The organizers of The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator announced the continuation of the startup program this year after successfully completing the first edition in 2022 with investments in 11 portfolio companies from Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East and North Africa region.
The 13-week program, which will take place from June through September 2023, is run by pre-seed investor Techstars in collaboration with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, RAED Ventures and Saudi National Bank.
As a part of Saudi Arabia’s emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem, the accelerator will work with startups and their founders on building and growing businesses in the MENA, according to a press release.
Saudi Minister for Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha said the Kingdom’s tech market has grown significantly over the years and is now worth more than $40 billion with over 318,000 jobs in the sector.
“The nation is also making significant strides in enabling diversity in the workforce with more and more women employed in the ICT industry. Agility and resilience, powered by talent and technology, have enabled Saudi Arabia to reach new heights,” he said.
The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator is now accepting applications from both Saudi-based entrepreneurs and startups from across the Middle East.
The participating companies will benefit from Techstar’s model that provides funding and fundraising opportunities, workshops and curated resources, as well as mentors and access to a network of partners, investors, and alumni.
The program is also set to benefit from the deep connections with the leadership and mentors from MCIT, SNB and RAED Ventures. Once the program is complete, the portfolio will have lifetime access to the Techstars global network of more than 3,300 other startups, the press release added.
Techstars said the continuation of this program underscores their “commitment to making innovation and entrepreneurship more accessible and inclusive for entrepreneurs” no matter where they operate around the world.
“I am extremely enthusiastic about the growth of the Saudi Arabian and broader Middle East startup ecosystem. Between the Kingdom’s investment in entrepreneurship and its central location, Riyadh is able to attract global startup talent for the entire region. Part of what we do at Techstars is to help founders connect their innovation with the rest of the world,” said Maëlle Gavet, CEO of Techstars.