KAUST launched the third cohort of TAQADAM, its startup accelerator program, on February 8 on campus. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
-By Ali Makki KAUST News
On February 8, KAUST launched the third cohort of TAQADAM, the University's startup accelerator program, which provides students, faculty and new graduates of Saudi universities with the tools and support needed to successfully launch technology-based companies through training in ideas, marketing, fundraising and product design. The program was developed as a partnership between KAUST and SABB.
TAQADAM is a joint partnership between KAUST and SABB, and this year attracted 518 applications and accepted 42 startups. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
The three-day program is aimed at serving startups, and accepted teams will receive up to SR75,000 in grant funding as well as access to co-working spaces. The program's first cohort was launched in 2016, establishing 39 startups that have received over SR4,500,000 in seed-based initial financing. In total, TAQADAM has trained 342 entrepreneurs
. The program has also fostered the creation of cooperation agreements with Saudi universities that aim to take research from the laboratory to the market.
The TAQADAM startup accelerator program aims to provide students, faculty and new graduates of Saudi universities with the tools and support needed to successfully launch technology-based companies. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
The program's current cohort attracted 518 applications and accepted 42 startups, with participants totaling 133 people—and 35 percent of those were women. The program covers a number of disciplines like AgTech, AI, e-commerce, energy, fashion, FinTech, gaming, healthcare, materials science, oil and gas and water. Many universities take part, including Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College
; Umm Al-Qura University
; Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University
; Taif University
; King Saud University
; University of Prince Mugrin
; Prince Sultan University
; Jazan University
; King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals
; and King Abdulaziz University
The current TAQADAM cohort consists of 133 people, with 35 percent female participants. Photo by Andrea Bachofen-Echt.
Other aims of the program are to build brand awareness; increase interest in TAQADAM; enhance KAUST's role in building a culture and mindset for innovation
that contributes to a knowledge-based economy in the Kingdom; and encourage engagement in social media channels. The program focuses on students at Saudi universities, as well as businessmen and women and the KAUST community, and contributes to developing a culture of youth innovation.