Noor Zaouri, co-founder of Polymeron, one of the TAQADAM startup winner.
KAUST in partnership with Saudi British Bank (SABB), today announced that startup applications for the 2021 TAQADAM Startup Accelerator are now open. The next TAQADAM cohort will welcome up to 60 new startups from around the world, each receiving 150,000 SAR in zero-equity grant funding plus access to co-working spaces, training, and expert mentors.
The deadline for applications is April 10, 2021. Interested entrepreneurs are asked to submit their applications at taqadam.kaust.edu.sa.
"The 2021 TAQADAM Startup Accelerator will be the most exciting ever. Building on the success of the 2020 cohort, delivered in extraordinary circumstances, we look forward to making this year the best yet," said Dr. Kevin Cullen, vice president of Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST. "Since its inception in 2016 we have seen the scale and quality of the program increase every year and attract world-class talent to this, our world-class accelerator. We experimented and learned a lot in 2020 and will use that to create an even more valuable experience for the next generation of brilliant entrepreneurs."
Saudi Arabian-based startups at all stages of growth, and from every sector, are encouraged to apply for the 2021 TAQADAM Startup Accelerator. International startups with plans to expand into Saudi Arabia can also apply. Submissions will be judged based on the strength of the idea, including its viability and scalability, and team makeup.
During the six-month accelerator, teams will learn key elements of successful entrepreneurship, with workshops and sessions focused on product design, market fit, business-model planning, team development, and fundraising. The six-month-long hybrid virtual program is run by KAUST and aims to develop early-stage entrepreneurs into new, high-potential startups.
Accepted startups will receive 150,000 SAR of zero-equity funding, mentorship, training, and access to specialized services. They will also join the growing KAUST entrepreneurship ecosystem, as well as a network of 115 TAQADAM startup graduates and over 300 founders.
Majed Najm, deputy managing director, Corporate and Institutional Banking, SABB said: "We're honored to join KAUST in offering such a valuable opportunity for the next generation of entrepreneurs. Startups will be key to the recovery, so this is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to learn what it takes to run a successful business and most importantly, secure funding that can boost growth and job creation. We should be proud to have such a successful program for entrepreneurs here in Saudi Arabia."
TAQADAM makes use of KAUST and SABB's powerful networks to connect founders with expert mentors and industry leaders in the startup ecosystem, helping guide them throughout their startup journey. Participating teams will also have access to co-working spaces in Jeddah and Riyadh and lab facilities at KAUST.
In 2016, KAUST and SABB partnered to launch the first TAQADAM Startup Accelerator program to support entrepreneurs in taking the leap toward founding a startup. The accelerator has now graduated 115 startups and granted over 16 million SAR in zero-equity grant funding.
For more information about the TAQADAM Startup Accelerator or to apply, please visit taqadam.kaust.edu.sa.