JEDDAH — The Saudi British Bank (SABB) and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) are launching the KAUST-SABB University Entrepreneur Accelerator “TAQADAM.” The program aims to help early stage university student and faculty entrepreneurs at Saudi universities develop their concepts into high-potential startups.
“We believe this will significantly support the ongoing work at Saudi universities for the commercialization of inventions and ideas by students and faculty, with a particular focus on financial technology start-ups given the rapid development of financial technology around the world and its potential applications for millions of consumers and corporates,” said David Dew, Managing Director of SABB. “Partnering with KAUST to create a competition to seed fund and accelerate innovative ideas from Saudi universities is an investment in our country’s youth with many benefits for the Kingdom. TAQADAM represents one of SABB’s major initiatives toward supporting the Kingdom 2030 vision and our aspirations to aid and support the SME sector of the Saudi economy.”
The intensive six-month program will provide 20-30 startup teams with grant funding as well as Saudi-based and international mentor-led support from the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center. The most promising startups will be eligible for additional seed funding from SABB and the KAUST Innovation Fund.
“This collaboration is a significant and proactive step to ensure that valuable new technologies in the Kingdom are given a platform to move from the lab to the marketplace,” KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau said. “We are excited to join with SABB on this new University Entrepreneur Accelerator and to help startups achieve their full potential.”
TAQADAM is open to students, faculty, staff and recent graduates of Saudi universities. Applicants should have a commercial idea that could be turned into a new company or enterprise, in particular a knowledge-base, technology, product or service. The startup accelerator aims to produce the next big idea in areas such as fintech, smart city solutions, sensors, Internet technologies, new materials, and sustainable technologies in solar, oil and gas, and water.