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Startup of the Week: Sadeem, a startup that can help save lives

01/10/19

  • Sadeem recently won the Misk Global Forum Entrepreneurship World Cup and, later this year, will be included in the Founders Festival in Germany

JEDDAH: Saudi-based Sadeem’s solar-powered wireless sensing system can help monitor flooding, weather, pollution and traffic conditions, reporting essential information back to relevant government agencies.
Moustafa Moussa, one of the firm’s co-founders, said: “Sadeem means nebula in Arabic, and just like a nebula, our wireless sensing network gets its power from solar energy.”
Moussa and three other co-founders, Ahmad Dehwah, Christian Claudel and Esteban Sanchez-Canepa — all from different continents — began researching the idea for the network after asking themselves: “How can we help cities? What can we bring to them?”
The idea for Sadeem came after major flooding in Jeddah on Nov. 25, 2009, which claimed more than 120 lives.
“The floods in Saudi Arabia left catastrophic damage and caused damage of more than $135 million in Jeddah and Makkah alone. That made us think of ways to improve resilience within cities,” Moussa told Arab News.

Sanchez-Canepa, a King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) Ph.D. graduate from Mexico, said: “Our sensors are deployed in existing structures such as lamp-posts and traffic signs, and communicate with each other wirelessly. When they detect a level of 2 cm of water, for example, they transmit this information to a central unit, triggering alarms.”
Sadeem is the first company to provide detailed information regarding water levels and traffic, which is often accessible through social media or public reports, though rarely accurately.
In 2015, the company won KAUST’s IP-based Startup Award and began commercial and industrial operations.
Moussa described KAUST as “fuel and a pivotal point” for Sadeem. “We started here, and through KAUST we received the correct coaching, helping us to use the right language and approach the right people. It gave us the resources to thrive.”
In 2017, the Sadeem team won Best Global Startup Award at GITEX Future Stars in Dubai.
The company has helped the UAE’s Ministry of Infrastructure Development, and has worked closely with Saudi Arabia’s Madinah Development Authority. It has also deployed sensors in Mexico City, Taif and Riyadh.
Sadeem recently won the Misk Global Forum Entrepreneurship World Cup and, later this year, will be included in the Founders Festival in Germany.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Revealed: 10 most promising Saudi start-ups to shape the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2019

Time: April 09, 2019   

Ajeer.jpg
1 of 10
Ajeer is an on-demand platform that connects homeowners and maintenance service providers at competitive prices and high quality. Ajeer aspires to transform the experience of home maintenance and remove the pain of looking for qualified technicians in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf region. Ajeer is working to standardize and organize home maintenance services.
The 100 Arab start-ups shaping the future were selected at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa, held in Jordan. Saudi Arabia, the largest market in the region, as well as a network of accelerators and government programs to support entrepreneurs grow and scale.

This article was first published in Arabian Business

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Thriving Saudi startup scene to produce top-30 companies, WEF hears

Time: April 06, 2019  

audi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih (L) told the forum that he expects the startups of today to be among the Kingdom’s biggest companies in a decade’s time. (Screenshot)
  • Agile new businesses of today will be among Kingdom’s largest by 2030, World Economic Forum hears
  • Khalid Al-Falih told the forum that he expects the startups of today to be among the Kingdom’s biggest companies

