Emerson Inaugurates New Facility in Saudi Arabia to Support Localized Innovation and Training

January 17, 2018

New facility opens at Dharan Techno Valley

Dammam, Saudi Arabia –  Under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, Governor of the Eastern Province, His Excellency Suliman Abdulrhman Al-Thunayan, Governor of Al Khobar, inaugurated today Emerson’s (NYSE: EMR) new technology and innovation center at Dhahran Techno Valley, in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia. The ceremony was held with the participation of Amin Nasser, CEO of Saudi Aramco; Dr. Sahel N. Abduljauwad, Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM); David Farr, Emerson’s chairman and CEO; and Mike Train, executive president of Emerson Automation Solutions.

The 11,370-square-meter built area facility, which represents an Emerson investment of SAR 94 million (USD 25 million), enables the company to host Saudi students, entrepreneurs, researchers and industry stakeholders to collaborate with Emerson’s technical experts to develop process automation technologies and design innovative products and solutions that meet the country’s goals as well as ensure global access to Emerson’s research and development (R&D) expertise. The facility houses a collaboration center, educational classrooms, an Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) laboratory for R&D, and concept test laboratories.

The technology and collaboration focus of Emerson’s new facility aligns with Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan and the Saudi Vision 2030 development agenda which looks at technology as a key enabler to boost job creation and economic activities in the non-oil sector. The project is also in alignment with the In-Kingdom Total Value Add (IKTVA) program, the initiative created by Saudi Aramco to baseline, measure, and support increased levels of localization in the Kingdom.

David Farr, chairman and CEO of Emerson, said: “The opening of this facility marks the beginning of a new era for our operations in Saudi Arabia. This project is part of Emerson’s long-term commitment to Saudi Arabia’s growth and to make our technology expertise easily accessible for stakeholders. The state-of-the-art systems in this facility will facilitate our education and collaborative research activities with our partners and customers. We also look forward to helping develop the knowledge and skills of industry stakeholders, university students, and entrepreneurs, as well as providing opportunities for local small to medium-size enterprises to participate in our supply chain for our innovative products and solutions.”

Emerson has made a significant additional investment to equip the collaboration center with modern technology-enabled capabilities including five research pods (for individual and team initiatives) fully equipped with a distributed control system and simulation panels, a collaboration and brainstorming space for creativity and idea sharing, a solutions theater for exploring a wide range of solutions in the process automation field with full 3D capabilities, and an advanced teleconferencing room for connecting to Emerson’s network of centers, experts and consultants or any external site.

Dr. Sahel N. Abduljauwad – Vice Rector for Graduate Studies and Scientific Research, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), added: “We welcome the opening of Emerson’s Saudi Arabia technology and innovation center as a strategic initiative which underscores Dhahran Techno Valley’s role as an ideal location to advance the Kingdom’s digital transformation goals in its quest to fulfill its mandate towards vision 2030. This is a new milestone in Dhahran Techno Valley’s efforts to advance Saudi Arabia’s objective of building a knowledge-based economy and promoting growth in the non-oil sector. We are positive that Emerson’s facility will attract huge interest for collaboration from universities and research institutions in the country and the region.”

Emerson is one of the leading technology providers in the Middle East and Africa, helping businesses achieve Top Quartile performance in capital projects and ongoing operations in the chemical, oil and gas, refining, pulp and paper, power, water and wastewater treatment, mining and metals, food and beverage, life sciences and other industries.

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About Emerson 
Emerson (NYSE: EMR), headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial, and residential markets. Our Emerson Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid, and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Emerson Commercial and Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency, and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com.

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Factbox: Saudi Arabia’s privatization plans


Dec 1, 2017

DUBAI (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia has said it aims to raise around $200 billion in the next several years through privatization programs in 16 sectors ranging from oil to healthcare, education, airports and grain milling. It separately wants to raise another $100 billion through the sale of a five percent stake in Saudi Aramco.

Following is a list of major privatization plans underway.

