StartUp Lab (SUL) is a new generation of high-impact and locally-tailored business incubators; an environment that promotes entrepreneurship and cultivates the development of technology and innovative businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Wa’ed officially launched StartUp Lab at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) in July 2013. Its main focus is fostering unique and innovative ideas and technology-driven startups. Its location gives its tenants access to the university’s facilities and knowledge resources in addition to part-time talents.

Two main programs are actively offered at StartUp Lab:

  • Business Accelerator is an extensive ten-week business development program focusing on building early stage companies and startups.
  • Business Incubation targets full-time entrepreneurs for short-term incubation focusing mainly on high-risk, innovative businesses with a potential of investment.

The incubator hosts entrepreneurs with promising business potential to provide a facility to develop their product prototype. So if you are an aspiring entrepreneur with a passion for technological innovation, StartUp Lab is your ticket to creating your own company with the help of the lab’s business mentors and technical experts.

The objective of the programs is to maximize the performance of the StartUp Lab participants towards building their prototypes, validating their ventures, and acquiring real customers.

Entrepreneurs, whether they come from business or non-business backgrounds, may participate in StartUp Lab’s programs. These programs will cover business plan formulation, risk management, customer segmentation, competitor analysis, cash-flow analysis, breakeven analysis, organization structures, and legal topics.

Different ventures will progress at different rates depending on their solution and scope of work. Therefore, progress of participants will be measured in abstract deliverables that are supported by tailored training and face-to-face mentorship.


  • Business Accelerator:

    The business accelerator is an extensive ten-week business development program focusing on building early stage companies and startups. During this ten week program, participants will be taken through three main stages of their venture; idea, build, and launch.

    Business Acceptance Criteria

    • For-Profit: venture must be for-profit with a scalable business model
    • Technical: venture must be technical in nature
    • Concept/Seed-Stage: venture must be in an early stage where incubation is most impactful
    • Micro-Size:venture must have no more than 3-4 employees
    • Market Need: entrepreneur must be able to demonstrate strong market need
    • Fulltime: at least one entrepreneur must be working fulltime
    • Cooperative: entrepreneur must be willing to cooperate in achieving the incubation program’s mission, whether through promotional activities or disciplined commitment

  • Business Incubation:

    The StartUp Lab seeks to attract startups with innovative ideas that need a place to start and support to get the idea off the ground.

    The main challenge new startups are faced with is that investment institutes turn down innovative ideas because of their associated risk.

    By incubating innovative ventures for a short period, the business incubation program allows potential investors to gather enough information to make a decision and determine their level of engagement. Therefore, the business incubator is to be considered as a validation stage for potential investments.

    Business Incubation Acceptance Criteria:

    • For-Profit: venture must be for-profit with a scalable business model
    • Technical: venture must be technical in nature
    • Concept/Seed-Stage: venture must be in an early stage where incubation is most impactful
    • Micro-Size: venture must have no more than 3-4 employees
    • Market Need: entrepreneur must be able to demonstrate strong market need
    • Business Plan: entrepreneur must present a basic/skeletal business plan
    • Fulltime: at least one entrepreneur must be working fulltime
    • Cooperative: entrepreneur must be willing to cooperate in achieving the incubation program’s mission, whether through promotional activities or disciplined commitment.

StartUp Lab offers a range of services to all incubates. The following are the major services offered through the Startup Lab for participants of both programs:


  • Office Space & Equipment

    Each entrepreneur is assigned a table, chair, cabinet, computer (PC or iMac), and internet connection. A venture may request procurement of special equipment on the incubator expenses given a strong justification. This equipment will be an incubator asset and available for future ventures.

  • Business Development Advisory

    Entrepreneurs will have access to a pool of high-caliber business developers and venture capitalists from Aramco Entrepreneurship Center. Advisors will help entrepreneurs craft value propositions, understand market trends, design business models, forecast financial statements, and navigate their way through term-sheet negotiations. Our business developers are versed in a wide range of industries and for all stages of venture development.

  • Technical Consultancy

    Through scheduled on-demand mentorship, Aramco entrepreneurs will have access to the technical consultants and subject matter experts of the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center.

  • Networking Opportunities

    Aramco entrepreneurs enjoy being part of Aramco Entrepreneurs’ Network, which brings together all Aramco’s entrepreneurs, partners, and executive management from the center.

  • Access to Partners

    Partnering with top-tier enablers is critical for Aramco Entrepreneurship Center’s mission to support innovation-driven entrepreneurs. As such, StartUp Lab is partnering with Microsoft, which is giving StartUp Lab entrepreneurs access to a range of software development tools and cloud hosting solutions to jumpstart their ventures. Furthermore, the center is a strong partner with Fab Lab Dhahran, which is enabling Aramco entrepreneurs to develop physical prototypes in a best-in-class facility, which includes 3D printers, laser cutters, millers, electronic components, and top talents.

  • Seed Fund

    Seed Fund is a non-repayable micro-funding channel for eligible incubated startups at StartUp Lab. Startups from Wa’ed approved incubators are also eligible to apply for seed fund provided they meet the eligibility requirements. Seed fund may be granted to approved startups and up to SAR 100,000. For more information, please check here.

StartUp Lab is located on the campus of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), on the second floor of the Old Administration Building which is the closest building to the main gate. Please see our google location by clicking here.

For further information or questions, please contact us on startuplab@waed.net.