MITEF Saudi Startup competition announces winners

MITEF Saudi Startup competition announces winners
The nine top-placing participants have now won the right to participate in the 11th MITEF Pan Arab competition.
Updated 05 March 2018

MITEF Saudi Startup competition announces winners

MITEF Saudi Startup competition announces winners

MITEF Saudi Arabia, part of the MITEF global network, has announced the winning teams at the finals of the MITEF Saudi Startup competition.
Participants were competing in three tracks — Startup track, Social Enterprise track, and Ideas track. The winners were:
l In the Startup track, the first prize went to Quantum Solutions, with Avokado taking second prize and Ironix third. Quantum Solutions received SR100,000 ($26,666), with second place receiving SR25,000, and third SR15,000.
l Labayh took first prize in the Social Enterprise track, with Aquaponica second and Blooming Bs third. The first prize winners received SR100,000, SR 25,000 for second place, and third place SR 15,000.
l In the Ideas track, first place was awarded to Duleb, with Cucumber second and Qisma third. The first prize winner received SR20,000, with second and third taking SR15,000 and SR10,000 respectively.
The nine top-placing participants have now won the right to participate in the 11th MITEF Pan Arab competition, which will be held in Oman in April, where the best entrepreneurial ideas from across the region will be showcased.
During her welcoming speech, Sarah Ghaleb, senior general manager of education and entrepreneurship initiatives at Community Jameel, expressed her delight at hosting a selection of national and international guests, investors and entrepreneurs at the final event of the MITEF Saudi Arabia. She said this is the third year a new generation of Saudi entrepreneurs have shown their work in the field of ideas, startups and social enterprise.
The Saudi StartSmart conference was also held as part of the finals event, where distinguished speakers such as Princess Banderi Al-Faisal, chief executive officer of King Khalid Foundation, encouraged local entrepreneurs to keep developing successful social and commercial ideas and projects.
The MITEF Saudi Startup competition is staged by MITEF in partnership with Bab Rizq Jameel (a Community Jameel initiative), Zain Saudi Arabia, and Dulani Business Center.
The closing ceremony was held in Riyadh on March 3. The event was attended by Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qasabi, minister of commerce and investment, as well as prominent Saudi and Arab figures, investors, entrepreneurs, and media representatives.


Innovative heart surgery procedure launched to save more lives

Innovative heart surgery procedure launched to save more lives
Updated 13 April 2021

Innovative heart surgery procedure launched to save more lives

Innovative heart surgery procedure launched to save more lives

The Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Abdul Latif Jameel Health, launched a pioneering new medical procedure for the surgical reconstruction of the aortic heart valve that is projected to save more lives. The procedure makes Saudi Arabia the first country in the Gulf region to use the AVNeo technology for open-heart surgery. The US and Japan are among the first countries to use this technology, followed by Germany, Russia, Italy and Britain.

AVNeo (Aortic Valve Neocuspidization), which was provided by the Japanese Organization for Medical Device Development (JOMDD), is a standardized revolutionary procedural technique suitable for all age groups. According to medical studies, patients receiving the procedure will not be required to continue taking medication six months post-surgery. 

According to the World Health Organization, cardiovascular diseases account for 37 percent of deaths and are among the main causes of premature death in Saudi Arabia. These diseases are also increasingly becoming the leading cause of death globally, taking an estimated 18.6 million lives in 2019, which represents 16 percent of the world’s total deaths.

Developed by Professor Shigeyuki Ozaki, the procedure, which uses the patient’s autologous pericardium, is an innovative surgery for any aortic valve disease. Over the past 10 years, Prof. Ozaki has performed more than 1,100 cases and, to date, more than 5,000 cases have been performed globally. According to the latest data available (2018), as seen in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery, “the 10-year survival rate was 85.9 percent for AVNeo” compared to less than 80 percent for alternative procedures.

The agreement was signed at the Ministry of Health headquarters in Riyadh in the presence of Najlaa Kateb, director general of the Innovation Center at the Ministry of Health; Dr. Adel Tash, adult consultant cardiac surgeon; and Dr. Samira Al-Ghamdi, director general of the General Department of Specialized Centers. Abdul Latif Jameel Health was represented by Faisal Alsamannoudi, vice chairman and CEO of Abdul Latif Jameel Enterprises; Rowaid Al-Sawaf, chief corporate affairs officer, and Ahmed Al-Kathiri, general manager, projects department.

Kateb said: “We seek to facilitate and explore the possibility of applying such innovative medical technological solutions in the Kingdom’s hospitals in order to provide high-quality integrated services in the field of healthcare. The Ministry of Health continues its efforts through the ‘Future Foresight’ program at the Innovation Center, which aims to leverage the latest medical technological solutions and make them available to patients.”

