Saudi entrepreneurship finds a champion in the 9/10ths Startup Accelerator Program

Twenty-four teams from across the Kingdom have been nominated for the 9/10ths Startup Accelerator Program, which aims to develop early-stage entrepreneurs and their concepts into new, high-potential startups, and to accelerate the development of the Saudi Arabian startup ecosystem. The 9/10ths Startup Accelerator program is one of HRDF’s initiatives, and is run in partnership with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).

Participating teams come from a range of industries including Internet and media, healthcare, financial technologies, consumer products and food. Entrepreneurs were accepted into the 9/10th Startup Accelerator Program after undergoing a highly competitive application process. In February the teams completed the pre-accelerator phase, which included intensive mentorship and resources to both validate and pitch their ideas.

“Although this program has been running for two cohorts, we have seen a magnificent amount of commitment, drive, passion, and hard work from the teams, and this is where our energy and drive comes from,” said Najla Barasain, developer of the 9/10ths Startup Accelerator Program. “We believe in Saudi Entrepreneurs and their impact on the economy in the short and long run, and we hope to continue supporting them both on a professional and a personal level.”

The teams are set to work with experienced, local and international mentors to conduct customer interviews and develop their business model. In addition, each team will be supported in the production of a prototype. At the end of this phase, entrepreneurs will be given a chance to present to potential investors in a showcase event in Riyadh in May 2017 that is open to the public.

“The 9/10ths accelerator is a full-time program for entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, which provides the teams a unique opportunity to focus all of their attention and efforts on their potential startup,” said Hattan Ahmed, KAUST Entrepreneurship Collaboration Manager. “The teams have progressed within a short period of time, with strong levels of commitment. Their enthusiasm and dedication is impressive and we look forward to seeing very positive results from their efforts.”

“9/10ths and KAUST have arranged the perfect environment for us to have a positive impact on our economy,” said Ahmad Al-Rasheed, program participant and founder of Shoghol. “Thank you all for this incredible journey.”

The next cohort of the program will take place in Fall 2017. For more information visit

An Arabic version of the article is also available.