SAUDI ARAMCO. The government has said it plans to sell close to 5 percent of the national oil giant next year through an initial public offering. Initially, officials said the shares would be listed in Riyadh and at least one foreign exchange, but in recent weeks some officials have suggested Riyadh might be the only venue. Officials have said the sale will value Aramco at $2 trillion or more, though many private analysts estimate a lower range.

SAUDI POSTAL CORP. In February, Riyadh invited banks to pitch for an advisory role in the sale of the government-owned postal service, sources said. But since then it is unclear whether any banks have been mandated and Abdullah Alswaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, told Reuters last month that Saudi Post would enter a five-year “corporatisation phase”, which would turn it into a state-run company before a private sector sale.

SAUDI GRAINS ORGANIZATION. State-owned Saudi Grains Organization, which handles the kingdom’s grains purchases, is preparing to sell off its milling operations by placing them in four specially-formed corporate entities while retaining other functions. The sale had attracted interest from agribusiness giants U.S. Archer Daniels Midland Co (ADM.N) and Bunge (BG.N). But prospective investors have fretted about the ownership limits and structure of the sale process, sources have told Reuters.

SPORTS. Saudi Arabian investment bank Jadwa Investment was appointed to advise on the privatization of as many as five soccer clubs in the Saudi Professional League, sources told Reuters in February.

AIRPORTS. Faisal Hamad al-Sugair, Chairman of Saudi Civil Aviation Holding Company, told Reuters it was on track to “corporatize”, or turn into private companies, 27 airports by the middle of 2018. Goldman Sachs was hired to manage the sale of a minority stake in Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport, the first major privatization of an airport in the kingdom, Reuters reported in July. In April, Singapore’s Changi Airport Group was awarded in April a contract to operate the King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah for up to 20 years.

SAUDI ARABIAN AIRLINES. The airline has started the sale of its medical services business in Jeddah, valued at around $500 million, sources said in May. The sale is on hold or has seen little progress, people familiar with the matter said.

HEALTHCARE. One of the first assets to be privatized is one of Saudi Arabia’s top hospitals, King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, an official said previously. The process was in a “very advanced stage”, Vice Minister for Economy and Planning Mohammed al-Tuwaijri told Reuters last in April. Also, the Ministry of Health received at least six bids to act as financial adviser for the privatization of 55 primary healthcare centers in Riyadh, sources said earlier this year.

EDUCATION. Saudi Arabia hired HSBC as financial adviser to privative construction and management of school buildings, the chief executive of Tatweer Buildings Co, a state firm affiliated with the Ministry of Education, said in January.

  • ADM.N
  • BG.N

SAUDI ELECTRICITY CO. Riyadh plans to split state-controlled utility Saudi Electricity Co (SEC) 5110.SE into separate companies that would be offered either to local citizens through IPOs or to local or international corporate partners. Riyadh-based ACWA Power chief executive Paddy Padmanathan told Reuters in March he expects the first of four power generation companies owned by Saudi Electricity will be offered by the year-end. But a source familiar with the process has since told Reuters they were not aware of SEC yet posting requests for qualifications for the process.

SALINE WATER CONVERSION CORP. Officials last year outlined plans to privative Saline Water Conversion Corp, which desalinates water and produces electricity. It would be transformed into a joint-stock holding company served by local production units; investment partners for the units would then be sought, followed by an IPO for the holding company. Banks recently submitted bids to advise on the privatization of the company’s $7.2 billion Ras Al Khair desalination and power plant.


Saudi Arabia helping foreign start-ups to get business licences

SOURCE: Arabian Business

Thu 18 Nov 2017

Kingdom is the biggest backer of a $100 billion tech fund for start-ups

The Saudi Arabian government has said that it would help to facilitate foreign entrepreneurs to obtain business licenses to launch start-ups in the country, as part of a drive to encourage growth in the non-oil sector.

Having already committed $45 billion to investing in technology companies around the world, Saudi Arabia is now the biggest backer of a $100 billion tech fund launched with Japan’s SoftBank (SFTBF).