Alsamannoudi said: “We are proud of this collaboration with the Ministry of Health, a pioneer in the health sector, implementing innovative projects to improve patient services. Over the past 75 years, Abdul Latif Jameel has transformed from a local company into a globally diversified business, with the creation of Abdul Latif Jameel Health marking an important milestone in this journey. Collaborating on projects like AVNeo will undoubtedly pave the way for further groundbreaking innovation in our work moving forward.

The Ministry of Health and Abdul Latif Jameel Health are currently seeking to have the new medical technique formally approved by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority, including setting up a program to train medical staff of the Ministry of Health inside and outside the Kingdom to perform AVNeo operations under the supervision of Dr. Tash.


Mastercard signs MENA region’s first tap-on-phone agreement with Geidea

Mastercard signs MENA region’s first tap-on-phone agreement with Geidea
Updated 13 April 2021

Mastercard signs MENA region’s first tap-on-phone agreement with Geidea

Mastercard signs MENA region’s first tap-on-phone agreement with Geidea

Global technology company Mastercard, and Geidea, the largest fintech company in Saudi Arabia by market share, have announced a strategic partnership agreement to accept Mastercard payments on Geidea’s tap-on-phone solution in Saudi Arabia — the first such agreement to be signed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). Geidea is the first fintech company to roll out this contactless payment acceptance technology across the Kingdom, which will enable businesses to use smartphones as payment acceptance devices.

Tap-on-phone is an innovative, intuitive, and cost-effective app-based solution that allows small businesses to quickly embrace electronic acceptance through their smart mobile or tablet device. With smartphone penetration of more than 70 percent in the Kingdom, tap-on-phone has the potential to reach more than 300,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and merchants in the first year alone. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a shift in consumer behavior toward digital and contactless payment channels, making it imperative for businesses to adapt and shift to a more online based model. We are therefore proud to partner with Mastercard and provide businesses with a relevant solution that offers the ability to accept safe, secure and seamless contactless payments through the tap-on-phone technology,” said Abdullah Al-Othman, founder and chairman of Geidea. 

At present, the Geidea network provides payment and e-commerce solutions to more than 100,000 merchants — covering 600,000 payment terminals and ATMs within the Kingdom.

As one of the many use cases, tap-on-phone enables more SMEs to accept secure card payments on delivery, in lieu of cash-on-delivery (COD) which is often the only on-delivery payment option. According to Bain.com, around 62 percent of MENA online shoppers choose COD as a payment method when buying online, compared with less than 5 percent in the UK and France. Cash conversion is key to developing the payment landscape and improving consumer experience.

“Enabling small businesses to sustain themselves and realize opportunities during and post the pandemic is of paramount importance to us. Through our partnership with Geidea, we can help small businesses expand their ability to accept digital payments and grow their earning potential. The solution will also help Saudi Arabia to transition safely into a secure digital payment ecosystem, without the risks associated with a large cash pool. In this respect we are proud to jointly make a significant stride to Saudi Vision 2030’s objective to increase digital transactions in the country. We will continue to leverage our network, insights, and technology to help inform and adapt their operations as we begin to enter a normalization phase,” said J.K. Khalil, country manager, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Levant, Mastercard.

Geidea also recently became the only non-bank institution in Saudi Arabia to be granted an acquiring license from Saudi Central Bank (SAMA). The license enables Geidea to process secure, fast, and seamless end-to-end payment solutions directly to merchants.


SEC deploys 10m smart meters in move toward digital

SEC deploys 10m smart meters in move toward digital
Updated 13 April 2021

SEC deploys 10m smart meters in move toward digital

SEC deploys 10m smart meters in move toward digital

The Saudi Electricity Company (SEC) has completed the installation and replacement of more than 10 million smart electricity meters, part of its most important project for digital transformation.

The project for smart meters was accomplished in record time of less than 13 months. During this period, the mechanical electricity meters were replaced with smart meters in all regions of the Kingdom, without the customer bearing any costs. 

Fahd bin Hussein Al-Sudairi, CEO of SEC, said: “With the installation of the 10 millionth meter, we completed installing and replacing the mechanical meters with smart ones. The customer will discern the benefits and services provided by smart meters gradually.” 

Al-Sudairi expressed the company’s happiness on accomplishing this project on time, despite the difficult and extraordinary circumstances the Kingdom and the world witnessed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

He stressed that this project would not have seen the light were it not for success granted by Allah Almighty and the limitless direct support from the government of King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, in addition to the cooperation of Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, minister of energy. 

The CEO asserted that the project meets the ambitions of SEC to serve its customers, pointing out that the smart meters and their technological and communication systems are resistant to the various climatic conditions, and are in conformity with the best local and international technical standards and specifications.

He said that smart meters are the company’s most important project toward digital transformation and it is the pivot for its strategy aiming to raise the standard of services for the better. It is also the most promising project toward comprehensive national development and a brighter future.

Al-Sudairi thanked all the customers for their cooperation during the installation of the smart meters in their homes and facilities. This contributed to the completion of the project in record time.

