Check out Blossom, Saudi Arabia's first female-focused startup accelerator

"This is only the beginning."
Blossom, Saudi Arabia, Accelerator, Women, Equality, Empowerment, Business, Tech

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Image: Blossom CEO and founder Emon Shakoor.

Blossom, the first accelerator that aims to empower and enable women’s startups in Saudi Arabia, is gearing up for its latest cohort.

As part of the GAN (Global Accelerator Network, the largest group of accelerators, partners, and investors in the world, with more than 120 cities on six continents) community, Blossom joins world-famous accelerators including Techstars, MuckerLab, MIT PlayLabs, and more.

After just wrapping up their second accelerator programme and accelerating a total of 13 companies in 2018, 50% of whom reported an increase in both traction and revenue, Blossom is getting set for its next edition. It'll be commencing in Jeddah beginning on March 17.

As Blossom CEO and founder Emon Shakoor says, “This is only the beginning.”

Blossom CEO and founder Emon Shakoor.

The Global Accelerator Network was founded in 2010 by the two co-founders of Techstars, Brad Feld and David Cohen. Their idea was to connect the top mentorship-driven, seed-stage accelerators around the world. GAN was launched to align the accelerator industry around globally accepted best practices and create a standardised model for their success. In 2016 GAN Ventures, a new investment arm of the business, was launched to further empower startups around the world.

For its latest edition, Blossom startups will now receive access to more than $1 million in perks, access to an international network and mentors, select exchange programmes with other accelerators around the world, and exclusive access to GAN ventures.

Blossom's launch comes as the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2018 says that despite progress in some areas, the Middle East and North Africa still trail worldwide, with about 153 years to close the gender gap at the current rate of change.

Saudi Arabia - ranked 141st - has shown modest progress in closing the gender gap, according to the report, with improvement on wage equality and women’s labour force participation, as well as a smaller gender gap in secondary and tertiary education.

Globally, the report said stagnation in the proportion of women in the workplace and women’s declining representation in politics, coupled with greater inequality in access to health and education, offset improvements in wage equality and the number of women in professional positions, leaving the global gender gap only slightly reduced in 2018.

The report said the UAE - which ranked 121st globally - has seen improvements in gender parity in the legislators, senior officials and managers and healthy life expectancy indicators, but a widening and counterbalancing gap in wage equality.

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