DEAD SEA, Jordan: Saudi Arabia’s startup scene is “moving faster than anyone can imagine” and is set to create hundreds of thousands of jobs over the coming years, the World Economic Forum in Jordan heard on Saturday.
The region’s most successful tech ventures — like ride-hailing service Careem, which Uber recently agreed to buy for $3.1 billion, and web portal Maktoob, which was acquired by Yahoo in 2009 — have emerged from more established startup hubs of Dubai and Amman.
But the next wave is seen emerging from Saudi Arabia, panelists said at the regional meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) at the Dead Sea.
Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Khalid Al-Falih told the forum that he expects the startups of today to be among the Kingdom’s biggest companies in a decade’s time.
“Our enterprises will multiply in size,” he said. “I predict that by 2030, companies that we don’t know today will be among the top 20, 30 companies in Saudi Arabia. They will be driven by innovation, they will be driven by young people, they will be driven by women.”
The government has a role to play in encouraging more Saudi startups, along with a culture where young people experiment in business, the minister added.
“(It’s about) creating an environment where failure is not encouraged, but certainly dealt with in a positive way — and that young people are given the opportunity to fail, fail, fail, and succeed ultimately, and not only create opportunities for themselves … but also employment and opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people.”
Al-Falih pointed to the venture capital funds and startup incubators that are already active in the Kingdom.
“We hope to see hundreds of these startups coming up with innovations that are not only going to change our countries in the region, but indeed in due course will be part of the global movement where young, innovative enterprises are creating the economies and the solutions of the future,” he said.
Ten Saudi companies made it to the WEF’s 100 most promising startups for 2019, with entrepreneurs from the Kingdom in attendance at the event.
Fadi Ghandour, the founder of courier service Aramex and executive chairman of venture capital firm Wamda Capital, said that the Kingdom’s startup scene has virtually transformed overnight.
“I am extremely impressed. Suddenly you thought nothing is happening, and then you wake up in the morning and you say ‘what happened here?’,” he told a panel at the event.
“Saudi Arabia is a country that is changing, it is moving faster than anybody can image … It’s an exciting time, it is where the region is going to scale its businesses.”
Ghandour was joined on the panel by Ayman Alsanad, co-founder and CEO Mrsool, the Saudi delivery app that recently received multi-million dollar investments from Saudi Technology Ventures and others.
Audrey Nakad, co-founder of the education platform Synkers, which is based in Lebanon, told the panel that her company is preparing to expand into Saudi Arabia. Synkers provides a link between tutors and students looking for additional help.

This article was first published in Arab News

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New business funding portal to help Saudi entrepreneurs

Time: April 05, 2019  

The event will run until April 6 at the Dhahran International Exhibition Center. (SPA)
  • Initiative will allow startups to tap into funding channels by bidding for online offers from financial providers

DAMMAM: An initiative aimed at helping entrepreneurs to access business funding has been launched by Saudi finance chiefs.

The Kingdom’s Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at) has signed joint agreements with a number of financial providers to allow business owners to apply for monetary backing through a newly established website.

The announcement came as 720 young entrepreneurs took part in the Biban Eastern Forum for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), being staged by Monsha’at at the Dhahran International Exhibition Center.

The event, organized in collaboration with the National Entrepreneurship Institute (Riyadah), runs until April 6 with the aim of supporting and developing the sector. Delegates were able to participate in more than 60 specialized training courses, lectures, workshops and interactive sessions.

And the new portal initiative will allow entrepreneurs, startups and innovators to tap into funding channels by bidding for online offers from financial providers.

It is the latest in a line of schemes launched by Monsha’at to help SMEs  in the Kingdom. The authority had previously set up a SR1.6 billion ($416 million) initiative to provide credits to businesses through the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), in addition to establishing a SR2.8 billion ($728 million) fund to invest in SMEs.

Meanwhile, the forum gathering offered 36 training courses in subject areas including supply chains, human resources management, basic app programming, marketing, accounting, strategic planning, commercial franchises, and branding.

Thirty other specialized courses were dedicated to e-commerce, and included e-stores, business models and e-ideas.

Several other workshops were held offering guidance and information in areas such as industrial empowerment, risk management, micro-enterprise management, financial technology, bank financing, exports, smart leadership apps, entrepreneurship, data analysis, and human resources management of new projects.

This article was first published in Arab News

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10 Saudi entrepreneurs make it to World Economic Forum’s most promising Arab startups

Time: April 03, 2019

The selected 100 Arab startups will have a chance to meet with government and business leaders at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan on April 6 and 7. (WEF)
  • The 100 startups, selected from almost 400 applicants from 16 countries, come a variety of sectors
  • The selected 100 Arab startups will have a chance to discuss and promote their businesses in Jordan on April 6 to 7

DUBAI: An online platform that offers quality home-cooked meals, a home maintenance website that links owners and service providers and a social learning platform are just among the ten Saudi companies that made it to the World Economic Forum’s 100 most promising startups for 2019.

