German companies optimistic about investment in Saudi Arabia

Members of GESALO working from home in the wake of COVID-19.
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Updated 23 April 2020

German companies optimistic about investment in Saudi Arabia

The year 2020 will always be associated with the coronavirus. The effect on the worldwide economy is currently difficult to predict and will most probably be felt for many years.

German companies are facing challenges around the globe. The German business community in Saudi Arabia is adapting to the new digital routine in an attempt to ensure business continuity in the Kingdom.

The German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs (GESALO) has digitized many of its offerings and is conducting digital meetings between the Saudi-German business community and institutions.

“GESALO is delighted by the professionalism and responsiveness from the private as well as government sectors enabling the German-Saudi relationship to continue in these challenging times,” a statement said.

“Starting and continuing the dialog today will lay a strong foundation for the time when international travel restrictions will be lifted and face-to-face will be possible again. GESALO popular weekly webinars — many in cooperation with local entities — have started making an impact and are playing a pivotal role. 

We would like to thank our Saudi partners for their contributions and fruitful discussions, therefore enhancing the partnership.”

Dr. Samra-Rohte, delegate of GESALO, said: “COVID-19 is one of the biggest challenges GESALO, part of the German Chamber of Commerce Abroad (AHK), has seen since it was founded in Riyadh more than 40 years ago. 

“However, thanks to digitalization and a solid long-standing business relationship with our partners we will overcome the crisis and look forward to emerging stronger after the crisis through further fruitful cooperation.”

One focus area is the field of renewable energy, where German companies are seeing the potential for investment and cooperation in upcoming tenders. 

Besides solar and energy efficiency, hydrogen is one of the topics currently discussed. 

Furthermore, the food sector, especially in the field of organic food, offers great opportunities. 

The medical sector of Saudi Arabia is another area of interest for German medical equipment producers as well as operators for the upcoming privatization of hospitals. The ongoing megaprojects within Vision 2030 are, despite COVID-19, very much on the agenda of German companies, according to the press statement. 

KAUST’s conscious investor program region’s first

Updated 24 September 2020

KAUST’s conscious investor program region’s first

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has partnered with the investment platform VentureSouq, startAD, the Abu Dhabi-based global accelerator anchored at New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), and its partner Tamkeen, to launch the first Conscious Investor Fellowship in the GCC. The pan-regional fellowship is a six-week virtual program dedicated to enabling regional investors in the GCC to create sustainable change through impact investments. The program, which will take place from Oct. 7 to Nov. 25, comes as part of the upcoming annual Angel Rising Symposium, to be held virtually between Nov. 24-25, which provides education and conversations on the future of the angel investment sector and how it can fuel national and regional innovation.

The fellowship aims to empower the next generation of regional mission-driven investors who will fuel emerging ventures using technology for meaningful change, resulting in a measurable positive impact. Twenty-five investors from family offices, corporate and government entities will be welcomed as fellows of this inaugural cohort, where they will learn how to identify and invest into tech-enabled impact-driven startups.

The program will cover conscious investment strategies, startup diligence and valuations, impact measurement, portfolio management, and global sector trends in the impact space. Elective thematic masterclasses will also be offered, with a specific focus on health tech, educational tech, environmental tech, and agricultural tech. Participants will be able to apply their knowledge and invest in live deals through VentureSouq’s Conscious Collective Fund. The inaugural edition is held in collaboration with the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center and Hub71.

Hattan Ahmed, head of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center, said: “KAUST is driven by a mission to advance research and create new technologies that address our greatest global challenge in food, water, energy, and the environment. We are starting to see more deep tech startups emerging from the ecosystem, disrupting existing industries and creating new solutions to these challenges. The Conscious Investor Fellowship is a key step to advancing this ecosystem and educating regional investors about the potential of emerging technologies and their long-term value. For Saudi Arabia in particular, there is a unique opportunity to nurture this deep tech ecosystem for real economic transformation.”

Ramesh Jagannathan, research professor of engineering, vice provost for entrepreneurship at NYUAD, and managing director of startAD, said: “Conscious investment is a growing global force, accelerated by the ongoing impacts of the global pandemic. In the UAE, and specifically Abu Dhabi, we have a unique opportunity to engage with this global trend, given that the emirate has the highest net potential wealth globally.”