He also thanked the authorities participating in making the project a success. They included: The Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, Electricity and Cogeneration Regulatory Authority, Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO), Local Content and Government Procurement Authority, Communications and Information Technology Commission, as well as other executive authorities and manufacturers.

Nearly 4 million smart meters were manufactured locally, making up to 40 percent of the total number of smart meters in the project. Furthermore, all the meters were compared and the suitable models were chosen by SASO, according to the procedures followed by the National System of Metrology and Calibration (Taqyees).


Saudi solar firm to scale up energy projects in Nigeria

Saudi solar firm to scale up energy projects in Nigeria
Updated 13 April 2021

Saudi solar firm to scale up energy projects in Nigeria

Saudi solar firm to scale up energy projects in Nigeria

Saudi solar energy firm Desert Technologies (DT) revealed plans to provide large-scale financing to electrify villages in the sub-Saharan region, during its participation in a live online conference titled “Renpower Nigeria Investors 2021,” from March 31 to April 1.

Nour Mousa, founder and CEO of DT, discussed projects in solar PV and grid connected electricity access across Nigeria and other markets, among more than 200 high-level decision-makers, market participants and stakeholders from around the world.

The conference provided the participants with an opportunity to learn about the future of the renewable energy market and the Nigerian government’s plans to generate electricity using solar energy and encourage investment in solar energy projects in rural villages to improve education, water supply, health, agriculture, trade and security. 

During the conference, Mousa presented the experience of DT with inspiring insights and ideas. He said that the participation of DT in the virtual event came from its keenness and interest in the African and Nigerian markets, with DT having significant experience in providing solar PV products and solutions to commercial and industrial clients, as well as governmental and nongovernmental organizations. 

“DT is an independent, fully integrated PV solar energy platform with a proven track record as a PV developer, investor, EPC and operation and maintenance contractor, and PV solar panel and energy storage solutions manufacturer. Headquartered in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, operating across Africa, the Middle East and Emerging Asia, DT is a diversified company operating across the value chain of the solar sector,” Mousa said. 

He discussed the business case of Sahara, DT’s off-grid solution that grants sustainable access to electricity in remote and rural areas. Sahara is DT’s containerized solar generator, a very agile and versatile product designed to operate under different conditions. Through this system, small businesses will have the ability to light their shops and power their computers, while other businesses may require power to operate machinery and appliances such as refrigerators and electric sewing machines.

Mousa said that Sahara has been designed specifically in response to the critical need of enhancing electricity access in Africa, through micro-grid and off-grid solutions. Sahara is a plug-and-play, stand-alone system, which can support local communities and their development by relieving their dependency on power generated from the grid. 

“With the Sahara series, we are looking at a levelized cost of electricity at about 11 cUSD /kWh provided by the hybrid system, which is already half of what diesel is today. DT is planning to provide finance at a large scale and electrify villages in the sub-Saharan region,” he added.

Despite being the leading economy in the African continent in terms of GDP ($443 billion), the installed electrical capacity in Nigeria does not exceed 12,522 MW (2020), as only 36 percent of the population in rural areas has access to electricity. The federal government hopes to improve the situation through the Nigeria Electrification Project funded by the World Bank and the African Development Bank.


More opportunities at AISJ as school now offers IB program

More opportunities at AISJ as school now offers IB program
Updated 12 April 2021

More opportunities at AISJ as school now offers IB program

More opportunities at AISJ as school now offers IB program

The American International School of Jeddah (AISJ) is the newest IB candidate school in Saudi Arabia.

In January, AISJ received the official notification that their request to offer the IB Diploma Program (DP) was accepted. Their staff is now undergoing training to become certified to teach this curriculum.

This is an important step in deepening the school’s commitment to providing its students with the best possible education. Robert Jackson, AISJ superintendent, said he is thrilled with the school reaching this milestone. “The IB program will complement the stellar components already present in our secondary program allowing for students to have greater choice in their career pathways.”

AISJ is planning on offering the IB DP classes for the 2022-23 school year. In addition to offering the IB DP, AISJ will continue to offer the full suite of pre-AP (Advanced Placement) and AP courses to their high school students. The AP program gives students the chance to take college-level courses, and earn college credit starting as early as grade 9.

While other schools in Jeddah offer the AP and IB programs, AISJ will be the only school to offer both to their high school students. 

“Over the past three years, we have seen our AP Capstone diploma grow by 325 percent. We are projecting that this number will increase in the coming years and felt it was necessary to give students more opportunities at advanced coursework,” Rick VandenBoom, the high school principal said. “IB is a great fit because it will allow our students to pursue the IB diploma, the AP Capstone diploma or students can enhance their university transcript by experiencing a mix of both programs.”

Students at AISJ graduate and move on to attend top universities around the world, including Johns Hopkins, Harvard, King’s College, and McGill.