Saudi inventions need to be market-oriented

Updated 11 June 2016

Saudi inventions need to be market-oriented

DAMMAM: The executive director for Bader Technology Incubators in King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and member of the Shoura Council, Abdulaziz Al-Harqan, has criticized exhibitions and inventors’ competitions, saying they don’t offer tangible services or results.

He added that inventors are presented in society as people who provide solutions for humanity. However, the reality is something else.
According to Al-Harqan, the patent is the first step toward building an innovative product, as the Kingdom places great importance on inventors by considering their inventions as an achievement in themselves. However, he noted that the Kingdom needs to concentrate on the outcome of the invention, especially since many patents don’t succeed because they are not suitable for the market or the requirements of technical trading, he added.
“There are a number of scientific establishments in Saudi universities that offer help to inventors who have patents. But the inventor needs to obtain the patent first,” he said.
Al-Harqan said the Saudi environment is capable of pushing our young people to invent in the first place, but it can’t take them to the next level.
He said that there are a few establishments that support innovators and inventors in the Kingdom but they lack important tools to support innovators, the most important of which is funding mechanisms that suit innovative establishments.
He pointed out that the issue is related to moving university research and inventions to the market. Saudi Arabia needs special laws such as the Bayh-Dole legislation, which was passed in 1980 and transformed university patents into commercial products. This law opened the door for market forces to invest in government research projects, and released the Intellectual Property Law from government bureaucracy.
He added that Saudi Arabia should amend the Civil Service Law to allow job seekers to participate in setting up companies that invest in IP patents within certain rules and regulations, which will lead to their participation in successful projects.
Tareq Al-Harbi, an inventor, said that exhibitions haven’t provided the needed support for inventors and had only 10 percent of the needed support. Presenting an idea during an exhibition could waive the inventor’s rights to obtain a patent, in addition to the increased risk of intellectual theft.
He called for the setting up of an authority for investing in new ideas, and which could change the current situation tangibly.
He also said that funds that support inventors have impossible conditions leading inventors to seek funding from other countries to support their inventions.
Innovation trainer Saleh Al-Ghamidi said that about 97 percent of inventions aren’t released to the global market, and only 3 percent exist in markets, because many inventions are not successful.
He pointed out that the benefit rate depends on the viability of the inventions and their ability to offer added value to the market. The successful invention doesn’t require new production lines. There should be a good feasibility study and sound marketing plan in addition to a working prototype. These conditions increase its success rate by 30 percent.
Al-Ghamidi confirmed that the testing phase before inventions reach exhibitions is very important. This involves testing the product and giving it an added value, in addition to training inventors on how to persuade investors in investing in their product.
This phase is more important than exhibitions because many inventions lack the basics that enable their inventions to succeed and convince investors of their viability. This phase can be rectified by establishing comprehensive infrastructure including training centers, labs and testing centers.
Yousif Al-Qous, another trainer, said that exhibitions don’t maintain their intellectual rights which lead many inventors to go to China or South Korea.
He said that bodies assigned to take care of inventors brag about them but don’t offer real support. He added that inventors are given a sum of money which is supposed to suit their inventions, but when they want to manufacture the product they are surprised by the high costs, highlighting the need to set incubators, such as Bader.

Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

Updated 26 min 33 sec ago

Local designers to share the spotlight during second Saudi Fashion Week

  • Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week
  • The Grazia Middle East Style Awards will this year take place in Riyadh

RIYADH: Emerging Saudi fashion designers will get a chance to showcase their work alongside internationally renowned peers — including Yahya Couture, Yuliya Yanina and Lama Askari — during the second edition of Saudi Fashion Week, which runs from October 21 to 25, 2018.

The dates were revealed by the event’s founder, Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, who made a statement with her choice of outfit for the official announcement: a black abaya with a traditional Saudi hand embroidered, red design.

The princess, who is the founder of Saudi fashion community and Saudi Fashion Week in Saudi Arabia, said she always dreamed of being part of the fashion industry and is working hard to help the dreams of others come true as well, by supporting local designers,providing them with a platform on which to showcase their creativity, and supplying them with the tools they need to succeed.

“This fashion week is sponsored by the GCA and we want to highlight our Saudi culture,” she said when asked how the second edition will differ from the inaugural event in April 2018. “Every designer is unique and designs in a different way. Our culture is not only about wearing an abaya; it’s what makes you comfortable as a person.

“We have more local names coming out and a program to support emerging designers. This is a platform with which we support Saudi designers, in their country, which they represent.”

However, it also embraces the wider international fashion industry, as well.

“it’s an exchange of cultures. It’s a platform for Saudi and other countries,” said Princess Noura. “When we speak about fashion, it’s a mirror that reflects our culture and modernity.”

To help launch the careers of Saudis who are just starting out in the fashion industry, a “Top emerging Saudi designers” program has been developed, and the country’s fashion community has chosen six designers to participate, some of whom are recentcollege graduates. It will offer them support and give them real-world experience of the fashion industry.

Riyadh will be the hub of Saudi Fashion Week, with three runway shows each day, beginning at 8pm. In addition, a fashion festival featuring pop-up stores will run throughout the event. The Grazia Middle East Style Awards, which is usually held in Dubai, will this year take place in Riyadh on the final day of Saudi Fashion Week.

“I want every designer in Saudi Arabia to not be afraid and to come out and show what they are made of. Be Brave,” added Princess Noura.