Saudi entrepreneurs aim to boost quality of life

The event gave the startups a chance to introduce themselves and the services they offer to potential customers before they launch. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 12 January 2019

Saudi entrepreneurs aim to boost quality of life

  • 17 Saudi startups showcased in Makkah event

MAKKAH: Seventeen startup businesses, the development of which was supported by Saudi investment company Wadi Makkah’s Nomo incubator, were introduced to the public this week during a showcase titled Rabi’ Al-Wadi (The Valley’s Spring).
Each startup organized various activities during the event, which took place on Jan. 9 and 10, reflecting the services they offer, many of which are aimed at families and improving social responsibility. These included workshops, competitions, consultations, lectures and bazaars.
One of the workshops, titled “Be Your Own Beauty Consultant,” offered women between the ages of 18 and 50 advice on choosing the right outfit to achieve the perfect look and introduced them to techniques for successful shopping and closet arrangement. “The Little Robot” workshop, meanwhile, introduced children between the ages of 5 and 14 to robotics. They were shown how to assemble a robot and then given the chance to compete in a robot building contest.
Other activities included support and advice sessions for mothers about raising children, and an introduction to the mechanisms and benefits of the “Economy of Communion,” an international initiative that aims to tackle social problems by creating businesses designed to become integral parts of their communities.
Dr. Talal Al-Maghribi, the acting CEO of Wadi Makkah, said that the event is designed to help startups incubated by Nomo begin to make a lasting contribution to society and, through the workshops and activities presented by qualified professionals, educate people about ways in which they can improve their lifestyles.
“Seventeen of the startups of Wadi Makkah’s incubator have not yet entered the market and will stay in the incubator for 10 more days,” said Al-Maghribi. “The work of some of these startups is focused on community leadership, while others provide Hajj and Umrah services, in addition to consulting firms for workshops, and auto parts.”
He added that the event gave the startups a chance to introduce themselves and the services they offer to potential customers before they launch.
Wadi Makkah begins an incubator program every six months to develop new businesses, Al-Maghribi said, not all of which make it to the market. Of those that do, some have enjoyed remarkable growth, he added.
The successfully launched businesses include one that provides social media analysis services to ministries, and another that analyzes congestion at Saudi airports. Some have also attracted investment from international companies.


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”