For the second year in a row, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is partnering with Misk Global Forum (MGF) to support this year’s Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC). KAUST is providing a range of support, notably by hosting a bootcamp for the finalists ahead of the Global Finals that are taking place virtually as part of the MGF annual gathering, from Oct. 18-20.
Four of the six Saudi startups among the top 100 startups competing in the global finals are from KAUST. MGF is part of the Misk Foundation, a nonprofit established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to empower Saudi youth.
The EWC is the world’s largest and most diverse entrepreneurship competition and support program, attracting 175,000 applicants this year from 200 countries.
Now in its second year, the EWC in 2020 has attracted 15,000 applications from Saudi entrepreneurs, of which 15 were selected to pitch on the virtual stage at the Saudi National Finals, held on Sept. 7. Judges at the event picked six companies for consideration for the Global Finals of the EWC. The top three finalists will automatically proceed to the global finals and the remaining three will compete with other international semifinalists. The winning startups also received $50,000 in cash.
Four of the six winners on the night were graduates of Taqadam, a startup accelerator powered by KAUST and the Saudi British Bank (SABB). They were:
• 1st place — Talon Dust Control — A Saudi-manufactured dust control and stabilization solution.
• 2nd place — Edama Organic Solutions — Saudi’s first organic waste recycling solution.
• 5th place — Peregrine Genomics — A next generation genomic diagnostics testing platform.
• 6th place — Miqyas — An app that fits garments tailored to your measurements.
The winners of the Saudi event will join the “EWC 100” to participate in the Global Finals. The EWC 100 were selected from the winners of 65 mainly virtual National Finals events that have taken place around the world this summer and a wider pool of the strongest applicants.
At the Global Finals, the EWC 100 — will compete for the chance to win cash prizes totaling $1 million plus additional investment opportunities and another $75 million of in-kind support at the finals.
Hattan Ahmed, head of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, said: “KAUST is a natural partner of the EWC 2020, as both organizations share the mutual global ambition of attracting tech startups, premier global talent and the building of a global funnel in which Saudi Arabia can serve as an eminent hub for entrepreneurship.”
Abdulrahman Al-Suhaymi, who leads the EWC and entrepreneurship programs at Misk, said: “All of us in the EWC team are so glad that KAUST is so deeply involved again, not only because they share our view that young people are the greatest asset for overcoming the challenge of change, but because their world-leading expertise will help our global finalists achieve their potential.”