Speaking about the government’s ambitions to create a thriving local start-up ecosystem, Ghassan Al Sulaiman, Governor of the kingdom’s Small and Medium Enterprise Authority said: “We hope that one of them, or more, will become a unicorn and reach a billion dollar evaluation. They are the Apples, Amazons and Googles of this world.”

Preference for the fast track licenses will be given to those bringing patents, innovative services or a new business idea to the country. The entrepreneur licenses will be issued by Saudi Arabia’s General Investment Authority or any one of several economic zones, which offer huge incentives such as free rent and transportation and subsidised housing.

Ranked 135th by the World Bank for starting a business, Saudi Arabia has yet to produce a billion-dollar start-up – unlike the UAE.

As the country is seeking to diversify its economy away from its dependence on oil revenues as part of its Vision 2030, developing a technology sector will play a central role in its plan to wean itself off oil.

The first 11 entrepreneur licenses for start-ups were awarded on Wednesday at the Misk Global Forum, an annual event sponsored by Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s philanthropic organisation.


Saudi women seize new business opportunities

SOURCE: Arab News

October 31, 2017

LONDON: With a 130 percent increase in the number of women employed by the private sector in Saudi Arabia over the past four years, the Kingdom’s workforce is undergoing a transformation aimed at ushering in a new economic era.
When Wafaa Al-Ashwali launched a startup in Saudi Arabia earlier this year, she tapped into a burgeoning community of established female entrepreneurs.
Stepping into a sphere traditionally reserved for men, she has had to work harder and be more enterprising than male counterparts, but five months later her app Serviis, which connects consumers with more than 2,500 service providers across the Kingdom, has a steady client base of more than 700.
Her success speaks for the business opportunities unfolding for women in KSA, where there has been a 130 percent increase in their number in the private sector during the past four years.
“There has been a push from government to empower more female entrepreneurs,” Al-Ashwali said.
Almost 40 percent of the startups launched in 2016 were owned by women — an indication of the social and economic evolution that is underway as the Kingdom pursues ambitious aims outlined in its Vision 2030.
Speaking to Arab News earlier this month, the governor of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, Ghassan Al-Sulaiman pinpointed startups as a particular focus for development.
With plans to boost the proportion of women in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, Saudi Arabia’s once-sidelined female population is being harnessed to facilitate this growth.
At a recent job fair attended by 43,000 women and hosted by Saudi women’s recruitment agency Glowork, more than 86 local and international organizations gathered seeking to source female talent for their KSA operations.
“They were there purely to hire Saudi women and it showed the appetite of the organizations to get women into their industries at all levels,” said Khalid Al-Khudair, founder of Glowork, itself a startup.
Previously, companies in Saudi Arabia hired women to fill compulsory quotas. Now, Al-Khudair said, “it has become something that makes business sense for organizations,” with women taking on a greater number of roles across different sectors.
“Saudi females represent a talented, well-educated pool of labor. Today, more Saudi women than men are attaining university degrees,” said David Hunt, founder of Dubai-based company Lynwood Consulting.
“The educational reforms have produced a new generation of women with a high degree of training, education and knowledge who are assuming their rightful place in society.”
Across the Middle East, women outnumber men in universities but countries are largely failing to utilize their female talent pools with women’s participation in the workforce across the region among the lowest in the world, according to Reuters.
The upshot is a failure to fully reap the so-called “demographic dividend” that would fuel economic growth, as well as a drag on programs aimed at empowering women in order to fulfil the economic agenda set by government.
Currently, just 1.9 million of the 13.1 million women in Saudi Arabia participate in the workforce, giving it the largest gender imbalance in labor force participation among G-20 countries, according to the “G-20 Saudi Arabia Labour Market Report 2016.”
New initiatives aim to redress this imbalance such as the launch of the first all-female business process services center in Riyadh by Saudi Aramco, General Electric and Tata Consultancy Services to provide employment for more than 1,000 women and the first all-women business and technology park, which aims to provide employment for 20,000 women over the next decade.
“Saudi Arabia has already invested heavily in education for women,” said Jane Kinninmont, deputy head of the Middle East and North Africa program at Chatham House in London.
“Enabling more women to enter the workforce allows the economy to earn a return on that investment,” she added.
“Having women in business is good for diversity and there is significant research being done internationally on the positive impact of gender diversity on management and innovation.”
Doors are opening these days with more women entering the workforce, and the once male-dominated business environment is becoming a more equal place.
Hunt noticed the change during a recent trip to Riyadh. “I visited the operations of one of the leading insurance companies,” he said. “In the past women would have been working behind closed doors in separate sections with separate lifts. Now men and women work side by side in large open-plan spaces.
“It was also pleasing to see women taking on more senior roles,” he added, pointing to the appointment of several women to high-powered positions in KSA.
Rania Nashar became the first woman to head a commercial bank in the Kingdom earlier this year when she was named chief executive of Samba Financial Group. Latifa Al-Sabhan serves as the chief financial officer of Arab National Bank, while in February Sarah Al-Suhaimi, CEO of NCB Capital, became the first woman to chair the Saudi stock exchange.
Opportunities are also opening up lower down the ladder as Saudi women seize the moment in the wake of the latest round of reforms.
“The policy environment is becoming more favorable to women working — the recent decision (to lift the ban) on women driving is an important symbol of that,” Kinninmont said.
An earlier move that means women no longer need a guardian to access government services has helped to lift the number of women establishing SMEs, she added.
However, hurdles remain, particularly when it comes to networking. “Saudi Arabia is a conservative country and we still have segregation between men and women,” said Al-Ashwali.
“Business development, which relies on being there in person to access funds and engage with the business community, is a challenge.” Male entrepreneurs can attend the meetings and events necessary to build a business but for women, it is still a “closed community,” she said.
But the balance is shifting as economic demands compete with cultural practices that traditionally consigned women to the domestic sphere.
“I’ve been visiting Saudi Arabia for more than a decade, and throughout that period young middle-class Saudis have been telling me that their peers aspire to have families where both the man and the woman work, partly because of the rising cost of living,” Kinninmont said.
Nouf Al-Saleem, founder of Mathaqi, a meal delivery app launched last year, spoke of the social development that has taken place with women “more welcome in the market, especially when it come to supporting productive families.”
“We can see women-owned businesses rising in all areas, including the food and retail industries and many others,” she added.
Al-Ashwali is confident of further progress. “I think we’ll see more reforms. What’s needed next is to remove the barrier for capable women who have what it takes to do business but are held back by a male guardian.
“Many government organizations are working hard to support individuals in starting their own business,” she said, adding that seeing women empowered by recent reforms “will encourage and inspire more to pursue their business ambitions.”


