RIYADH: SHARIF M. TAHA | ARAB NEWS STAFF
Published — Thursday 20 December 2012
Last update 20 December 2012 4:17 pm
President of King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) Mohammed Al-Suwaiyel has expressed KACST’s readiness to provide all means of support to the technical entrepreneurs and incubator industry in the Kingdom.
Al-Suwaiyel, who was addressing a workshop on the performance of the Badir Program for Technology Incubators on Tuesday, said the drive would enhance the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), develop and localize technology in the Kingdom conducive to diversify income sources and create more job opportunities for young Saudis.
The event was attended by Prince Turki bin Saud, vice president of KACST for research institutes; Abdul Aziz Al-Haraqan, director of the Badir program; and other officials concerned with the technical incubator industry.
Al-Suwaiyel said the workshop came as part of KACST’s ongoing efforts to optimize investments in Saudi minds and support innovation and entrepreneurship based on the national plan for science, technology and innovation as well as other strategic objectives. The Kingdom’s goal is to shift from an economy dependent on natural resources to a knowledge-based one.
The workshop is an opportunity to exchange ideas, listen to all proposals with utmost clarity, review achievements and face challenges ahead to rectify performance and achieve a quantum leap in support of innovation, entrepreneurship and the technology incubators industry in the Kingdom, he pointed out.
On his part, Prince Turki reaffirmed that KACST had given special attention to scientific research, technology and innovation and supported all efforts toward the development of technical entrepreneurs and the spread of a spirit of innovation among young Saudis.
Prince Turki referred to the success the Badir program had achieved in initiating mechanisms to provide funding facilities for technical projects through the establishment of the Angel Investor Networks and the Saudi Business Incubation Network. He referred in particular to KACST’s efforts in setting up a technology firm with a capital of SR 500 million aimed at supporting emerging technical projects.
Badir Director Abdul Aziz Al-Haraqan reviewed the program’s progress in the last five years. He said more than 7,500 attendees had benefited from workshops, lectures and training programs organized by the program.