Launched in 2015 to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators from across the region to play their part in supporting Qatar to deliver the first FIFA World Cup™ in the Middle East and Arab world, Challenge 22 has played a key role in supporting new businesses.
As the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy’s (SC) flagship innovation programme, Challenge 22 has received more than 1,400 applications to-date from entrepreneurs, innovators and start-ups that were keen to support Qatar 2022. The applications were submitted from businesses based in ten Arab countries, including Qatar, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Successful applicants received financial grants and access to businesses and individuals in order to help deliver their products to market.
As part of a closer look at Challenge 22, we caught up with the founders of Bonocle to find out about the impact the programme has had on their business.
Tell us a bit about yourselves and Bonocle?
Our names are Ramy and Abdelrazek. We are the founders of Bonocle. We started Bonocle back in university when Abdelrazek broke his hand and had to join the special needs centre to receive support with the completion of his academic work. There, we interacted with blind students and were extremely shocked by the difficulty they went through to access their study material. The problem was clear and we had to solve it. Hence, Bonocle was born. What we developed was a Braille entertainment platform that works with applications on current smart devices to provide users with the ability to read Braille, learn Braille or play games using Braille. Bonocle will continue to expand and provide more uses and features to the blind community worldwide.
Why did you get involved with Challenge 22?
Challenge 22 called for innovations in the region. It felt like it was our duty to participate and show the world the innovations that spark from within Qatar itself.
How has Challenge 22 changed your start-up business?
It has definitely helped us become better innovators. The training and pitching sessions we had were illuminating and encouraging in every possible way. Since joining the programme, the support from the Challenge 22 team has been amazing. They helped us with funding and industry connections, as well as being great publicity for our team, which helped us with raising investment, advancing our product and getting closer to launching in the market.
How will your business help enhance the fan experience during Qatar 2022?
Bonocle will enable the blind community all over the world to experience the World Cup in 2022 in new ways that were never available before. It will improve their ability to move around Doha with fewer restrictions, and more freedom to navigate and interact. It will remove the barriers that have kept blind people restricted and open doors for them to explore new things and new places.