To This Saudi Startup, Allowing Women To Drive Is A Game Changer

SOURCE: Forbes

OCT 3, 2017 

Saudi Arabia easing restrictions on women driving, finally allowing almost half its population to get behind the wheel, is not only landmark moment in a society where gender roles have long been rigidly demarcated, but has huge implications for women’s ability to work.

“For women, the Saudi job market is one of the toughest in the world,” says Khalid Al Khudair, founder of Glowork, a startup that’s been at the forefront to boost women participation in Saudi workforce. “But the driving decree will create hundreds of thousands of jobs for women especially in the retail sector, which has over 450,000 jobs, as the cost of transportation allowances will drop.”

Changing landscape

Allowing women to drive is the latest in a series of changes in Saudi Arabia, which has an ambitious plan to transform the economy by 2030 and, in line with that goal, increase the number of women in the workforce — from 22% to 30% over the next 15 years.

Unsurprisingly, Saudi Arabia has the largest gender imbalance in labor force participation among G20 countries. Only 1.9 million of its 13.1 million women participate in the workforce — a labor participation rate of 20.2% — compared with 77.8% for men, according to G20 Labor Market Report 2016. The unemployment rate among women is 32.8%. The country ranked 141/144 for gender equality in the World Economic Forum’s 2016 Global Gender Gap report.