The startups, selected from almost 400 applicants from 16 countries, come a variety of sectors including education, energy, environment, finance, health and the media. The WEF and the Bahrain Economic Development Board launched the initiative in 2017 to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Middle East and North African region.

The Saudi entrepreneurs named as shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2019 are:

– Ajeer, an on-demand platform that connects homeowners and maintenance service providers at competitive prices and high quality;

– DokkanAfkar.com, an e-commerce player focused on homegrown products and local entrepreneurs;

– FalconViz, which is focused on 3D surveying and mapping through unmanned aerial systems;

– Foodics, a cloud-based retail and restaurant management system for transactions, inventory, employee, scheduling, logistics, delivery, loyalty programs and e-commerce;

– HalalaH, a digital wallet that enables businesses to accept payments via a simple QR code-scanning methodology;

– Lucidya, an Arabic-focused social media listening tool powered by artificial intelligence;

– Mathaqi, an online platform where consumers could purchase quality, curated meals directly from home chefs;

– Mrsool, an on-demand service where users can request a courier to purchase (in cash) and deliver items for them from any store in the city;

– Noon Academy, one of the fastest growing on-demand ed-tech start-ups in the Middle East, with over 1.5 million registered students; and

– Unifonic, a cloud communications platform as a service.

The selected 100 Arab startups will have a chance to discuss and promote their businesses with government and business leaders at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the Dead Sea, Jordan on April 6 to 7.

  

This article was first published in Arab News

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Office space demand rises in Riyadh due to growth of start-ups

Time: February 12, 2019  

Total office stock in Saudi Arabia’s capital stood at 4.2 million square meters of gross leasable area by the end of 2018. (Getty Images)
  • Economic and social initiatives and legislation have had a positive impact on the country’s real estate sector

RIYADH: Riyadh is seeing rising demand for office space that caters specifically to small businesses and startups despite a strong supply pipeline, according to a new report.
Total office stock in Saudi Arabia’s capital stood at 4.2 million square meters of gross leasable area (GLA) by the end of 2018, according to broker CBRE, with an additional 870,000 square meters expected to be delivered by 2022.
It follows a number of Government-led initiatives aimed at stimulating private-sector growth and promoting a spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship in line with Vision 2030, CBRE said.
The broker’s Market Snapshot for 2018 also highlights a growing trend for office supply as part of mixed-use development. Rents remain under pressure in the Saudi capital with both the primary and secondary office rents down by about 4 percent and 7 percent year-on-year respectively.
But increased incentives by landlords, discounts for long-term leases, and other tenant perks could help to mitigate declines in the market.
“The recent economic and social initiatives and legislation introduced by the Saudi Government have already had an extremely positive impact on the country’s real estate sector,” said Simon Townsend, head of strategic advisory at CBRE MENAT and General Manager, CBRE KSA.
“Meanwhile, the increased government spending on large-scale infrastructure and mega-projects is expected to further stimulate the overall market, with a positive trickling-down effect on all key sectors.”
The opening up of the entertainment industry in Saudi Arabia could also boost the hospitality sector, which has traditionally been driven by corporate demand in Riyadh.
However in the short term at least, CBRE expects daily rates to remain under pressure.
According to CBRE’s Market Snapshot, more than 5,000 keys are expected to be delivered to the market by 2022.
In the residential sector, CBRE estimates expected delivery of 130,000 additional units by 2022 to add to the existing inventory of about 1.25 million units.
The government wants to increase the availability of affordable housing throughout the Kingdom and has signed a number of public private partnerships to spur development.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia’s KAUST launches third phase of startup accelerator

Time: February 10, 2019  

Young entrepreneurs play a key role under ongoing reforms. (Shutterstock)
  • The university said the program raised awareness about branding and also increased the attention on startup accelerators
  • Saudi Arabia has been investing heavily in startups to achieve its Vision 2030 reform plan objective of moving away from dependency on oil

