Saudi startups win cash prizes at finals of TAQADAM accelerator program

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Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding. (SPA)
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Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding. (SPA)
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Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding. (SPA)
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Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding. (SPA)
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Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding. (SPA)
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Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding. (SPA)
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Photo/KAUST Innovation
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Photo/KAUST Innovation
Updated 01 October 2019

Saudi startups win cash prizes at finals of TAQADAM accelerator program

  • The program gives Saudi students, staff and recent graduates the support to start a successful tech-based company through mentoring and training

JEDDAH: Over 1,100 participants, investors, and mentors gathered at the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) headquarters in Thuwal to watch the conclusion of the third edition of the TAQADAM accelerator program, one of KAUST’s flagship entrepreneurship events.
In line with Saudi Arabia’s objectives of supporting new ventures, the program focuses on preparing new entrepreneurs for the challenges ahead, offering over six months of business training and mentorship in various industries, including e-commerce, health care and technology.
The program gives Saudi students, staff and recent graduates the support to start a successful tech-based company through mentoring and training.
The theme of this year’s event was “The Future Reimagined.” This encouraged the program’s entrepreneurs to create technologies of the future that would benefit the Kingdom. Working with mentors from the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, they were able to design, develop and take their startup ideas to market.
Kevin Cullen, vice president of innovation and economic development at KAUST, said: “We are proud to support entrepreneurs and offer them the best environment and tools to create innovations that can change the world. Today, we have watched some incredible ideas and technologies that are solving issues across different industries in health care, agriculture, water, food, gaming, education and more. Congratulations winners, well done.”
Among the competing startups were 100 founders from 13 Saudi universities, representing a wide range of industries. During the event, each startup was given three minutes to pitch their ideas, followed by three minutes of Q&A and another three minutes of feedback from the judges.
Launched in 2016 in partnership with The Saudi British Bank (SABB), the TAQADAM accelerator program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR9 million ($2.4 million) in funding.
Deputy managing director of transformation at SABB, Soren Nikolajsen, said that Saudi Arabia is enjoying huge changes and it is vital that the next generation of businesses is helped to seize these opportunities.

 

 “We’re determined to play our part in building a more diverse and sustainable economy, and one of the best ways we can do that is supporting the grassroots of the business ecosystem: Young entrepreneurs. Today’s winners show just what a great job TAQADAM has done developing new entrepreneurial talent,” Nikolajsen said.
The head of the Entrepreneurship Center at KAUST, Hattan Ahmed, said that its main goal is to create high quality, high impact new ventures from across Saudi Arabia by providing the professional training and mentorship needed to help take their ideas to the market.
“We are so proud of the startups graduating from our accelerator program and we look forward to supporting more,” he said. The following program winners each received SR375,000.
Firnas Aero: Drones on demand for airport infrastructure inspection. Faseeh: Learning app to teach Arabic language skills to help raise Qiyas scores.
Genos Tech: Turning microalgae into products such as Vitamin A and dietary supplements. Peregrine Genomics: Providing accurate premarital genetic diagnoses in half the time and cost. 
Gluco Jet: Non-invasive and pain-free glucose testing for diabetes patients. Talon Dust Control: Low-cost, liquid spray-on solution for environmental dust control. Carbon CPU was the “People’s Choice Winner,” receiving SR187,500 after a live vote from the audience. 

Decoder

TAQADAM

is a Saudi startup accelerator for ideas that are pushing the boundaries of science and technology. Over the course of six months, it helps aspiring entrepreneurs bring their ideas to market through mentorship and training in ideation, product design, marketing and fundraising. Accepted teams receive SR75,000 in grant funding and access to working space in the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center and prototyping lab.


Concerns rise over fake gold in Saudi Arabia

Local gold markets have seen stagnation in recent times, because of the increasing price of gold on international stock markets. (Photo/Shutterstock)
Updated 22 February 2020

Concerns rise over fake gold in Saudi Arabia

  • Accusations fly as pilgrims targeted by sellers of counterfeit precious metal

JEDDAH: A video posted on Twitter by a member of the Precious Metals Committee explaining the ways some gold manufacturers manipulate weight of gold and diamonds has attracted significant attention in Saudi Arabia, raising the question of the authenticity of gold in the Kingdom.

In the video, Mohammed Azooz said cover-ups have made many Saudi gold sellers lose power over the market, and that industry was being controlled by non-Saudis.
In the video, he explained how some people circumvented customs and sneak gold into the country, especially during the Hajj season to target pilgrims.
The Arabic translation of #cheating_in_jewelry has been trending in Twitter for a few days, and several people posted about the issue, blaming those who were selling fake gold to pilgrims as pure gold.
This is not the first time the fake gold issue has been raised. The World Gold Council previously suspended its activities in the Kingdom following claims that some jewelry manufacturers mixed glass with gold. Former Minister of Commerce and Industry Abdullah Zainal rejected the accusations at the time, described them as “grave and dangerous.”
Local gold markets have seen stagnation in recent times, because of the increasing price of gold on international stock markets.

FASTFACTS

• Types of gold depend on the percentage of gold per kilogram. For example, 24k gold, which is considered the best in quality, is 99 percent gold mixed with 1 percent of precious metal such as silver or copper. This type of gold is considered pure, and not used for adornment.

• For a kilogram of 22k gold, 125 grams of precious metals are added to 875 grams of pure gold; 150 grams of precious metals are added to 850 grams to make a kilogram of 21k gold, and 18k gold has 250 grams of precious metals per kilogram.

The price of one kilogram of 24 karat (k) gold in the Kingdom can reach SR185,000 ($46,700).
Gold and economic experts say that the movement in gold prices depends on numerous factors such as political and economic events around the world, the price of the US dollar in banks, black markets, as well as the supply and demand trends in global stock markets.

Types of gold depend on the percentage of gold per kilogram. For example, 24k gold, which is considered the best in quality, is 99 percent gold mixed with 1 percent of precious metal such as silver or copper. This type of gold is considered pure, and not used for adornment.
For a kilogram of 22k gold, 125 grams of precious metals are added to 875 grams of pure gold; 150 grams of precious metals are added to 850 grams to make a kilogram of 21k gold, and 18k gold has 250 grams of precious metals per kilogram.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

The Kingdom has launched an initiative, the first of its kind, authorizing authorities to launch a Shariah-based gold investment fund to enrich investment products through the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul).
Moath Alkhasawneh, CEO and board member of FALCOM Financial Services, said the FALCOM Gold Fund was officially licensed by the Capital Market Authority. The fund aims to add value to Tadawul through a Shariah-based investment fund, as gold trading transactions are considered a good investment and a high-quality commodity with low risks in investment portfolios.
“Gold retains its value compared to banknotes — their value decreases because of inflation. The high demand on gold in light of the shortage of supply can drive the prices of gold higher in the long run,” said Alkhasawneh.
“The gold investment fund focuses on investment in pure and precious gold, and the investment transactions will take place at the Switzerland Gold Market under the supervision of the higher authorities in Switzerland. This will make it safer and more flexible.”