Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia

Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia
The company has been diligently driving accelerator programs such as Founders Hub and GrowthX, focusing on improving company performance. (Shutterstock)
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Updated 30 May 2022

Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia

Microsoft reinforces startup revolution in Saudi Arabia
  • Program supports entrepreneurs with technology, tools and resources

RIYADH: With Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 blueprint stirring up the entrepreneurial landscape, startups in the Kingdom are all steamed up to take their businesses to the next level.

A case in point is the widening scope of the Kingdom in Microsoft for Startups, a global incentive program of Microsoft Corp. dedicated to helping startups to scale their growth. 

“Ten percent of our startups in the region right now are in Saudi Arabia, and the numbers will grow way more because the ecosystem in the Kingdom is really heating up,” Roberto Croci, managing director at Microsoft for Startups, the Middle East and Africa, told Arab News.

Ten percent of our startups in the region right now are in Saudi Arabia, and the numbers will grow way more because the ecosystem in the Kingdom is really heating up.

Roberto Croci

The program supports entrepreneurs with the technology, tools and resources required to build and run their business, besides leveraging its corporate and enterprise network to provide startups with market intelligence and mentorship. It essentially bridges the gap between startups and big companies.

“If we can make these resources accessible to startups, I think we’re unlocking a huge potential,” said Croci.

He further added: “This is where we want to differentiate. At the top of the technology pillar, we want to help startups build great products that can scale and integrate with third-party applications.”

The hunt for talent 

The company has been diligently driving accelerator programs such as Founders Hub and GrowthX, focusing on improving company performance rather than funding.

“The two main pillars of our programs are centered around access to technology and markets,” Croci said while adding that the platform will launch a new accelerator program to focus on sustainability startups in the Middle East and North Africa.

The platform plans to widen its horizon by focusing not only on the funding aspect of a startup but also on the impact it leaves on society at large.

“We always read about funding rounds in the news, but what about the funding outcome? Are these startups growing? We should talk about successful startups, not those that raise huge sums, but those that leave a lasting impact on society,” opined Croci.

The company focuses on startups in stages between pre-seed and series B, especially pre-series A and series A.

Microsoft does not directly invest in startups, but when the company finds growth potential, it recommends them to M12, a venture capital fund under its fold.

The company also hosts “demo day” for the fledgling companies, an event that directly connects them with the investors.

Thanks to the encouragement, fintech and healthcare firms have emerged on top of Microsoft’s startup mountain and are well poised to unleash a growth wave in the economy. 

As they say in the angel funding circles, there is no greater joy than catching them young and watching them grow.


Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub to open region’s first vertical aerospace complex

Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub to open region’s first vertical aerospace complex
Updated 9 sec ago

Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub to open region’s first vertical aerospace complex

Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub to open region’s first vertical aerospace complex
  • Facility will offer 86 leasable units in bid to attract SMEs, startups

DUBAI: Mohammed Bin Rashid Aerospace Hub at Dubai South announced that its Suppliers Complex, the first vertical aerospace facility in the region, will be completed in September, Emirates News Agency reported.

The facility is seeking to attract SMEs and startups by providing solutions for multipurpose activities.

The Suppliers Complex is a G+3 development with more than 12,000 square meters of light industrial space, allowing aerospace companies to quickly establish operations.

The facility has 86 leasable units for companies that provide maintenance services, trade aircraft parts, and operate aircraft as well as drones.

“The new facility is in line with our mandate to provide the aviation industry with the required infrastructure and facilities to set up their businesses as part of the overall ecosystem that we have at MBRAH,” MBRAH CEO Tahnoon Saif said.

“We are also offering exclusive incentives to companies, mainly startups and SMEs, and we will spare no effort to cement Dubai’s position on the world aviation map,” Saif added.

MBRAH is a free-zone destination for the world’s leading airlines, private jet companies and associated industries. The hub provides high-level connectivity to global aerospace players.

Home to maintenance centers as well as training and education campuses, MBRAH aims to strengthen Dubai’s engineering industry and realize the emirate’s vision of becoming a leading aviation hub.

