2 Saudi entrepreneurs to meet with Facebook, Uber and Google officials

The shortlisted applicants pose with the panel of judges. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 16 April 2019
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2 Saudi entrepreneurs to meet with Facebook, Uber and Google officials

  • Swish launched in October 2017 with a program called “MoHandles Basketball Camps,” aimed at teaching basketball enthusiasts the basics of the game

JEDDAH: Two Saudi startups will get the chance to travel to Silicon Valley in California, where they will meet with officials from several of the world’s biggest tech companies, having won a contest run by Saudi female startup group Blossom.
The Swish Basketball Academy, which started life as a series of basketball training camps, and the Sticky Mobile App, a photography program for phones, were the two successful startups.
The pair succeeded from a shortlist of five, narrowed down from an original list of over 100 applicants. They will now spend time in the US, where they will interact with officials from firms such as Google, Facebook and Uber, and get the chance to sit on Blossom’s panel at its annual event on June 26, previously opened by the new Saudi ambassador to the US, Princess Reema Bint Bandar, in San Francisco.
Blossom, Saudi Arabia’s first female-focused startup accelerator, spent four months screening the applicants.
Its founder and CEO, Emon Shakoor, told Arab News that during the process, the shortlisted applicants had taken part in mentoring sessions, workshops and pitching sessions, and attended lectures on an array of topics from digital marketing to business modeling.
“The five startups accepted into Blossom’s accredited accelerator for this year were: Ghaliah, a plant food alternative for providing non-dairy products; Homegrown Market, a concept store housing over 135 brands; Swish, the leading Saudi basketball academy; Sticky, an iOS mobile application and photo printing service; and the Jeddah Ballet Academy and Motion Boutique, a performing arts school,” Shakoor said.
Swish launched in October 2017 with a program called “MoHandles Basketball Camps,” aimed at teaching basketball enthusiasts the basics of the game. The founding coach of the academy, Mohanned Shobain, a Saudi professional basketball player, has been coaching for 10 years and holds a master’s degree in sports business from Cleveland State University, Ohio.
Shobain said that it was an amazing feeling to have been recognized by Blossom. “Our plan is to expand and be able to reach more communities in order to raise awareness of sports, for men and women of all ages.”
The Sticky App, meanwhile, is an app for taking and then printing photographs digitally. Sticky co-founder Albatool Misky said: “In the future, we plan to introduce new sizes and expand to the rest of the Middle East and North Africa.
“Also, we plan to keep innovating and introducing new smart, simple and contemporary photography products. Our goal at Sticky is to help people elevate their space with their beautiful memories.”


Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

Updated 19 April 2019
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Finance officials meet to map out Saudi Arabia’s budget plans

  • Finance representatives of 150 government bodies meet for the Budget Forum 2020

RIYADH: Saudi finance chiefs have kicked off a major conference in the capital aimed at mapping out the Kingdom’s budget requirements.
Around 300 specialists representing 150 government bodies met at the InterContinental hotel in Riyadh for the Budget Forum 2020.
Minister of Finance Mohammed Al-Jadaan welcomed delegates to the second edition of the gathering organized by the Saudi Finance Ministry under the slogan “Partnership and Empowerment.”
Al-Jadaan said the ministry was focused on “partnership and commitment,” and sought to share the challenge of developing an effective budget to achieve the Kingdom’s ambitious goals.
“We are also committed to empowering financial leaderships to learn about the ministry’s programs and projects and provide training and qualification opportunities to the best international standards,” he added.
The finance chief said the budget planning process required the collaboration of multiple authorities and a clear strategy based on transparency. 
Items up for discussion at the forum included financial planning in governmental bodies, automation, and the promotion of revenues and efficient spending.
Finance Ministry steering committee chairman, Abdul Aziz bin Saleh Al-Freih, stressed the importance of the forum in getting the ball rolling at an early stage on formulating a general state budget.
Workshops were held on the sidelines of the conference focused on empowering government organizations, and a training program on financial planning and income estimations was also staged.