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From L - R: Esteban Canepa, Co-founder at Sadeem, Ahmad Dehwah, Co-founder at Sadeem, Ankita Shree, Co-founder at UnitX, Mohammed Alghawanni, UnitX team, Lila Aldakheel, Ashley Pursglove, Rocio Martinez, Red Sea Farms Greenhouse Team
King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) today announced that it will host 96 Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) finalists from 64 countries at its entrepreneurship bootcamp as part of its partnership with the Misk Global Forum (MGF).
KAUST will host the global finalists on its campus near Jeddah to take part in a training program designed to further prepare them for the EWC global finals at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on November 12 - 14.
The EWC is the world's largest startup competition, with over 100,000 applicants from 185 countries. Of the 100 global finalists, six are from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Sadeem, Faheem, Cura, Dhad, Red Sea Farms and UnitX. All were founded by graduates of KAUST's entrepreneurship programs, including the TAQADAM and 9/10ths accelerators.
"As an international university, we strive to build bridges with the brightest minds from around the world, and we are very excited to partner with Misk for the Entrepreneurship World Cup and welcome startups to our campus from over 64 countries," said Tony Chan, President of KAUST.
"Saudi Arabia presents an extraordinary opportunity for startups interested in accessing the MENA market and tapping into to KAUST's unique ecosystem focused on finding solutions to the world's most pressing challenges in food, water, energy and the environment."
The Misk-KAUST partnership aims to advance Saudi Arabia's ambitious economic transformation goals by attracting cutting-edge, impactful startups and top entrepreneurial talent to the Kingdom. Over the past decade, KAUST has played an active role in growing the Kingdom's ecosystem for early-stage entrepreneurs, with over 200 startups graduating from its training programs and 56 startups receiving backing through its KAUST Innovation venture fund.
Shaima Hamidaddin, Executive Manager of the Misk Global Forum said, "the EWC global finalists represent the cream of international startup talent. We're looking forward to seeing the entrepreneurs reach even greater heights thanks to the bootcamp ahead of the finals at the Misk Global Forum. Our partnership with KAUST is part of our commitment to working with top international leaders in innovation, training, and development to achieve our global mission of empowering young people to thrive in the knowledge economy."
Designed exclusively for the EWC finalists, the KAUST bootcamp is packed with intensive mentor-led pitch sessions, industry meetings, and an overview of local market opportunities. The university is also offering selected finalists priority spin-in access to its newly launched soft-landing program. Startups who join the program will also have access to KAUST's world-class labs and office space, top advisory and mentorship, the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program, vibrant community life, and MENA market and industry networks.
The EWC global finals will see winners receiving life-changing prizes, support, and opportunities. The EWC has been conducted by the Misk Global Forum in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN), alongside local and regional partners.