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GCF highlights Kingdom’s support for entrepreneurship and innovation

By MD RASOOLDEEN | ARAB NEWS

Published: Jan  22, 2012 03:06                Updated: Jan  22, 2012 03:06

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah said on Saturday that he is happy that the Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) would further deepen the spirit of competitiveness among business leaders which would eventually uplift the standard of life of the people in the Kingdom.

On behalf of King Abdullah, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah read out the King’s speech at the inauguration of the Sixth GCF in Riyadh on Saturday.

More than 1,000 guests ranging from government officials to private sector businessmen were present at the glittering ceremony.

Both the minister and Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal, deputy governor for Investment Affairs of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority SAGIA and also its president of The National Competitiveness Center (NCC), distributed awards to the sponsors of this major event which has drawn more than 100 speakers from all around the world.

The event, sponsored by SAGIA, is being held in Riyadh for the sixth consecutive year.

Reading out the king’s speech, Al-Rabiah said such competitiveness would lead to sustainable economic growth that could create more job opportunities for the people in the Kingdom.

Competitiveness will also diversify the Kingdom’s economy into new sectors, he noted .

“Competitiveness is a key incentive for investments,” the minister said, adding that SMEs would also benefit from such developments in the economic sector.

Welcoming the guests, Abdullah Saleh Al-Hozaimi, chairman of the organizing committee of the GCF, thanked the guests for attending the function which would provide a forum to exchange experience in competitiveness and promote development of trade in the Kingdom.

The forum comprises 35 sessions and 140 local and international speakers.

Over the years, GCF has successfully highlighted the importance of a competitive and innovative marketplace.

This event will reiterate the benefits of entrepreneurship and tap into young, entrepreneurial minds to effect change.

On the second day of the forum, SAGIA will honor the fastest growing companies in Saudi Arabia and formally announce the names of this year’s winners of the Saudi Fast Growth 100.

Un-Chan Chung, former prime minister of South Korea, will deliver the closing keynote address.

“The Entrepreneurship Imperative” — will be the overriding theme of this year’s event.

The forum will analyze the aspects of social, government and corporate entrepreneurship.

Key areas of discussion will include the importance of failure, value of risk and the anatomy of an entrepreneur.

This year will also see the inclusion of breakaway workshops that will expand on some of the topics discussed onstage in a smaller and more personalized setting.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, are scheduled to deliver separate keynote speeches.

George Buckley, chairman and CEO of 3M, is slated to deliver the keynote address at the opening session on Sunday, focusing on the institutionalization of entrepreneurship.

John A. Quelch, distinguished professor of international management, vice president and dean at CEIBS, the leading China-based international business school, will moderate most of the panel sessions at the Forum on the first day. Quelch is the senior associate.

The morning sessions on Day 2 of the conference will focus on global risks, with a keynote address by Prince Turki Al-Faisal.

The panel session on Global Risks, titled “The Challenges Ahead” will be moderated by John Defterios of CNN.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Saud bin Majid Al-Daweesh, Group CEO of Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Arif Naqvi, founder and CEO of Abraaj Capital, Dennis M. Nally, chairman and CEO of PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Robin Niblett, director, Chatham House, London, will take part in the panel discussions.

“An apple a day is no longer enough,” a session dedicated to health care, will look at the impact of technology on health while “Aerotropolis” will assess how the new model airports can become the key nodes of global production and enterprise systems by connecting workers, suppliers, executives and goods to the global marketplace.

Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School, will deliver the keynote address on the third day of the forum.

The final day sessions focus on venture capital, “intrapreneurship”, “greenovation,” impact of natural disasters, innovation, competitiveness, and disruptive technologies.

The “greenovation” panel will include Abe Sher, Chairman and CEO, Aqua Sciences; Ditlev Engel, CEO, Vestas; Joseph Adelegan, president, Green Globe Trust and Founder, Global Network for Environment and Econonmic Development Research, Green Power Partnership Limited and Michael Czysz, CEO, Motoczysz

The day will also feature Marco Tempest who has earned fame as a techno-illusionist. Imagination and creativity will again be key topics at “Disruptive Technologies — Life Extension and Other Emerging Sciences” which will be moderated by Arlan Andrews, founder, SIGMA, and addressed by Catherine Asaro, physicist, author; Kathleen Goonan, writer; and Mark O’ Green, science fiction game writer.

The convergence of science, technology, engineering and math to create new solutions to complex challenges will be in focus at the subsequent session where the young will share their ideas and insights.

Ariell Buckingham, student entrepreneur, Caspar Hobbs, CEO, professional and vocational education, Pearson, Kyle Wong, student, entrepreneur and Tammy Camp, managing partner, Camp International and entrepreneur will address the session titled “The Innovation Generation.”

http://arabnews.com/economy/article566438.ece

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