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ArabNet Riyadh 2016 to tackle Transformation Plan's impact on innovation and entrepreneurship

11 December 2016

Riyadh –  Under the patronage of the governor of small and medium enterprises authority, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), represented by Badir Program for Technology Incubators and accelerators, is hosting the fifth ArabNet Riyadh – the largest and most influential digital conference in the Kingdom – on December 12-14, 2016 to be held at the Four Seasons Hotel.                                                   

Over 80 speakers from across the world and MENA region are expected to participate in the events of the three-day forum, in addition to approximately 1,300 young entrepreneurs, investors and founders of major companies operating in the digital industry, who will discuss the potential developments and business cooperation opportunities, as well as discussing the establishment of digital interface in one of MENA’s strongest markets.

A key focus of the forum this year will be the National Transformation Plan and its impact on the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, along with strategic goals and initiatives related to digital innovation and entrepreneurship.

Mr. Nawaf Al-Sahaf, the Chief Executive Officer at Badir Program for Technology Incubators and accelerators at KACST,   stressed that KACST’s sponsorship of ArabNet conference for the fifth consecutive year is a confirmation of the city’s role and interest in supporting digital startups and entrepreneurship in the kingdom, pointing out that the conference is aimed at developing the abilities of programmers and specialists in technological field and enhancing their skills, leveraging technological entrepreneurship, and further exploring new and promising opportunities.

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He said the forum will cover three main tracks: National Innovation, Media, and Investment.

The National Innovation track will explore strategies for fostering the knowledge economy at the national level, covering the roles of the government and the private sector in stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as smart cities and corporate digital transformation.

Al-Sahaf said the participants will hold extended panel discussions in the National Innovation track, aimed at focusing on knowledge economy related strategies across the kingdom, exchanging ideas about best practices and plans for effective contribution in encouraging innovation and building knowledge economy, and the role of smart cities and digital transformation in companies, while the Media track will tackle how the future of online media is being shaped in Saudi Arabia and the region, and how brands, agencies and publishers are adapting to new platforms.

The Investment track will focus on encouraging investments in technology startups, bringing together venture capitalist, LPs, private equity funds, and corporate venture capital initiatives.

He added that the conference will also focus on the most prominent entrepreneurs, startups and game developers through Startup Battle (previously Startup Demo), Ideathon and Battle of the Games competitions, besides holding workshops aimed at enhancing entrepreneurs, designers and developers’ skills.

Moreover, Al-Sahaf said that over the past years, the conference provided a platform to launch emerging Saudi projects, and offered a hub for communication and learning among the youth, professionals, businessmen, and digital and technological specialists.

The ArabNet Riyadh 2016 has lined up prominent speakers, among them, are HH prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed, President of KACST;  Mazen Aldawood, Deputy Governor of The General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises; AbdulRahman Aljadhai, CEO, Elm; Ahmed El Alfi, Founder and Chairman, Sawari Ventures, Co-founder, Flat6Labs; Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief Commercial Officer, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC); Nathan Hull, Chief Commercial & Content Officer, Elly’s Choice; Scott Amyx, CEO, Amyx+; Sumeet Jain, General Partner, LUMA Capital Partners and Todd Embley, Director at Paris.

Badir is a Technology Incubator and accelerator Program launched by KACST in 2007. It is a comprehensive national program that seeks activating and updating technology business incubators, promoting technological entrepreneurship concept, transforming technological projects and research into successful commercial opportunities through supporting and patronage of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology incubators and providing the right environment for emerging technological institutions based upon principle of reducing risks and focusing on developing business to build a knowledge-based society and economy in the kingdom.

© Press Release 2016

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