Six teams of entrepreneurs and startups winners have been awarded with over SAR 2 million (SAR 375,000 per team) during the closing ceremony of the third year of the accelerator program “TAQADAM” held recently at KAUST.
The panel of judges, which includes officials from the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and a group of experts, academics and investors, have selected the six winning teams from 28 startups who pitched their ideas to compete for over 2m SAR in prize money at finals of the TAQADAM Accelerator Program. The program, now in its third year, was developed in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Saudi British Bank (SABB), equipping new entrepreneurs with the skills and know-how to trade successfully.
This program comes in line with the Kingdom's Vision 2030, which aims to develop SMEs and new ventures. The TAQADAM Accelerator Program focuses on preparing new entrepreneurs for the challenges ahead, offering over six months of training in business fundamentals in various industries, including e-commerce, healthcare, and technology in addition to FinTech, gaming, engineering and science.
“We’re witnessing huge transformation in the Kingdom, so it’s vital the next generation of businesses are helped to seize these opportunities. We’re determined to play our part in building a more diverse and sustainable economy, and one of the best ways we can do that is supporting the grassroots of the business ecosystem – young entrepreneurs. Today’s winners show just what a great job Taqadam has done developing new entrepreneurial talent.” Said Mr. Soren Nikolajsen, Deputy Managing Director Integration & Transformation at SABB, on this occasion.
“Our mission at KAUST is to support entrepreneurs and offer them the best environment and tools to create innovations that they can take to the market. Today we have watched some incredible ideas and technologies that are solving issues across different industries in healthcare, agriculture, water, food, gaming, education and more. Congratulations winners, well done.” Said Mr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST.
The theme of this year’s event was ‘The Future Reimagined.’ This encouraged the program’s entrepreneurs to create technologies of the future that would benefit Saudi Arabia. Working with mentors from the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, they were able to design, develop and take their startup ideas to market.
Launched in 2016 in partnership between SABB and KAUST, the TAQADAM Accelerator has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over 9M SAR in funding.