focus on fresh fruits and vegetables.
“The main issue we face is the inefficiency and lack of transparency within the supply chain. The inventories are sometimes inefficient, and there is a lot of wastage or sometimes there is a deficit in supply. Given these conditions, we thought it would be a good idea to focus on optimizing the supply chain,” Govindan says.
The start-up will target the inadequacies of the supply chain so that it can also look at the needs of the end consumers and offer them a bigger variety in fresh fruits and vegetables with greater value for money.
Although there are similar concepts in the market, there is no product that uses the same idea or technology. “There is no product or platform which operates based on the same Tech and concept as iTAZA in the local market,” Al Ansari says.