The Saudi British Bank (SABB) celebrated the winners of the first batch of the TAQADAM startup accelerator program in the presence of a number of senior officials from the government, the private sector along with the parties concerned with SME sector and start-ups. The event was attended by Mr. Hamam Hashem, Director General KAFALA Program, Mr. Mowaffaq Jamal, Deputy Governor SME General Authority for Development of Regions and Sectors and Mr. David Dew, SABB Managing Director.
The opening speech was delivered by Mr. Bader Al Saloum, Deputy General Manager Commercial Banking and supervisor of “SABB SME Initiative”. Al Saloum stated that TAQADAM program, being held in cooperation with KAUST, is an example of SABB's major initiatives in support of the Kingdom's Vision 2030 and exemplary for the Bank's aspirations to assist and support SME sector being one of the most important elements of the Kingdom's economic development. The program also constitute one of the social initiatives adopted by SABB in line with its belief in its responsibility towards the community and to complement its pioneering role in supporting young people's aspirations and contribution to build a promising generation capable of leading the country's in various fields of trade, industry, knowledge and technology in future. Al Saloum emphasized the bank’s intention to continue its support to more entrepreneurs during future TAQADAM startup cohort events.
Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President Innovation & Economic Development at KAUST, also delivered a speech acknowledging the strategic cooperation with SABB to accelerate new university projects and support entrepreneurs that are establishing new ventures. Dr. Cullen praised the positive results of the program in terms of the quality of the winning teams and their potential impact on the future of the Saudi economy. He pointed out that the drive for a partnership with SABB is to promote creativity and innovation is in line with the Kingdom’s vision 2030.
At the end of the ceremony, Mr. Ghassan Al Amoudi, SABB General Manager Commercial Banking & Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President Innovation and Economic Development, KAUST, presented awards and commemorative shields to the winners.
It is worth mentioning that during the first batch of TAQADAM program, 160 initiatives were received from 13 universities, 30 of which were selected by a panel of experts and specialists. According to the program plan, each team received financial support. Also members of the chosen teams were provided with scientific expertise and practical skills in various workshops lasting six months. Six teams of entrepreneurs were selected and honored as champions of the first version of the program; that pave the way for receiving the Grand Prize, which is additional funding, mentorship and advisory to enable them to turn their ideas and initiatives into promising projects.
Click here to watch the Ceremony