Many of them have yet to join the labor force, despite being highly educated and motivated. Last year, 105,494 women graduated from Saudi universities compared with 98,210 men.

G20 Labor Market Report

The problems female jobseekers face is largely the result of the country’s conservative culture. Apart from driving ban, many social and workplaces are segregated and companies often have a cultural resistance to hiring them.

Founded in 2011, Glowork has put over 33,000 women in the workplace, and has assisted over 300,000 more. “On average, we place 28 women a day into the private sector,” says Al Khudair. Every year, it also organizes a career fair attracting over 25,000 female jobseekers. Last year, 3,600 women were hired at the career fair.

In addition to matching women jobseekers with employers, Glowork has pioneered a “virtual office solution” that makes it possible for women to work from home. 
“Due to gender segregation, many SMEs cannot hire women as that would mean extra cost for separate office space, rent, utilities and furniture,” Al Khudair explains. “The cost-effective virtual office solution enables women to work from home and the companies that hire them can easily monitor their work. This solution works best for women in rural areas and those with special needs and disabilities,” he adds. For this initiative, the startup won awards from International Labor Organization and World Bank.

Slow but steady

Saudi Arabia’s untapped human resource also cost the world’s largest oil producer billions per year, as the Ministry of Labor gives jobseekers an allowance of around $6,000 a year. To reduce the cost of the government, Glowork acquired the Ministry’s database of unemployed women, and now earns a commission every time it finds a job for one of those registered women. “Since we filter and screen candidates, mentor and interview them, and find employers looking to hire women, the government, instead of paying the jobseekers, pay us in installments — $200 upon hire of a new candidate, $200 on completion of three months at work, $150 after six months and $150 after a year,” says Al Khudair. “This saves the government money.”

These efforts have led to progress in the last few years. Now, women cloaked in black, some with only their eyes showing through face veils, are working in shops, offices and boardrooms. “Every other day, new sectors such as aviation and airports, hospitality and food courts in malls are opening up for women,” says Al Khudair. “Five years ago only 46,000 women were in the private sector, today over 600,000 women are employed in the private sector.”

There has also been some easing of restrictions on women’s ability to work in the fields of law and education. Additionally, Saudi Aramco, the state oil company, plans to raise the share of women in the workforce from 25% to 40%.

“The country is changing — albeit slowly — towards gender equality,” says Al Khudair. Earlier, this year, Sarah Al Suhaimi became the first female chairperson of Saudi Arabia’s stock exchange, the largest bourse in the Middle East, and Rania Mahmoud Nashar was appointed the chief executive of Samba Financial Group, one of the country’s largest national banks.

“The key is not just placing women in the workplace, but empowering them to leadership positions in various sectors,” adds Al Khudair.


