Award Ceremony & Gala Dinner
Local and regional business development

Challenge 22

Initiative description: Continuing to run award cycles and to enhance the incubation phase for winning ideas in order to accelerate progress towards commercialisation and implementation of ideas for the FIFA World Cup 2022™.

Challenge 22 is the SC’s flagship innovation programme. It invites regional and global entrepreneurs and innovators to provide solutions which will directly support Qatar’s hosting of the FIFA World Cup™. Since the programme launched in 2015, it has attracted more than 1,400 applications from Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia. To date, USD 1.86 million in grant funding has been awarded to 13 selected start-ups. Six Challenge 22 solutions have been commercialised to bring new products to the market. Further funding has been provided to four Challenge 22 winning start-ups: Fanera, ViaVii, SunPave and Podeo – to pilot and establish operations in Qatar. Each of these start-ups present solutions from the Middle East that offer solutions related to hosting the first FIFA World Cup™ in the region.

Fanera (formerly Snapgoal) is the first social app for football fans in the Middle East, allowing fans to receive videos of goals scored by their preferred teams in real time. The app was piloted during the Amir Cup Final 2019 at Al Janoub Stadium, attracting over 25,000 users and 50 influencers. The app was selected as one of the top 20 most disruptive sports solutions worldwide by SportTech Start-up Bootcamp.

The ViaVii platform and mobile app helps users to discover travel experiences in the MENA region. Immersive experiences designed and hosted by local communities can be booked through this platform. It enables locals to digitize their offerings with ready-to-buy experiences, thereby increasing their revenue and visibility, and connecting them to travellers looking for personalised and unique experiences. The platform offers more than 3,000 experiences. ViaVii launched a new social project in 2019 - ViaVii Locals - which aims to build sustainable tourism businesses in rural communities by encouraging and supporting entrepreneurs (particularly women and youth) to develop tourism services.  In 2021 ViaVii opened their office in Qatar at Qatar Science and Technology Park Free Zone.

SunPave is an innovative, locally researched and designed photovoltaic tile that can replace traditional outdoor hardscape. As an alternative to concrete, bricks, or other ground cover, SunPave tiles are easily installed, can be walked on, and provide electricity to lights or equipment. In addition, materials are selected to withstand prolonged exposure to high summer temperatures. In addition to applications related to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, SunPave can have broad applications in many other public spaces and in residential areas across the Middle East that are not connected to the grid. SunPave signed an agreement with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy to pilot their solution at Al Thumama Stadium.

Podeo (formerly Fallound) is an app that integrates audio content from across the web and then curates this content according to a user's preferred podcast topics. They have today become a leading Arabic language podcast platform with 2.8 million listeners every month. To make the platform more driver-friendly, Podeo uses in-app voice commands, allowing the user hands-free operation. In addition to having tens of thousands of podcast listeners, Podeo has become a full-scale production house for podcasters and brands, and has built the region’s largest podcaster network. Podeo has collaborated with the Qatar Legacy Ambassador programme to pilot their application and have since produced over 20 podcast episodes.