10 Saudi entrepreneurs make it to World Economic Forum’s most promising Arab startups

The selected 100 Arab startups will have a chance to meet with government and business leaders at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Jordan on April 6 and 7. (WEF)
Updated 05 April 2019

10 Saudi entrepreneurs make it to World Economic Forum’s most promising Arab startups

  • The 100 startups, selected from almost 400 applicants from 16 countries, come a variety of sectors
  • The selected 100 Arab startups will have a chance to discuss and promote their businesses in Jordan on April 6 to 7

DUBAI: An online platform that offers quality home-cooked meals, a home maintenance website that links owners and service providers and a social learning platform are just among the ten Saudi companies that made it to the World Economic Forum’s 100 most promising startups for 2019.

The startups, selected from almost 400 applicants from 16 countries, come a variety of sectors including education, energy, environment, finance, health and the media. The WEF and the Bahrain Economic Development Board launched the initiative in 2017 to promote entrepreneurship and innovation in Middle East and North African region.

The Saudi entrepreneurs named as shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution in 2019 are:

- Ajeer, an on-demand platform that connects homeowners and maintenance service providers at competitive prices and high quality;

- DokkanAfkar.com, an e-commerce player focused on homegrown products and local entrepreneurs;

- FalconViz, which is focused on 3D surveying and mapping through unmanned aerial systems;

- Foodics, a cloud-based retail and restaurant management system for transactions, inventory, employee, scheduling, logistics, delivery, loyalty programs and e-commerce;

- HalalaH, a digital wallet that enables businesses to accept payments via a simple QR code-scanning methodology;

- Lucidya, an Arabic-focused social media listening tool powered by artificial intelligence;

- Mathaqi, an online platform where consumers could purchase quality, curated meals directly from home chefs;

- Mrsool, an on-demand service where users can request a courier to purchase (in cash) and deliver items for them from any store in the city;

- Noon Academy, one of the fastest growing on-demand ed-tech start-ups in the Middle East, with over 1.5 million registered students; and

- Unifonic, a cloud communications platform as a service.

The selected 100 Arab startups will have a chance to discuss and promote their businesses with government and business leaders at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa at the Dead Sea, Jordan on April 6 to 7.


UK ‘to decide on Huawei 5G next week’

Tensions have been rising between the UK and US over Huawei. (AFP)
Updated 18 min 54 sec ago

UK ‘to decide on Huawei 5G next week’

  • Chinese tech giant expected to be permitted to develop country’s 5G network

LONDON: The UK is expected to announce next week whether to allow China’s Huawei to develop its 5G network, an official said on Friday, setting out reasons for agreeing despite opposition from the White House.

The official said the decision had not yet been taken but that it was likely to be next week.
There had been speculation that the UK would allow Huawei into “non-core” elements of the next-generation 5G mobile networks, such as antennae and base stations attached to masts and roofs.
The US has banned Huawei from the rollout of its 5G network because of concerns — strongly denied — that the firm could be under the control of Beijing.
Washington has been lobbying London to do the same, even threatening to limit intelligence sharing between the two allies if Downing Street goes its own way.
The UK Business Secretary Andrea Leadsom said this week that a decision would be made “soon,” adding that many factors were being considered.
These included “the availability of other providers” and “the work that Huawei has already done in the UK,” she said.
The senior official said that London — unlike Washington — had been using Huawei technology across national systems for the past 15 years.
Security agencies believe they have managed the risk so far and will be able to do so with the 5G network, the official said.
Banning Huawei entirely could also cost “billions” of pounds and delay the rollout of 5G and full-fiber broadband, the official said.
There is also a problem in that few other firms have the technology that Huawei does.
The company provides the least expensive and most advanced alternative for super-fast data transfers behind technologies such as self-driving cars and remotely operated factory robots.
“There is a market failure here,” the official said, adding that while this could be addressed in the future, for now “we are where we are.”
The UK’s debate about Huawei has dragged on for more than a year, amid intense political turmoil over its exit from the EU.
Brexit day is now set for Jan. 31.