Launched in 2017, Blossom Accelerator started its journey as Saudi Arabia’s “first female-focused” startup accelerator. Over the past three years, it has evolved its platform to serve hundreds of female founders and diverse teams.
“Unlike other accelerators, we not only focus on the top 1% of companies that are investment ready, but we also have a grass roots approach where we work with female founders in the earliest stage of having an idea to be able to transform that dream into a tangible business pushing sales.”
We recently had a one-on-one conversation with Blossom founder Emon Shakoor to get a firsthand account of what Blossom Accelerator stands for today, its contribution to the regional startup ecosystem and Saudi Arabia’s economy, as well as the different types of startups that can benefit from its accelerator program.
Here’s a brief rundown of what we learned:
Blossom: The origin of Saudi’s 1st female-focused startup accelerator
Emon told Startup MGZN that the core ideals that power Blossom Accelerator today were first conceived in 2017 as an opportunity to fill a gap in the existing MENA startup ecosystem.
“Starting a company, especially a tech startup, is very difficult and being a woman starting a company often possesses additional challenges because of unconscious gender biases. This coupled with the fact that there is so much research that shows that having at least one woman in the startup team not only adds to the overall success of the company but increases profit margins, therefore, it was a no brainer to start an accelerator that focused on companies that have at least 1-female founder. At Blossom Accelerator we equip founders and startups with hands on and implementational training in idea valuation, talking to customers, proto-typing, business modeling, marketing, sales, legalities, finance, public speaking in addition to introducing entrepreneurs to top Saudi executives and investors to pitch to and network with.”
Blossom Accelerator’s contribution to the startup ecosystem
As of today, Blossom Accelerator has mentored more than 300 startup companies from at least 38 different cities and across five countries including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the USA.
“One of the most insightful things we found during our years of working with female founders is that regardless of geography and country, what female founders often lack access to are often very similar things. We found that most female founders need more accessibility to funding, mentorship and role models, networks, as well as technical skills.”
Therefore, Blossom Accelerator’s approach to support startups and female founders is a 360 approach.
“In addition to our flagship accelerator program, we also offer female focused hackathons called SHEHACKS to multiple entities to empower and enable more women in technology and create a generation of women who start companies in the tech and digital sector. We thereon not only focus on current exceptional female talent but also contribute to the creation of more female founder deal flow in the region.”
Who can join Blossom Accelerator’s startup program?
The key criteria to be a part of Blossom’s flagship accelerator program is to have at least one female co-founder in the startup team. The program is open to pre-seed or seed stage companies.
“We see many repeat ideas and frankly, we do not look for exceptional or one of a kind ideas, we look for exceptional founders. We look for founders who are relentless, passionate, and are eager to succeed no matter what. We have found that those personality traits are often what make the most attractive and investable startup companies.”
Because Blossom Accelerator always values scalability and sustainability, tech startups and tech-enabled startups always have an edge in the competition.”
Founders from across MENA are invited to learn more and apply for their fourth virtual accelerator program.
Want to know more about Blossom and other similar startup accelerators in MENA? Feel free to drop a line using any of our social media channels over at Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter and we’ll get back to you asap.