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.”


Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

Masjid Quba in Madinah is a favorite destination for Hajj pilgrims, according to tour guides. Below: The Cave of Hira, Al-Baqi’ cemetery and the Prophet’s Chamber allow visitors to step back in time. (Getty Images)
Updated 15 August 2018
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Hajj 2018: What’s on pilgrims’ bucket lists

  • A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities
  • Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies

RIYADH: Hajj is one of the biggest dreams of every Muslim’s life, and pilgrims looking forward to their stay in Makkah and Madinah say a bucket list is the best way to plan the trip. 

Most of the sites in the two holy cities are spiritual, giving pilgrims a sense of the prophecies. Standing in the places of the Holy Prophet transports them back to the past as if they lived those incredible moments. 

A number of companies in Makkah and Madinah help people organize their trips, making sure they cover the important sites in the two holy cities.

Sayed Shafei, an operation manager for City Sightseeing, a tour company in Madinah and worldwide, told Arab News: “We offer a special tour with a multilingual tour guide presented in eight languages. We also offer 24-hour tickets. We have scheduled tourism trips starting from the Prophet’s Mosque to 12 destinations every 30 minutes. The whole trip lasts for 14 hours a day.” 

Asked about the most popular requests, Shafei said: “Our customers always ask to visit Masjid Quba, the Sayed Al-Shuhada Mosque in Uhud, which is considered a vital historic landmark of Madinah, and Al-Qiblatain Mosque.” 

Most of the group’s customers are from East Asia, but many also visit from Kuwait, Bahrain, the UAE, Indonesia, Malaysia, the US and Europe.

Munirah Al-Jebreen, an English instructor at Princess Noura University who will perform Hajj this year, told Arab News her bucket list began with an online search. 

“I found a travel guide on Google that has all the best sites in Madinah and Makkah, so I decided to visit Uthman ibn Affan’s Farm and Well in Madinah, the Holy Qur’an exhibition, and one of the most important places I want to visit is the grave of the Holy Prophet,” she said.

The area between the Prophet’s Chamber, which holds his grave, and the Mimbar is known as the Rawdah, which is actually the Garden of Paradise. It is presently distinguished by a green carpet.

Al-Jebreen also listed some of her planned tour destinations in Makkah, including the Cave of Hira, where the Holy Prophet meditated frequently during the first 40 years of his life and the site of the first revelation. 

She will also visit Bilal Mosque and Mount Abu Qubais and, finally, will try Al-Garmushi, one of the famous traditional restaurants in Makkah.