JEDDAH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) launched the third phase of its flagship startup accelerator at its headquarters in Thuwal.
TAQADAM gives Saudi students, staff and recent graduates the tools and support to start a successful tech-based company through mentoring and training.
Successful applicants receive SR75,000 ($20,000) in grant funding and access to a co-working space.
The program’s first phase was launched in 2016 and has helped 39 startups and granted more than SR4.5 million in seed funding based on grants.
The university said Friday it had received 518 applications for the third phase and that 42 had been accepted.
The number of businessmen and businesswomen had reached 133, and 35 percent of these were women.
A number of universities in the Kingdom participated: Prince Mohammed bin Salman College, Umm Al-Qura University, Princess Nourah bin Abdulrahman University, Taif University, King Saud University, Prince Muqrin University, Prince Sultan University, Jazan University, King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals and King Abdul Aziz University.
TAQADAM covers many sectors such as agricultural technology, artificial intelligence, e-commerce, energy, fashion and health care.
The university said the program raised awareness about branding and also increased the attention on startup accelerators.
It also aims to enhance KAUST’s role in contributing to a knowledge-based economy and encourages participation on social media platforms.
“We’ve seen really good outcomes in terms of specific technologies, such as in energy or artificial intelligence in the last two cohorts,” Hattan Ahmed, entrepreneurship collaboration manager in Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST, told Arab News last October.
“They are resolving some key challenges, not just for Saudi Arabia but the world.” Another startup developed laser lights to help crops grow indoors, he added.
The Kingdom has been investing heavily in startups to achieve its Vision 2030 reform plan objective of moving away from dependency on oil.
Young entrepreneurs are expected to play a key role as the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority tries to boost foreign direct investment.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Misk Innovation partners with 500 Startups to encourage entrepreneurism

Time: January 28, 2019

Around 500 applicants of young MENA-based companies have applied for the program, 21 of which were selected to start the program. (Misk Innovation Twitter account)
  • Misk Innovation has previously signed the partnership with 500Startups which has contributed in establishing 2,000 new companies in 60 countries

JEDDAH: Misk Innovation has announced that it is partnering with 500 Startups to launch an accelerator program for entrepreneurs.

The program, starting on January 27, 2019, will work on encouraging innovative ideas to help create jobs and raise the contribution of entrepreneurship to GDP, a statement on the Saudi Press Agency has said.

Around 500 applicants of young MENA-based companies have applied for the program, 21 of which were selected to start the program, and move forward with their emerging companies into the global business community.

The internet-based mobile travel app Mosafir is also a partner in the program to facilitate traveling.

Misk Innovations has previously signed the partnership with 500Startups which has contributed throughout 8 years in establishing 2,000 new companies in 60 countries around the world.

The agreement offers an important chance where both parties work on creating a stimulating environment for entrepreneurship.

Speaking on the occasion, Misk Innovation Executive Director Dima Al-Yehia stressed that the program is a real beginning to discover promising young talent that can lead companies capable of strengthening the economy of the future.

On his part, Essam Bin Saleh Al Dhokair, Deputy Governor of 500 Startups: “We are working in establishments to prepare, implement and support programs and projects to spread the culture and thought of entrepreneurship, entrepreneurial spirit, entrepreneurship and innovation.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Startup of the Week: Saudi fashion label “Anonymous” newest trendsetter

Time: January 22, 2019

  • Inspired by cultural diversity, their fashion line showcases a unique blend of Arabic, Japanese and Sanskrit elements and depictions.
  • The expression “art imitates life” rings particularly true for “Anonymous.”

JEDDAH: “Anonymous” is a Saudi fashion label that features a unique and creative twist on streetwear fashion.

The brand offers clients an exclusive and artistic style of streetwear to complement their strong personalities and expressive fashion sense. They launched their first collection in October 2018. It featured a range of 100 percent cotton unisex T-shirts.

Each product is uniquely crafted and designed in Saudi Arabia, and includes a range of graphics, calligraphy, and hand-painted motifs.

The expression “art imitates life” rings particularly true for “Anonymous.” Most of their products are artsy at its core. Inspired by cultural diversity, their fashion line showcases a unique blend of Arabic, Japanese and Sanskrit elements and depictions. It is this unconventional creative approach to their product line that has seen them surge in popularity in both Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

When asked what her fashion label aspires to offer, the brand’s founder Mariam N. simply stated: “The freedom of choice it offers each individual to express themselves. Anonymous is for the mystics, poets, lovers, and dreamers. For all those who believe. Celebrating our rich diversity and what binds us together; Anonymous resonates with unconditional love. People can shed their inhibitions, feel free and wear what they can connect with — emphasizing inspiration, and the primacy of the individual.”

