A special ceremony was held last month by the Saudi British Bank (SABB) to honor the first batch of graduates of its Taqadam startup accelerator program.
The ceremony was attended by the Director General of the KAFALA Program, Hamam Hashem. The KAFALA Program helps secure financing for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The event was also attended by the Deputy Governor SME General Authority for Development of Regions and Sectors, Mowaffaq Jamal; the Managing Director of the Saudi British Bank (SABB), David Dew, as well as representatives from the private sector, experts on SMEs and startups and senior government officials.
The Deputy General Manager of Commercial Banking and Supervisor of the Saudi British Bank SME Initiative, Bader Al-Saloum said in his opening speech that the Taqadam program, in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), is an illustration of a key Saudi British Bank initiative in support of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 program. This, he said, was in line with the bank’s aim to support the Small and Medium-sized enterprises sector, one of the most significant elements for the development of the Kingdom’s economy.
The program also establishes one of the social initiatives adopted by the Saudi British Bank as part of its duty towards the community, and to complement its ground-breaking role in supporting the ambitions of young people and contributing to developing a generation that will be able to lead the Kingdom in the fields of technology, knowledge, trade, and industry.
The Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development at the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Dr. Kevin Cullen said that the corporation with the Saudi British Bank would support entrepreneurs and speed up university projects. Dr. Cullen also commended the quality of the teams and their potential benefits to the economy of the Kingdom.
Cullen also mentioned that the corporation’s objective of encouraging innovation and creativity is in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 program.
One hundred and sixty initiatives were submitted from 13 universities for the inaugural Taqadam program. Thirty of them were nominated by a board of experts. Each team received financial support, as well as scientific knowledge and practical skills in workshops lasting 6 months. Six groups of entrepreneurs were nominated as champions, and each received additional funding, mentorship and advice.