 


Qatar sees 12-fold jump in surplus on energy profit

Qatar sees 12-fold jump in surplus on energy profit
(Getty)
Updated 19 August 2022

Qatar sees 12-fold jump in surplus on energy profit

Qatar sees 12-fold jump in surplus on energy profit

RIYADH: Qatar witnessed a 12-fold jump in its budget surplus to 47.3 billion riyals ($12.8 billion) in the first half of 2022, compared to 4 billion riyals in the same period last year, driven by soaring energy revenues.

Oil and gas revenue surged 58 percent to 150.7 billion riyals during the period, recompensating the increased government spending on wages and salaries, Bloomberg reported citing data.

Qatar revenues are mainly generated by long-term contracts to supply liquefied natural gas, typically tied to the price of oil. 

The Gulf country is benefiting from Europe’s interest in diversifying its gas supply away from Russia in the long-term. Qatar tries to tie up buyers for new LNG contracts for very long period, Bloomberg said.

The International Monetary Fund projected the country’s economy will grow 5.4 percent this year and generate a surplus equivalent to about $45 billion. 

Qatar is preparing to host this year’s soccer World Cup.

The World Cup organizers have said they’re anticipating a $17 billion boost to the country from hosting the soccer tournament.


Abu Dhabi eyes double money through Miami Hotel record selling price

Abu Dhabi eyes double money through Miami Hotel record selling price
(Shutterstock)
Updated 19 August 2022

Abu Dhabi eyes double money through Miami Hotel record selling price

Abu Dhabi eyes double money through Miami Hotel record selling price

RIYADH: Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund is exploring the sale of the Miami Beach Edition Hotel in which the property could fetch more than $580 million, as it is seeking to more than double its money.

This deal would mark a record on a price-per-room basis for the Miami market, Bloomberg reported citing people familiar with the matter.

Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, also known as ADIA, acquired the Edition for $230 million in 2015 from Marriott International. 

The hotel has 294 rooms and suites including oceanfront bungalows, and restaurants designed by Jean-Georges Vongerichten, according to its website.

ADIA is working on exploring the interest of potential buyers with an adviser, one of the people said, asking to be anonymous. ADIA spokesman declined to comment to Bloomberg. 


Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan sign agreement in the energy field

Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan sign agreement in the energy field
Updated 19 August 2022

Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan sign agreement in the energy field

Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan sign agreement in the energy field

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy signed a memorandum of understanding with its Uzbek counterpart on August 18, to develop cooperation and exchange information and experiences between both countries, in the energy field, Saudi Press Agency reported.

This comes on the second day of the Saudi-Uzbek Business Council in Jeddah, that was held on the sidelines of the visit of the Uzbek President Shavkat Mirziyoyev to the Kingdom.

This deal covers the areas of petroleum, gas, electricity, renewable energy, energy efficiency, petrochemicals, and hydrogen.

It also includes the circular carbon economy and its technologies with the aim of limiting the effects of climate change, such as carbon capture, reuse, transport and storage.

Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have already signed over 10 investment agreements, worth over SR45 billion ($12 billion), on Wednesday, covering different sectors.


IsDB, Uzbekistan strengthen cooperation

IsDB, Uzbekistan strengthen cooperation
Updated 19 August 2022

IsDB, Uzbekistan strengthen cooperation

IsDB, Uzbekistan strengthen cooperation

JEDDAH: Islamic Development Bank President Mohammed Al-Jasser met with Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev on August 18 to discuss strengthening cooperation between both parties, Saudi Press Agency reported.

A letter of intent was signed during the meeting to provide a framework for facilitating cooperation, promoting rapid processing and approval of projects and operations that are part of the work program of the IsDB Group for Uzbekistan in 2022.

The meeting comes on the second day of the Uzbek President's visit to the Kingdom.

Mirziyoyev stressed that his government has implemented comprehensive reforms with the aim of improving the business and investment environment, enhancing regional cooperation, improving the agricultural sector, and promoting innovation and entrepreneurship to reach the goal of achieving dignity for all people by 2026.

Both parties reviewed views on the National Development Strategy of Uzbekistan 2026, and agreed on the need to align the bank's country strategy with the national document, a task that will be worked on as a priority, according to Al-Jasser.

The two sides also emphasized the need to facilitate the joining of more co-financiers to participate in financing larger projects.