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 boot camp for the finalists ahead of the Global Finals that are taking place virtually as part of the MGF annual gathering, from October 18th-20th 2020.
Four of the six Saudi startups, among the top 100 startups competing in the global finals, are from KAUST, which is a leading Saudi Arabian university with a commitment to fostering and growing an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Kingdom and the region. MGF is part of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit established by H.R.H. 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 September 7, 2020. 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 semi-finalists. 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, TAQADAM graduate 2019 – A Saudi-manufactured dust control and stabilization solution.
2nd place - Edama Organic Solutions, TAQADAM graduate 2018 – Saudi’s first organic waste recycling solution.
5th place - Peregrine Genomics, TAQADAM graduate 2019 – a next generation genomic diagnostics testing platform.
6th place - MIQYAS, TAQADAM graduate 2019 – 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, to ensure the highest possible level of competition, a wide range of sectors, different stages, and global diversity – the hallmarks of the EWC.
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. In addition to these global prizes, many of the EWC national competitions offer their own prizes as well as investment opportunities. All 175,000 global participants had immediate access to free training materials from experienced mentors and up to $25,000 worth of perks from dozens of partners like Zoom, Amazon Web Services and Shopify.
Hattan Ahmed, Head of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center said, “In this period of global uncertainty and as economies transition to the digital era, young minds and entrepreneurs stand at the bow navigating the shifting sands of global technology, channeling entrepreneurial drive and championing business creation.” He continued, “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. The Entrepreneurship World Cup is one of the most ambitious global pitch competitions – and we are excited to partner with Misk Foundation to reach thousands of startups and help them achieve their dreams.”