King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology allocates SR500m for startup tech companies

Updated 01 November 2017
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King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology allocates SR500m for startup tech companies

RIYADH: Technology companies throughout the Kingdom will get startup funds up to SR500 million ($133.3 million) from the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) during the first quarter of next year.
The initiative, launched by the Badir Program for Technology Incubators, one of KACST’s leading programs, aims to trigger the growth of Saudi startups for a positive impact on the national economy, increase productivity and create more job opportunities for Saudi youths.
According to a statement from Badir to Arab News, funding will be concentrated on the acceleration phase of these companies in exchange for a share in their capital.
The Badir accelerator also offers a wide range of advisory services such as training, follow-up and workshops, accompanied by continuous guidance, in order to develop the entrepreneurial innovations and translate them into existing projects within 90 working days.
According to a report in Magnet, specialized in linking startup entrepreneurs with strategic investors in the Gulf region and the Middle East, the volume of financing deals for startup technology companies announced in Saudi Arabia during the first nine months of this year increased by about 10 percent compared to the same period last year.
Among the startup Saudi companies incubated by the Badir program during the past three months, company graduates Foodics Company recorded $4 million in investments, Matic $3 million, and Smart Control $1.6 million, led by Saudi finance companies and supported by Gulf and regional investment groups.
In an earlier statement, Nawaf Al-Sahhaf, the CEO of the Badir program, said: “There is a need for active investments in the early stages of the life of startup companies; thus Badir accelerator is especially aiming at investing in startup technology companies, financing them in the early stages of incorporation, and supporting them with advisory services and required innovative thoughts, as well as close and direct cooperation with them through their incubation after the stage of acceleration to enhance the value of these companies.”


World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

A Saudi woman and her friends celebrate her first time driving on a main street of Alkhobar city in eastern Saudi Arabia on her way to Bahrain on June 24, 2018. (AFP / HUSSAIN RADWAN)
Updated 25 June 2018
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World applauds as Saudi women take the wheel

  • As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-ti
  • The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet 

JEDDAH: The world awoke on Sunday to images and video footage many thought they would never see — newly empowered Saudi women taking the wheel and driving their cars.

As the de facto ban on women driving ended after more than 60 years, women across the Kingdom flooded social media with videos of their first car trips, while some police officers among the large number out on the streets distributed roses to the first-time drivers.

The celebrations even reached as far as France, where Aseel Al-Hamad, the first female member of the Saudi national motorsport federation, drove a Formula 1 racing car in a special parade before the French Grand Prix at Le Castellet.

“I hope doing so on the day when women can drive on the roads in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia shows what you can do if you have the passion and the spirit to dream,” she said.

In a tribute to Saudi female drivers, the Lebanese soprano Hiba Tawaji released a special video of a song she performed live in Riyadh at a concert last December “Today women in Saudi Arabia can legally drive their cars,” she said. “Congratulations on this achievement, this one’s for you!”

Back home in Saudi Arabia, the atmosphere was euphoric. “It’s a beautiful day,” businesswoman Samah Algosaibi said as she cruised around the city of Alkhobar. 

“Today we are here,” she said from the driver’s seat. “Yesterday we sat there,” she said, pointing to the back.

“I feel proud, I feel dignified and I feel liberated,” said Saudi Shoura Council member Lina Almaeena, one of the first women to drive in the Kingdom.

She told Arab News that the event was changing her life by “facilitating it, making it more comfortable, making it more pleasant, and making it more stress-free.”

Almaeena urged all drivers to follow the traffic and road safety rules. “What’s making me anxious is the misconduct of a lot of the drivers, the male drivers. Unfortunately they’re not as disciplined as they should be. Simple things such as changing lanes and using your signals — this is making me anxious.

“But I’m confident: I’ve driven all around the world when I travel, especially when I’m familiar with the area. It’s really mainly how to be a defensive driver because you have to be.”