KAUST to host bootcamp for Arab & Saudi startups

During the bootcamp, the semifinalist teams will learn from more than 40 mentors from various backgrounds, industries, and expertise, and receive feedback on their pitch decks, presentation skills, and value proposition to help prepare them for the regional finals in April.
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Updated 04 February 2020

KAUST to host bootcamp for Arab & Saudi startups

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) will host an intensive training bootcamp for more than 100 semifinalist startups in Thuwal, from March 1 to 3. Over the course of three days, semifinalists of MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition and MIT Enterprise Forum Saudi Startup Competition will undertake intense training, focusing on pitching skills, business model canvas, design thinking, and more. 

The final round of judging for MITEF Saudi Startup Competition will happen in Jeddah on March 7, after which the winners will join the finalists of the MITEF Arab Startup Competition and go through a final round of judging on April 8 in Abu Dhabi.

Semifinalist teams will compete to win equity-free cash prizes, mentorship opportunities, top-tier training, as well as networking with MENA investors and media. 

Each team will receive a tailored training experience based on the track they applied for (either Startups Track, Ideas Track, or Social Entrepreneurship Track). 

With support from the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center and other industry experts, the semifinalist teams will learn tips and tricks on how to perfect their pitch to secure potential investment funding and partnerships. During the bootcamp, the semifinalist teams will learn from more than 40 mentors from various backgrounds, industries, and expertise, and receive feedback on their pitch decks, presentation skills, and value proposition to help prepare them for the regional finals in April. 

Maya Rahal, managing director of MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, said: “The bootcamp will offer this year’s Arab Startup Competition semifinalist teams unprecedented access to top-tier training, preparing them to face the judges a month later.”

She added: “This year’s bootcamp at KAUST, our Innovation Partner, joins for the first time both the pan-Arab and Saudi chapters of the MIT Enterprise Forum, marking a new milestone in the competition’s history. I want to thank our founding partners Community Jameel for their ongoing trust and faith in this region’s youths’ ability to lead for a better world.”

KAUST Innovation and Economic Development Vice President Dr. Kevin Cullen: “This year we expect to support over 100 startups and offer them insight into the Saudi Arabian entrepreneurship ecosystem where they will discover the support KAUST offers to entrepreneurs from across the Middle East through training, mentorship and access to funding and investor networks.”

Bayan Abdullah Algamdi, head of entrepreneurship programs and MITEF Saudi, added: “The bootcamp training is an important preparatory phase for the competitors to increase their chances of winning and their excellence in presenting their projects to the judges in the next phases.”


Positive social impact of COVID-19 in KSA: Survey

Updated 12 August 2020

Positive social impact of COVID-19 in KSA: Survey

A survey commissioned by Al-Aghar Group, an independent Saudi think tank, in partnership with global management consultancy Kearney, has revealed that most thought leaders and decision-makers in the Kingdom anticipate that COVID-19 will be a positive accelerant of the transformation already underway in the Kingdom. The survey focused specifically on the social impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Kingdom through 2025.

Respondents believed that COVID-19 is accelerating the advent of the “future of work” in the Kingdom and more than 65 percent see this as fundamentally positive. About 69 percent see the growing need for the retraining of employees as positive, spurring national adaptation to the new normal. However, the survey also revealed some concerns regarding the security of formal employment and self-employment, with 37 percent seeing the effect of the crisis as negative.

Most survey respondents (70 percent) expect education in the Kingdom to undergo a positive transformation with the adoption of new, innovative, and inclusive modes of learning.

Seventy-eight percent of the respondents believe that the impact of the pandemic on the health care in the Kingdom through 2025 will be highly beneficial.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents believe there will be a wide adoption of telemedicine services in the Kingdom in the near future, as patients gain greater comfort and confidence in this method of consultation with their health providers.

Most respondents believe the health crisis has accelerated the process of digital transformation in the country, particularly in the finance and retail sectors. Seventy-five percent of respondents see the anticipated wider prevalence of e-commerce as positive, and 89 percent see as positive increasing use of cashless payments for face-to-face transactions by 2025.

By 2025, 78 percent of respondents expect that COVID-19 will lead to a significant and welcome (83 percent) step change in government preparedness for future crises. Meanwhile, 68 percent of respondents anticipate a significant impact on government information-sharing and 65 percent anticipate a moderate, but positive change in the willingness of citizens to contribute toward government efforts.

Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Saud, chairman, Al-Aghar Group, said: “Saudi Arabia has a proud history of resilience and has thrived even in the most challenging situations. While this pandemic has severely affected us all, the survey results confirm the depth of our intention to use this current situation to accelerate our national progress.”

Rudolph Lohmeyer, partner and head of National Transformations Institute at Kearney Middle East, said: “The survey results clearly reveal the deep, optimistic resilience of the Saudi people and their implicit commitment to the Kingdom’s national transformation. Despite the near-term hardships caused by the crisis, respondents anticipate that the most significant medium-term impacts will be positive.”