KAUST kicks off TAQADAM accelerator program with SABB

For the first time, the TAQADAM bootcamp was held virtually, live and in real time.
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Updated 20 July 2020

KAUST kicks off TAQADAM accelerator program with SABB

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the Saudi British Bank (SABB) launched the fourth TAQADAM accelerator cohort on June 28. Over 1,750 startups applied to the program earlier this year, with 59 accepted startups, including 168 entrepreneurs from 10 Saudi cities, Bahrain, Lebanon, Egypt and Algeria. The hopeful graduates range from 23 different industries including clusters in logistics, edtech, agtech, fintech and a large number of health care technology startups.

With the advent of COVID-19, for the first time, the bootcamp — which is the first milestone of the TAQADAM program — was held virtually, live and in real time. Founders have spent two weeks in intensive training, attending workshops, meeting mentors, and hearing from both local and international guest speakers from UC Berkeley and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). Workshops covered entrepreneurial leadership, design thinking, business models, strategy and pitching for startups, as well as explored the different tools that help founders deal with current and future market shifts.

“It is exciting to announce the fourth cohort of TAQADAM startup accelerator,” said Hattan Ahmed, head of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center. “This has been a big milestone for KAUST and SABB as we have continued to graduate high-quality startups over the past four years. We are so excited to meet and work with this year’s startups during our virtual bootcamp.”

Majed Najm, deputy managing director, corporate and institutional banking, SABB, said: “We’re committed to our role in supporting the business sector in Saudi Arabia, so we’re especially proud to help TAQADAM further its legacy of helping new talents enter the market. The more we do to help young people turn their ideas into successful businesses, the more diverse and sustainable our economy becomes.”

The accelerator is open to entrepreneurs at all stages of the startup journey. This is the first time that international startups have been accepted into the program. Accepted teams each receive up to SR150,000 ($39,990) in zero-equity funding to grow their business. A selection of startups will also have the chance to pitch for additional zero-equity funding at the final demo day in early 2021.

The TAQADAM startup accelerator was launched in 2016 by KAUST in partnership with SABB. The program has successfully graduated 78 startups and awarded over SR12,000,000 in grant-based seed funding.


Community Jameel fund to support RCM students

Updated 30 September 2020

Community Jameel fund to support RCM students

The Royal College of Music (RCM) in London, one of the world’s greatest conservatoires, has announced the establishment of the Community Jameel Hardship Fund to support RCM students who are experiencing unexpected difficulty or financial hardship, for an initial period of three years. All students are eligible to apply.

The new fund represents a continuation of the RCM’s relationship with the global philanthropy Community Jameel, which in November 2019 saw the launch of a scholarship supported by Community Jameel and the Andrea Bocelli Foundation.

The first Jameel Scholar to be supported by the Community Jameel Hardship Fund for the 2020/21 academic year is Tunisian violinist Bacem Anas Romdhani. Having graduated from the RCM with a masters in 2020, Romdhani will study for an artist diploma.

Professor Colin Lawson, director of the RCM, said: “I am enormously grateful on behalf of everyone at the RCM for Community Jameel’s continued support of our students. In what has been an immensely challenging year, Community Jameel’s generous gift will have a significant impact for those who have unexpectedly found themselves facing financial hardship. The RCM has a long history of philanthropic support which provides greater access to our world-leading education.”

Mohammed Jameel KBE, founder of Community Jameel, said: “At Community Jameel, we are committed to supporting access to quality musical education, particularly for students from the Arab world, a region with a longstanding tradition of producing world-class composers, conductors and performers, and home to opera houses, concert halls and orchestras.

“Through the Community Jameel Hardship Fund, we are proud to be partnering again with the RCM to support students facing financial difficulties, and assisting international students from the Arab world to attend one of the world’s best conservatoires.”

This Hardship Fund continues the support of Community Jameel for the institutions of South Kensington, including the Jameel Gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Jameel Institute at Imperial College, and the Bocelli-Jameel Scholarship at the RCM.

Any surplus in the fund will provide scholarship support for international students, with a preference for students from the Arab world.

More than 50 percent of current RCM students have received financial support during their studies through scholarships and awards, thanks to the generosity of a variety of charitable trusts, companies, businesses, individual members of the public and legacies.

Founded in 1883, the Royal College of Music is a world-leading music conservatoire with a prestigious history and contemporary outlook. For the fifth consecutive year in 2020, the RCM was ranked as the top institution in the UK for the performing arts in the QS World University Rankings.