KAUST kicks off TAQADAM accelerator program with SABB

KAUST kicks off TAQADAM accelerator program with SABB
For the first time, the TAQADAM bootcamp was held virtually, live and in real time.
Short Url
Updated 20 July 2020

KAUST kicks off TAQADAM accelerator program with SABB

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.


Mawani launches new shipping route from Jeddah port

Mawani launches new shipping route from Jeddah port
Updated 21 January 2021

Mawani launches new shipping route from Jeddah port

Mawani launches new shipping route from Jeddah port

Saudi Ports Authority (Mawani) has announced the launch of a new shipping service from Jeddah Islamic Port, complementing its strategic partnerships with some of the largest shipping companies in the world, such as Hapag Lloyd, CMA CGM, COSCO and ONE. The introduction of the new service reflects the confidence of global shipping lines in Mawani’s capabilities and the prominent position of Jeddah Islamic Port in global trade through the Red Sea, connecting the Middle East to Europe and North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Indian subcontinent, and covering key ports like Port Tanger in Morocco and Algeciras in Spain.

The new shipping line is a major step forward by Mawani, taken as part of its initiatives launched under the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP), building on its achievements during the past year with the support of the Saudi logistics sector and the guidance of Saudi Minister of Transport Saleh Al-Jasser. The effort has been to enhance the international connectivity of ports and attract major shipping companies in line with the strategic objectives of Vision 2030 to enhance the Kingdom’s position in the investment and logistics arena.

The new line (IO3) will link Jeddah Islamic Port with the Indian Ocean and northern European ports. The service will consist of seven vessels with a capacity equivalent to 8,500 standard containers per vessel, approximately 48 vessels per year, which will allow a greater cargo capacity. 

Through the launch of the new line, Mawani aims to enhance the status of Jeddah Islamic Port as a direct point of connectivity between the ports of the East and the West, enabling the port to benefit from its strategic location between three key continents. It will also help strengthen the Kingdom’s position as a leading hub for logistics services and a facilitator of global supply chains, contributing to increased transshipment levels and attracting the largest number of ships operating on the Red Sea coast. Besides, it will make available additional shipping lines for local and international importers and exporters, raising the competitiveness of Saudi ports services and improving their operations. The new line will also help establish attractive logistics centers for investors in the ports sector.

Jeddah Islamic Port has gained historical significance due to the fact that Jeddah is the main gateway to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. It is the largest port in terms of volume and cargo handling capacity, as it handles more than 65 percent of all cargoes imported through Saudi ports. The port covers an area of 12.5 square kilometers.