Twenty teams have been chosen to progress to the next phase of an innovation and entrepreneurship initiative at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), which aims to support and develop projects to deliver smart services for pilgrims in Saudi Arabia during Hajj and Umrah.
They were selected from 40 teams, with 66 participants in total, after a nine-day preliminary program at the university’s campus in Thuwal, Jeddah. The initiative is part of KAUST’s contribution to the Makkah Cultural Forum. It will culminate with the selection of six winners — three from the innovation and three from the entrepreneurship tracks — each of which will receive SR 40,000 ($10,000) to support their work.
“The entrepreneurship and innovation initiative, under the umbrella of Makkah province, is one of KAUST’s most important partnerships,” said Hattan Ahmed, the head of the university’s Entrepreneurship Center.
“We are organizing this event for the second year in partnership with the municipality of Makkah, and we have together trained more than 120 entrepreneurs under this program. These are very innovative ideas and we look forward to providing guidance and continued support to the founders of these startups.”
The participants included four faculty members, three teachers, seven engineers and 30 students, along with members of four startups.
Dr. Najah Youssef Ashri, the vice president for Saudi affairs at KAUST, said she is happy that the university is supporting and training young Saudi men and women to become entrepreneurs.