KAUST Innovation’s Entrepreneurship Center received recognition for its Startup Bootcamp at StartSmart Saudi Arabia on January 16, 2016, which was produced by MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Arabia and sponsored by Bab Rizq Jameel (part of the Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiative).
StartSmart Saudi Arabia is the first technology-driven entrepreneurial conference that encourages, motivates and provides direction for local entrepreneurs.
At the event, a number of local and international speakers, including MIT Technology Review President Kathleen Kennedy, discussed the top 10 technologies shaping the future and entrepreneurial opportunities and challenges in those areas.
Six winning teams in the ideas and startups tracks from the MITEF Startup Competition were also announced. First place teams won 100,000 SAR, second place teams 50,000 SAR and third place teams 25,000 SAR. Abdul Latif Jameel surprised the first place winners in both categories with a brand new Toyota Prius.
Three of these teams were mentored by the Entrepreneurship Center, including Every Drop Counts, a project that helps companies and individuals measure and reduce their water consumption (first place in ideas competition), Koolsnacks, a company that produces healthy products from natural ingredients (third place in ideas competition) and Rock, Paper, Scissors, a gaming educational initiative for children (third place in startups competition).
KAUST Innovation believes that one of the best ways to create a thriving innovation ecosystem is to give entrepreneurs the tools and knowledge they need to launch successful companies and make lasting impacts on the world. It does this with a variety of approaches to training, from startup bootcamp to longer-term mentoring for startups.
In December 2015, the Entrepreneurship Center held a 1.5 day startup bootcamp that was attended by 57 people and 18 teams.