Kuwait: During a special ceremony at the Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC), Beban, the regional entrepreneur reality TV show, announced Zain Kuwait and Sabah Al Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity (SACGC) – a center of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS) – as the official Kuwait Country Partners, joining forces to include and enable Kuwaiti entrepreneurs’ participation in the upcoming third season of the show which will air in January 2024.
The partnership was sealed during the ceremony held at ZINC in the company’s headquarters in Shuwaikh, attended by Waleed Al Khashti, Zain Kuwait’s Chief Corporate Affairs and Relations Officer, Neda Al Dehani, General Manager of Sabah Al Ahmad Center for Giftedness and Creativity, and Salman Matar, General Manager of Beban W.L.L. The event was also attended by teams and executives from the three partners.
Beban is a reality TV show aired on Shahid, the leading regional online streaming platform, along with a number of regional television channels. Through the program, entrepreneurs pitch to investors for immediate investment offers and strategic business opportunities. The program is a production of Hope Ventures, the investment arm of Hope Fund, established by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa of Bahrain.
The introduction of Kuwait to the list of country partners for season 3 of Beban makes the show the first regional private-public investment platform that facilitates opportunities for investment, expansion, and strategic growth for promising entrepreneurs across the region.
Through Beban, Zain and SACGC will offer 40 Kuwaiti entrepreneurs the opportunity to undergo an intensive 2-week training bootcamp at the Zain Innovation Campus (ZINC). During the bootcamp, entrepreneurs will be provided with insights to enhance their business plans and ensure their readiness to pitch their businesses to a panel of investors for strategic business development and equity investment on the TV show, where only 5 shortlisted Kuwaiti entrepreneurs will be accepted from the 40 participants.
During the signing ceremony, Waleed Al Khashti said: “Today, we’re absolutely thrilled to reach a new and exciting phase of our 13-year journey to support, empower, and embrace Kuwaiti entrepreneurs under the umbrella of our Zain Great Idea (ZGI) tech accelerator program. Together with our strategic partners at SACGC, we proudly represent our nation in this leading regional program.”
“With this collaboration, we aspire to open entire new horizons to local entrepreneurs and startup owners, who are always known for their bright ideas and inspiring success stories that surpassed Kuwait’s geographical borders. We aim to offer them an exceptional regional experience to represent their country and compete with their peers from the GCC who share the same passion.” Al Khashti added.
Al Khashti continued: “This announcement also coincides with the much-anticipated kick-off of our 8th ZGI season, which has proven itself as one of the best initiatives of its kind in the region. We will be offering the opportunity for ZGI members to join the intensive Beban bootcamp that we will host at ZINC, which I’m sure will add a huge value to their journey towards excellence and success in the business world.”
Commenting on the partnership, Neda Al Dehani said: “We invite Kuwait’s bright startup community to sign up and benefit from the unique exchange of experiences offered by this program. One of SACGC’s top priorities is supporting local talents and shedding light on their successes on a regional level. By presenting their innovations in front of a panel of regional investors, local entrepreneurs will definitely gain invaluable insights and investment opportunities to take their businesses to the next level.”
Commenting on the occasion, Salman Matar said: “We launched Beban as a regional investment platform to connect entrepreneurs with regional strategic investors to accelerate their growth into new markets. Today, after completing 2 seasons and raising over USD 6 million on the show, Beban has expanded to the GCC to ensure a borderless and seamless flow of investment opportunities across the region.”
“As we embark on the Beban season 3 journey, I am thrilled to have both Zain Kuwait and SACGC as the Kuwaiti Country Partners of the show, particularly given that both entities have been early advocates and enablers of innovation within the entrepreneurial sector in the region.” Matar added.
The announcement reflects Zain and SACGC’s shared commitment and interest to nurture the growth of the local entrepreneurship ecosystem and empower Kuwaiti entrepreneurs to embark and build on their entrepreneurial journeys by providing them with the tools and resources needed to scale their businesses to new markets across the GCC.
In its previous seasons, Beban aired on Shahid, the region’s first and biggest video-on-demand platform, as well as leading regional channels such as Al Rai TV, Dubai TV, and Bahrain TV. It featured a total of 62 businesses of various sizes and resulted in successful co-investments by the private and public sectors that exceeded USD 6 million in GCC-based startups.
Season 3 of Beban is anticipated to feature 40 regional opportunities from the Sultanate of Oman, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Kingdom of Bahrain, and the State of Kuwait. Interested Kuwaiti entrepreneurs can apply for Beban through the website hopefund.bh/beban by September 16th.