Vision 2030 another incentive to strengthen French-Saudi partnership

SOURCE: Arab News

Time: July 14, 2017

RIYADH: France has deep and longstanding economic ties with Saudi Arabia, and Vision 2030 is one more incentive to strengthen a win-win relation that serves the Kingdom’s best interests.
France is the third-biggest investor in the Kingdom, with more than $15 billion of investments, while Saudi Arabia is France’s leading commercial partner in the Gulf, with commercial flows amounting to more than $8 billion.
More than 80 French companies, some of them global leaders in their fields, have an active presence in Saudi Arabia and employ more than 27,000 people, with a Saudization rate of 36 percent. The average Saudization rate for the overall economy is 16 percent
French companies are involved in many strategic projects throughout the Kingdom, serving the Saudi ambition to develop a world-class railway and urban transportation infrastructure, energy network, tourism industry, financial services, telecommunications and health care.
While France’s involvement in the Kingdom already spans most of the strategic sectors, room remains for even broader and deeper cooperation in the new strategic sectors the Kingdom wants to develop, such as education, health care, financial services and renewable energy. There is momentum for such renewed bilateral cooperation.
For example, the Paris accord on climate change offers a wide range of cooperation opportunities on matters such as energy efficiency and transitioning to renewable energy.
In May, France and Saudi Arabia reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement, and could be leaders in developing carbon-efficient technologies.
French companies are already involved in solar and nuclear projects that will help the Kingdom diversify its energy mix.
But there could be greater Saudi business involvement in France. Total investment caps are at less than $1 billion, and are mostly directed toward real estate. The 24 Saudi companies operating in France employ 3,200 people and achieved a combined turnover of some €350 million ($399.5 million).
Given the priorities outlined in Vision 2030, France is a vital destination for Saudi businesses, especially for the technologies of tomorrow. In 2016, France was the fastest-growing hub for start-ups in Europe, and on the verge of becoming the continent’s No. 1 in terms of market capitalization for start-ups.
As an example of the dynamism of the start-up ecosystem, the giant Station F incubator, created by French entrepreneur Xavier Niel to enhance the growth of more than 1,000 start-ups, opened its doors less than a month ago.
France is also a leading player in fields such as financial services, health care and education, sectors the Saudi economy is willing to develop and invest in.
New governments in France and Saudi Arabia pave the way for new opportunities.
Upcoming bilateral events will be occasions to show how close our business relations can be. Efforts will be made to bring together businessmen and let them discuss opportunities. France and Saudi Arabia are ready to work together on a long-term basis. We undoubtedly have the capacity to strengthen our strategic partnership.


Kingdom officials invited to attend Malaysian entrepreneurship summit

SOURCE: Arab News

August 30, 2013

Malaysian Ambassador Syed Omar Al-Saggaf Thursday extended invitations to Saudi officials to attend the 4th Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) to be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center in Malaysia on Oct. 11- 12.
“Malaysia will play host to more than 3,000 leaders, entrepreneurs, business leaders, civil society and policy-makers from 50 countries,” Al Saggaf said during a meeting at the Al Faisaliah Hotel on Thursday to promote the entrepreneurship summit. The Malaysian envoy thanked all those present including officials from the Saudi Ministry of Commerce, Council of Saudi Chambers and the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak will preside over the summit aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with skills and resources necessary to compete and thrive in the 21st century.
Al Saggaf said the summit will bring some of the best names to Kuala Lumpur to address four core issues including building an entrepreneural system, creating tomorrow’s game-changers, emerging trends and connecting for growth.
Al Saggaf said: “In what promises to be the hive of everything related to entrepreneurship, the Malaysian government will bring more than 100 practitioners and intellectuals as speakers who will share their views with the entrepreneural community.”
The topics to be discussed include innovative business models, disruptive innovation, digital entrepreneurship, innovative funding models, talent development, taking start-ups global and learning from success and failure.
Emerging trends in the start-up scene with special focus on Asia will also be discussed including fostering a green economy, products from emerging Asian middle class, low-cost scalabe solutions for the “bottom billion” and co-Islamic finance and financial inclusion.
“In creating tomorrow’s game-changers, there will be topics such as business not as usual, learning from risk takers, building great companies, investing in technology start-ups and social entrepreneurship and transformation,” he said.
Participants will delve into consumer products and services for the emerging middle class, the Entrepreneural University, the Malaysian start-up landscape, start-ups going global and job creation through small and medium enterprises.
“Ways to develop an entrepreneural team, crowd funding as a source of capital for SMEs, strengthening the investment climate in the community and market access will also be discussed at the summit,” Al Saggaf said, adding that there will also be discussions on “Beyond Silicon Valley: Start-up Ecosystems around the World,” where governments, investors, corporations, foundations and entrepreneurs themselves play an all-important role.
Moreover, the summit will also feature additional activities such as start-up academy workshops, founder/mentor matchmaking sessions, insider’s roundtable on Malaysia and ASEAN, young entrepreneurs including finalists from the Global Innovation through Science and Technology’s Tech-I competition.