RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is gearing up for LEAP 2024, the world’s most-attended tech event, from March 4 to 7 at the Riyadh Exhibition and Convention Center in Malham.
The pre-event gathering on Feb 28 announced this year’s theme as “Into New Worlds,” which encompasses new opportunities, technologies, and capabilities in the tech sector.
The event is organized by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Tahaluf Co., the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones, and the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, also known as Monsha’at.
CEO of Tahaluf Michael Champion told Arab News: “Into New Worlds showcases how technology can bring new horizons to different industries and create new opportunities, much of which we once thought unachievable.”
With artificial intelligence at the heart of LEAP, speakers will discuss its applications and impact, along with other innovations and emerging technologies across the four-day event.
LEAP 2024 will cover various topics across multiple stages, including the investor stage and main stage, with discussions on educational tech, retail tech, and fintech, as well as health tech, the fourth industrial revolution, future energy, and smart cities.
Over 600 startups and 172,000 people are expected to attend the conference, alongside more than 1,800 global tech exhibitors.
The event will feature over 1,000 international and local companies in the technology sector and more than 1,000 expert speakers from 180 countries.
LEAP 2024 will cover various topics across multiple stages, including the investor stage and main stage.
Discussions will be held on educational tech, retail tech, and fintech, as well as health tech, the fourth industrial revolution, future energy, and smart cities.
Over 600 startups and 172,000 people are expected to attend the conference, alongside more than 1,800 global tech exhibitors, such as Google, Microsoft, and Oracle, as well as Dell, Cisco, and Avaya.
SAP, ServiceNow, and Amazon Web Services will also be represented, alongside IBM, Alibaba, and Huawei.
The event will feature over 1,000 international and local companies in the technology sector and more than 1,000 expert speakers from 180 countries, and to accommodate this the 2024 venue is 170 percent larger than last year’s.
Saudi Arabia’s Vice Minister of Communications and Information Technology Haitham Al-Ohali is looking forward to welcoming thought leaders, influencers, investors, and innovators worldwide to LEAP.
“This edition arrives at a time when variables are accelerating, and generative artificial intelligence is a critical turning point at the economic and social levels,” said Al-Ohali.
Champion told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is emerging globally as a priority economy. For many, traveling to Riyadh will unveil a new world for them.
“We’re getting 7,000 registrations from abroad — business tourists, many of whom have never traveled to the Kingdom before,” said the CEO.
He said attendees can meet with key decision-makers through LEAP and create new partnerships.
Among the most prominent speakers and experts are Vice President & former UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs Angela Kane; CEO and President of Ericsson Borje Ekholm; and Chairman and CEO of IBM Arvind Krishna.
Other global figures include Government Chief Data Officer at the Republic of Estonia Ott Velsberg; Chief AI Officer at Schneider Electric Philippe Rambach; President and CEO of Nokia Pekka Lundmark; and Martin Vilig, co-founder of Bolt.
Champion said: “These are massive, global companies and their CEOs are all coming to this event, and I believe this is a real testimony to how important people are seeing Saudi Arabia now as a change-maker when it comes to technology and investments.”
Saudi Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Al-Swaha said that the third LEAP event will strengthen Saudi Arabia’s position as a hub for innovation and technology, attracting investment to this region.
There will be multiple memorandums of understanding signing stations all over the exhibition to facilitate agreements and deals.
“During LEAP, we announce billions of dollars of projects and significant MoU signings because we take seriously the need to use the event as a platform for business deals to happen,” said Champion.
The 2023 edition of the event saw more than $11 billion worth of deals and agreements reached, and its estimated 172,000 attendees helped cement LEAP as the biggest tech conference in the world.
The event will feature 10 stages discussing various aspects of technology, including health, education, and e-commerce. Among the 10, the main stage sessions will be aired live on LEAP 2024 social media platforms.
LEAP will host the investor stage, where the world’s top investors will discuss innovative investment opportunities. This stage will also address topics such as the intersection of technology with government policies and innovation, and successful financing strategies.
It will also feature the Startup Stage, where expert speakers such as Blossom Accelerator CEO and founder Emon Shakoor, Raiven Capital founding partner Supreet Singh Manchanda, and Adaverse founding partner Vincent Li will discuss startup growth and innovation.
The Rocket Fuel Pitch competition returns for Saudi and foreign startups, with prizes exceeding $1 million. Categories include the LEAP Award, worth $250,000 for the most outstanding startup across the whole competition; the Shooting Star Award, which allocates $150,000 for the early-stage startup beginning its journey; and the Aviatrix Award, which will see $150,000 given to the most innovative startup pioneered by women founders.
The Technology for Humanity Award will also come with a prize of $150,000, this time for the startup that best embodies the “tech for humanity” spirit of LEAP, while another $150,000 is given to the winner of the Into New Worlds Award for the most impressive startup occupying the Metaverse and Web 3.0 space,
The final $150,000 prize is part of the Artificial Intelligence Award for the startup that presents the most exciting, ground-breaking use of AI.
Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming, and Drones CEO Muteb Al-Qani said that they are keen to present a special experience to the visitors, as we will gather top speakers and tech experts from around the world.
“This event has been created to empower technology globally; therefore, the upcoming edition brings together the largest tech companies, startups, and investors, all under one roof, which has the potential to lead to numerous investments and launches,” he said.