There is no doubt that our individual personalities are constantly being expressed every day through our fashion sense. After all, like the cars we drive and the music we listen to, our clothes are, in some way, an extension of ourselves. A fragment of our current or permanent disposition that we project outwardly using the creative vehicle of fashion as that outlet. Streetwear labels such as “Anonymous” contribute to precisely that.

The design method behind Anonymous is a symphony of culture, philosophy, and creative perspective. Using the universal power of words, their debut collection frequently features a singular word or phrase that artistically merges with intriguing painting depictions. Their unapologetic attention to detail and exclusivity ensures each fashion piece is personally exclusive to the individual with only a limited production line for each design. This intentional and uncommercialized approach is allowing a generation of creative and artistic individuals to boldly express themselves.

“I feel like this is one of the most inspiring eras — perhaps which is why it is the best time to introduce new ideas. People have moved beyond the cliched and ordinary. The brand is inspired by the mystique of underlying unity in cultural diversity. You will see a variety of languages in each piece showcasing how they beautifully come together and complement each other yet retain their own unique identity. It’s something that appeals to different mindsets.” Mariam added.

For Saudi Arabia, their fashion line can be found at Homegrown Market, Crate, and Amkana in Jeddah.

For the UAE: You can catch them at General 3am, Design District, Building 6, Dubai.

Follow them on Instagram at: www.instagram.com/a.for.a for their latest product features.

This article was first published in Arab News

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King’s new initiative to empower small income groups

Time: January 09, 2019  

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman speaks to Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadli during the launch of the Sustainable Rural Agricultural Development Program at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Wednesday. — SPA

Saudi Gazette report

RIYADH — Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman launched the Sustainable Rural Agricultural Development Program, which targets eight promising business sectors, at a ceremony held at Al-Yamamah Palace in Riyadh on Wednesday.

The King watched a video presentation, highlighting the salient features of the Program and its target sectors. The Program is part of the Kingdom’s strategy to optimize its resources, improve the income of small farmers, provide jobs, and achieve food security and balanced development.

Speaking on the occasion, King Salman expressed happiness over the competence of Saudis in all fields.

“This is a great blessing from Almighty Allah that the availability of all means of education in schools, universities and colleges across the country, that makes the Kingdom attain self-sufficiency by its citizens. But the greatest blessing is the security and stability in our country that made the work proceed smoothly in every field,” the Monarch said.

He noted that the greatest one of all the blessings is that the Kingdom is the land of the Two Holy Mosques. “Like any other members of the Royal Family and our citizens, I have the honor to be the servant of the Two Holy Mosques,” he said.

The Program targets the following eight sectors — production, manufacturing and marketing of Arab coffee; beekeeping and production of honey; development of cultivation of rose and aromatic plants; production, manufacturing and marketing of fruits; enhancement of the capacities of small fishermen and fish farmers; development of the sector of small livestock breeders; cultivation of rain fed crops, as well as the enhancement of the revenues of small holdings and agricultural activities.

Delivering a speech on the occasion, Minister of Environment, Water and Agriculture Abdulrahman Al-Fadli said that the program is one of the fruits of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 which seeks to achieve a balanced economic and social development among various segments of the society through the optimal and sustainable exploitation of renewable natural, agricultural and hydrological resources in several phases, of which the first phase starts today and the program will continue until the year 2025.

Last September, King Salman issued a royal decree approving the adoption of the Sustainable Rural Agricultural Development Program to support farmers in various regions of the Kingdom, with financial allocations amounting to SR7.35 billion for a period of seven years in addition to SR1.5 billion as the capital cost for the project.

Later, the Agricultural Development Fund allocated about SR 3 billion to finance the Program.

Al-Fadli said that farmers and their families across the Kingdom greeted the Program with joy due to its social and economic benefits, which exceed the allocated financial investments.

“The Program, through its eight sectors, would help empower small producers in the fields of agriculture, livestock breeding, fishing and production of honey through tapping opportunities and resources with the objective of diversifying agricultural production base in the rural regions,” the minister added.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette

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