This time around, they have opened it up to all entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and Saudi British Bank (SABB) have partnered up once again to launch the TAQADAM startup accelerator for 2020, which will this year start in late June. The six-month programme allows entrepreneurs across the Kingdom to compete for funding of up to $100,000 (SR 375,000).
This year’s edition, which was open for application from March 1st to 21st, is unique in that it will “go beyond universities and open the program to all entrepreneurs in the Kingdom,” according to Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST, who also called it a “milestone year” due to this expansion in the application pool.
The 2020 accelerator will welcome 50 startups across divergent fields from fintech, energy and health, to retail and tourism, and allows them to enter regardless of what stage of the startup process they are currently in. SR150,000 in zero-equity grant-funding will be given to accepted teams, and they will have access to co-working and lab facilities. Over the course of the programme they will be expected to bring their ideas to market and will be judged based on viability, scalability, and team. At the completion of the programme, they will compete in a final pitch competition for the highly coveted SR 375,000 in zero-equity follow-on funding.
David Dew, Managing Director of SABB, said: “Startups are key to the Kingdom’s plans to diversify the economy and create jobs. As the Kingdom’s leading bank for business, we want to play our part in helping young entrepreneurs turn their ideas into successful businesses. We’re proud to help TAQADAM build on its legacy of equipping young people with the skills and confidence they need to bring their ideas to market.”
KAUST and SABB first teamed up back in 2017 to create the first TAQADAM startup accelerator programme, and since then they now count over 78 startups and 300 entrepreneurs among their alumni, and have given out grant funding of over SR 12 million.
“We are looking for people who are creating new and innovative businesses with the potential to change the world. Over the last three years we have seen incredible companies come through the program — from supercomputing to gaming to health care. The entrepreneurship ecosystem is rapidly growing in Saudi Arabia and we are so excited to be a part of it,” emphasized Cullen.
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