KUWAIT: Zain, the leading digital service provider in Kuwait, announced that the virtual bootcamp phase of its sixth Zain Great Idea (ZGI) tech startup accelerator program has kicked off. The bootcamp’s first virtual session featured Tesla Motors co-founder Marc Tarpenning, who shared key tips for success in the world of entrepreneurship.

Zain recently concluded ZGI’s first stage; the registration and application phase, where the company received many submissions from local and regional talents. Many submissions were accepted, from both those who own startups that have just begun their journey and those in the process of establishing them. Accepted applications particularly centered around startups working in areas related to tech, digital transformation, and innovation.

The Zain Great Idea 6 bootcamp comes this year in an all-virtual format to abide by health guidelines imposed by COVID-19. The bootcamp’s first session hosted American engineer, entrepreneur, and Tesla Motors co-founder Marc Tarpenning, who was joined by Zain Kuwait’s Sustainability, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship Department Manager Haya Al-Mana, and Founder and CEO of Brilliant lab Neda Al-Daihani.

Key insights
During the virtual talk (entitled ‘Life as an entrepreneur’), Marc Tarpenning shared key insights and crucial tips that are vital to any startup owner, including the most common challenges faced by newly established startups (especially tech startups) and how to overcome them. Tarpenning also shared the story of founding Tesla Motors along with his partner Martin Eberhard, and how it became one of the world’s biggest technology and car companies.

In 2003, Tarpenning and Martin Eberhard collaborated and founded Tesla Motors (now Tesla Inc.). The two co-founders funded the company until early 2004, when Elon Musk led the company’s $6.5 million Series A financing round in February 2004 and became the Chairman of the Board. Tarpenning continued to serve as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Vice President of Electrical Engineering in Tesla until 2008. After leaving Tesla, Tarpenning began to serve as an adviser or member of the advisory board of several companies, including his alma mater (SkyDeck project, UC Berkeley) and Spero Ventures, a VC firm. Marc Tarpenning is a member of the advisory board at Clearpath Robotics, an unmanned vehicles manufacturer.

After the registration period ended, ZGI’s judging panel reviewed all applications thoroughly and selected the participants who progressed into the next phase; the virtual bootcamp. The bootcamp, which is completely virtual this year and continues for four weeks, features workshops, training sessions, panel discussions, and more, facilitated by world-class experts, academics, and trainers from top international educational institutions such as IE Business School, MIT, Stanford, and more. In addition, one-to-one sessions with top experts in various fields will be offered for every finalist.

Refreshed opportunity
ZGI offers a refreshed opportunity for local talents and Kuwait’s entrepreneurial community, as it has been one of the most successful initiatives Zain presented to the Kuwaiti market as part of its comprehensive innovation and entrepreneurship strategy. Throughout 10 successful years, ZGI empowered, trained, and invested in hundreds of creative and driven Kuwaiti youth, of which many now own thriving and active Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to this day in local and regional markets.

Zain’s program comes in joint collaboration with Brilliant Lab, a startup Accelerator Service from Kuwait, and Mind the Bridge, a global organization based in Silicon Valley that bridges the world through entrepreneurship education for startups, enterprises, and investors to succeed in global markets.

Zain is well aware of the crucial role played by private sector organizations in supporting social and economic sustainability projects. Springing from its growing commitment towards practicing its social responsibility, the company is committed to printing a positive impact through all its activities. This has led Zain to embrace the most influential issues in the community, including the support of youth, entrepreneurship, and innovation.