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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology held its first innovation program in Shenzhen, China, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Wednesday.
The ShenTech Bootcamp aimed to equip participants with the essential business strategies and technical skills needed to transform their ideas into market-ready products and services while addressing global challenges.
The program, which took place from Jan. 4-18, was organized in collaboration with Shenzhen InnoX Academy. It involved 45 startup founders, graduate students and entrepreneurs from Saudi Arabia.
Shenzhen, known as China’s Silicon Valley, is a leading hub for research, innovation and economic productivity.
The bootcamp, initiated by the KAUST Innovation Hub in Shenzhen, offered support for developing technical solutions, engaging upstream, downstream and supply chain partners, and enhancing human capability in China’s Greater Bay Area.
With mentorship provided by both Chinese and international founders, participants acquire practical skills that assist them in transforming innovative ideas into tangible products and establishing successful ventures with real-world impact.
The initiative enhances the exchange of technology between Saudi Arabia and China, supporting the Kingdom’s objective of broadening its technology partnerships in China, the SPA said.
Zexiang Li, the founding dean of InnoX and a visiting professor at KAUST, highlighted the growing importance of technological innovations.
He urged the need to find innovators “who can navigate this complex terrain in the 21st century and beyond,” adding: “My role as founder, engineer and educator is to prepare these new leaders to be critical thinkers and resilient entrepreneurs.”
The director of the KAUST Innovation Hub in Shenzhen and professor of applied mathematics and computational sciences at KAUST, Dr. Jinchao Xu, said: “It is time to strengthen alliances between technology innovators in Shenzhen and KAUST, which is considered a world-leading research institution that invests in developing technology and commercializes it.”
Xu added that KAUST is uniquely positioned to make an impact on the global stage, and Shenzhen is the ideal city to connect the Kingdom to China and the greater Gulf region.
In December 2023, KAUST introduced a master’s degree in technical innovation and entrepreneurship, which is set to welcome its first students in August this year. The curriculum prioritizes creativity, problem-solving, and hands-on learning within a scientific and practical framework.
During the program’s last six months, students will engage in product and venture development at Shenzhen InnoX Academy, collaborating with innovation leaders.
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