KAUST, Misk partner for Entrepreneurship World Cup

For the Global Finals taking place virtually from Oct. 18-20, all 175,000 global participants had access to free training materials from experienced mentors.
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Updated 13 October 2020

KAUST, Misk partner for Entrepreneurship World Cup

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.”


Elaa to redefine corporate & government travel in KSA

Updated 20 October 2020

Elaa to redefine corporate & government travel in KSA

Seera Group, a travel services company, has announced the launch of Elaa 3.0, a digital travel management solution (TMS) that has been designed to optimize corporate and government travel bookings across Saudi Arabia.

A new dedicated portal has been launched for Elaa, Seera’s travel management company, which enables employees of partner organizations to make all their bookings and travel planning seamlessly without having to go through a tedious and costly manual process. This means reduced cost through higher levels of transparency, predefined policy setting and travel management efficiency.

“Elaa made the most of the downtime caused by travel restrictions during the pandemic by digitizing and simplifying the processes and enabling continuous improvement and innovation for its partner companies across private and public sectors,” a statement said.

The new improved platform can digitally connect everything for customers whilst supporting them in the new normal, as travel management policies, structures and strategies have changed following the COVID-19 pandemic.

Government ministries, departments and corporations with large-scale travel management requirements, can now manage all their requirements through Elaa’s new portal, which is designed as a flexible and scalable booking platform that is easy to navigate and is both time- and cost-efficient.

Abdulrahman Mutrib, executive vice president and group chief technology officer of Seera Group, said: “The new reality has brought a significant change in the travel requirements of corporate and government entities. Travel policies are constantly being updated or reviewed, and only a travel management system that can factor in these changes in real-time can add true value to organizations. Over the past years, we have been investing significantly in digitizing our processes, and we are now ready to offer the next-generation TMS system for our customers.

“The digitization of the processes, end-to-end, will mean less complexities in bookings, easy modifications and changes, as needed, and higher levels of operational efficiency. The automation of travel management, through Elaa 3.0, will lead to not only saving time but also cost advantages for the organization.”

Among the benefits for customers include search, select and booking of employee trips as a self-service, as well as a streamlined and swift digital approval process seamlessly regulated with pre-configured internal travel policies.

“With real-time tracking of booking requests, Elaa 3.0 serves as a revolutionary product in the travel market sector in the Kingdom,” a statement said.

Elaa’s highly secure and automated platform aims to redefine corporate and government travel for the new era. Elaa, meaning “trusted adviser” in Arabic, has activated a suite of internal training programs to familiarize customers on the new models that will be implemented.