KSA In­no­va­tion Econ­omy Tech Star­tups 2017

Arabnet - The Quarterly - - Industry Stories -

Ex­cerpts from a re­port con­ducted by Arab­net is de­signed for any­one in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing in the Saudi Ara­bian tech startup scene, in sup­port­ing or launch­ing an in­cu­ba­tor, ac­cel­er­a­tor, or men­tor­ship pro­gram, and in the en­tre­pre­neur­ial ecosys­tem in Saudi Ara­bia in gen­eral.

Saudi Ara­bia’s Vi­sion 2030 and the Na­tional Trans­for­ma­tion Pro­gram (NTP) 2020 have set am­bi­tious ob­jec­tives and tar­gets for shift­ing Saudi Ara­bia from an oil-de­pen­dent econ­omy to a knowl­edge-based econ­omy. Nu­mer­ous ini­tia­tives in tech­nol­ogy, en­trepreneur­ship, and dig­i­tal in­no­va­tion are be­ing rolled out - from job cre­ation, ca­pac­ity build­ing, es­tab­lish­ing up­dated reg­u­la­tory frame­works, and sup­port­ing SMES, to ac­cel­er­at­ing, in­cu­bat­ing, and in­vest­ing in star­tups.

Saudi Ara­bia, rec­og­niz­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of fos­ter­ing an en­vi­ron­ment con­ducive to de­vel­op­ing the role of small and medium en­ter­prises (SMES), is fo­cus­ing on job cre­ation and stim­u­lat­ing eco­nomic growth. Un­der Vi­sion 2030, Saudi Ara­bia in­tends to in­crease the con­tri­bu­tion of SMES to the GDP to 35% by eas­ing ac­cess to fund­ing. The King­dom is also en­cour­ag­ing fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions to al­lo­cate ap­prox­i­mately 20% - as op­posed to the pre­vi­ous 5% - of over­all loans to SMES. Fur­ther plans for stim­u­lat­ing the SME sec­tor in­volve cham­pi­oning a larger sup­ply of skilled tal­ent while in­creas­ing fe­male par­tic­i­pa­tion in the work­force.

Thus, one of the cen­tral steps in sup­port­ing SMES was the for­ma­tion of a Small to Medium En­ter­prises Gen­eral Author­ity (SMEA). The main ob­jec­tive of this author­ity is to re­view reg­u­la­tions, re­move any chal­lenges to ac­cess­ing fi­nance, and help star­tups and SMES by mar­ket­ing their ideas, prod­ucts, and ser­vices. The author­ity also fo­cuses on ex­tend­ing sup­port ser­vices through in­cu­ba­tors, train­ing cen­ters, and ven­ture cap­i­tal funds. In its most re­cent ini­tia­tive, the SMEA launched HUB1006 to ad­vance en­trepreneur­ship in the coun­try. HUB1006 in­tends to offfff­fer SMES, en­trepreneurs, and star­tups ac­cess to pro­fes­sional and le­gal ser­vices, workspaces, ven­ture cap­i­tal, and gov­ern­ment ser­vices. The hub, es­tab­lished in King Abdullah Eco­nomic City, aims at en­abling star­tups to scale their ven­tures while de­creas­ing bu­reau­cratic ob­sta­cles.

This re­port is de­signed for any­one in­ter­ested in in­vest­ing in the Saudi Ara­bian tech startup scene, in­ter­ested in sup­port­ing or launch­ing an in­cu­ba­tor, ac­cel­er­a­tor, or men­tor­ship pro­gram, and in­ter­ested in the en­tre­pre­neur­ial ecosys­tem in Saudi Ara­bia in gen­eral.

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