SABB celebrates winners of TAQADAM university entrepreneurs program
The Saudi British Bank (SABB) celebrated the winners of the first batch of the TAQADAM startup accelerator program in the presence of a number of senior officials from the government, the private sector, the parties concerned with the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector, and start-ups.
The event was attended by Hamam Hashem, Director General of the KAFALA Program, Mowaffaq Jamal, Deputy Governor SME General Authority for Development of Regions and Sectors, and David Dew, SABB Managing Director.
The opening speech was delivered by Bader Al-Saloum, Deputy General Manager, Commercial Banking and supervisor, “SABB SME Initiative.” Al-Saloum said that the TAQADAM program, being held in cooperation with KAUST, is an example of SABB's major initiatives in support of Saudi Vision 2030. It exemplifies the bank's aspirations to assist and support the SME sector being one of the most important elements of Saudi Arabia’s economic development.
The program also constitutes one of the social initiatives adopted by SABB in line with its commitment towards community welfare and to complement its pioneering role in supporting young people's aspirations. It is a contribution towards building a promising generation capable of leading the country in various fields of trade, industry, knowledge and technology in future.
Al-Saloum emphasized the bank’s intention to continue its support to more entrepreneurs during future TAQADAM startup cohort events.
In his speech, Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President, Innovation & Economic Development at KAUST, acknowledged the strategic cooperation with SABB to accelerate new university projects and support entrepreneurs that are establishing new ventures.
Dr. Cullen praised the positive results of the program in terms of the quality of the winning teams and their potential impact on the future of the Saudi economy. He pointed out that the drive for a partnership with SABB is to promote creativity and innovation is in line with the Kingdom’s vision 2030.
At the end of the ceremony, Ghassan Al-Amoudi, SABB General Manager Commercial Banking, and Dr. Kevin Cullen presented awards and commemorative shields to the winners.
During the first batch of the TAQADAM program, 160 initiatives were received from 13 universities, 30 of which were selected by a panel of experts and specialists. According to the program’s plan, each team received financial support. Also members of the chosen teams were provided with scientific expertise and practical skills in various workshops lasting six months. Six teams of entrepreneurs were selected and honored as champions of the first version of the program, which could pave the way for receiving the Grand Prize, which is additional funding, mentorship and advisory to enable them to turn their ideas and initiatives into promising projects.