A Rise in Support for Startups & Entrepreneurs
According to a report published by the global consultancy Roland Berger that was published earlier this year, the number of incubators and accelerators across the globe has multiplied by almost 5 times over the last decade. However, in the Gulf Arab region the boom is still beginning.
It all started with incubators and accelerators in the Gulf Arab Region and is developing to co-working spaces, education programs and funding as well. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia sees a rise in the number of organizations to help support entrepreneurs that can learn from international models and help adapt them for the upcoming regional ecosystem.
A lot of higher quality and more focused incubators are needed as the number of new investments is increasing. Mohamed Nawito, Incubator & Accelerator Program Manager at Wadi Makkah stated that “The Kingdom needs more incubators and accelerators with stable long-term funds, as the numbers of entrepreneurs is increasing exponentially, and the market has a lot of gaps to be filled,”
He also stated that “Tech startups are not only a great investment but also support the economy in job creation and delivering quality innovative solutions as well. Due to the increase of seed investment programs in the last years, we can see a number of startups with stable income and high recruiting power in different places in the kingdom.”
Some believe that entrepreneurs are under the conception that accelerators and incubators added value is weak, but this is not true today. Some of the local accelerators and incubators have grown to contribute significantly to the ecosystem adding to that many new international players entering the market.
When it comes to opportunities, we shall mention that the Business Incubators and Accelerators Company which is a subsidiary of TAQNIA and was established by Royal Decree to focus on setup, operation, and management of business incubators and accelerators as well as other entrepreneurship support platforms that are aligned with the Kingdom’s vision 2030.
Moreover, Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) which is the Kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund has set up a 4 billion Saudi Riyal fund (US$1 Billion) to provide access to capital for SMEs. “The opportunities are endless in the Saudi Market across the sectors,” Misk’s Alraee says. “Saudi is going through a deregulation across many sectors and industries, creating opportunities for disruption. Industries to watch include education, tourism, logistics, retail, e-commerce, healthcare, fintech, construction, legal, and govtech.”
According to Misk Alraee’s advice to startups, he considers joining an accelerator full-time when they reach the interview stage. “Get to know the program very well” he says. “Understand what it will cover so you can clearly see how it will support your startup and help you take it to the next level.” He also recommends joining if they are 100% committed to the program.
Driven By Growth: Saudi Arabia sees A Rise in Support for Startups and Entrepreneurs-Entrepreneur Middle East