KAUST held its in-person Entrepreneurship Adventures bootcamp June 16 – 18, 2022, to continue their entrepreneurial journey. One hundred and fifty innovators from all over Saudi Arabia were selected from the first two cohorts of KAUST’s Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) to participate in the in-person event. Led by KAUST Entrepreneurship Center mentors, future founders came together for a three-day bootcamp to cultivate their unique startup ideas from the course that started online.
Nurturing young people to think creatively and outside the box drives Saudi Arabia’s entrepreneurial success and business growth. KAUST has set out to build a community of innovators that can serve as the human capital driving the next wave of innovation in KSA. To support this, KAUST created its first MOOC in entrepreneurship. Launched in July 2021 on edX.org, the free, 8- week Arabic course has attracted hundreds of thousands of learners around the MENA region, with the fourth cohort about to commence on July 18.
Over 1,200 innovators have graduated from the program, with a select group participating in the bootcamp. Attendees gained hands-on training through a series of challenges designed to help them focus their startup idea, make their business models 10x more scalable, and identify gaps in their founding teams. They also received mentorship and feedback on their pitch and business model. In addition to growing their networks, the experience of the bootcamp helped candidates better prepare for leading startup accelerator programs, such as TAQADAM, KAUST’s flagship accelerator program focused on deep tech startups.
“Supporting entrepreneurs throughout their entire journey is critical for creating a rich startup ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. We are thrilled to see these aspiring entrepreneurs join us at the in-person bootcamp, bringing the community from the virtual space to the physical space and activating adventurers’ community across the Kingdom,” said Hattan Ahmed, Director of KAUST’s Entrepreneurship Center.
Unlike typical online courses, Entrepreneurship Adventures is unique in that it shifts the experience from modules, instructors and lectures to levels, challenges, and bonus content driven by “unlocks.” The course features challenges essential to the founder’s journey, starting with team building, product ideation, and development and ending with pitching, fundraising, and marketing. There is also bonus content from expert investors and serial entrepreneurs, along with webinars and workshops with mentors focusing on the pillars of entrepreneurship. The entire course leverages a gamified approach that engages online learners while ensuring proper learning outcomes.
Building on the program’s success, KAUST will run the Entrepreneurship Adventures program year-round with two high seasons- in the summer and winter – including weekly webinars and workshops. Registrations for the next cohort of the course and bootcamp, commencing July 17, 2022, are now open.
Through training provided by KAUST, these future entrepreneurs can put their ideas to the test and gain valuable insight into the next steps in making their startups a reality. By supporting a community of innovators, KAUST helps established and upcoming entrepreneurs shape the future and the economy of the Kingdom, MENA and beyond.