Saudi startups join regional accelerator to boost social impact

SOURCE: Arab News


SABB has joined partner bank HSBC to open the regional “C3 Social Impact Accelerator” to Saudi startups for the first time. The program is the region’s flagship accelerator program offering training and investment opportunities for startups making a positive social impact.

The C3 Social Impact Accelerator program helps social entrepreneurs achieve financial sustainability and solve major social challenges at scale. Launched as a pilot last year between HSBC and Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3), the bank reached out to its local partner SABB to help extend the program to Saudi entrepreneurs. As well as encouraging its own startup customers to take part, SABB helped set up a session for entrepreneurs to prepare their entries for the program at Monshaat, the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, on Oct. 22.

Munif Al-Otaibi, head of business banking and SME, SABB, said: “We’re delighted to help extend the C3 Social Impact Accelerator to Saudi entrepreneurs. As one of the biggest supporters of Saudi enterprise, we want to do all we can to help new businesses get off to a good start and contribute to a more diverse and sustainable economy. Our sincere thanks to Monshaat for their support in helping Saudi entrepreneurs take this opportunity to make a bigger social impact.”

This year, C3 and HSBC are expanding the program to eight countries in MENAT. A total of 40 semifinalists from Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Algeria and Turkey will be selected from hundreds of applicants to receive one-on-one expert support. To be eligible, applicants must be revenue-generating and must contribute to at least one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Applications are open until Oct. 31.

Following a rigorous selection process, 20 applicants will be invited to participate in a week-long program in March, 2020 in Dubai for an opportunity to connect with impact investors, international trainers and key stakeholders from the social enterprise world. Finalists will also undergo board meeting simulations and work on their pitch decks for a chance to win an equity-free cash prize of $10,000.

Last year’s winner Dr. Rasha Rady, co-founder and COO of Chefaa, an Egyptian based e-health startup, said: “Joining C3 was one of our most important milestones yet. It helped us express our impact in a precise and measurable way. We are now able to better communicate with investors and that has boosted our growth significantly.” Chefaa recently closed a six-figure seed funding round.