Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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Saudi plans $1.1 bln fund for smaller companies

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Mon Aug 1, 2016 | 1:37 PM EDT

Aug 1 (Reuters) – Saudi Arabia will establish a $1.1 billion fund to develop its venture capital industry and support the creation of small and medium-sized companies ….

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هل يمكن التنبؤ سلفاً بنجاح شركة ناشئة بناء على فكرتها فقط؟

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من السهل على المرء أن يسخر من الأفكار السيئة التي تطرحها بعض الشركات الناشئة – مثل إنشاء موقع لتأجير المراحيض على غرار موقع (Airbnb) لتأجير البيوت – لكن ليس من السهل المسارعة إلى اختيار الأفكار الجيّدة قبل الآخرين.

أقرأ المزيد

Source: http://linkis.com/ae.aliqtisadi.com/UwiCN

An app must stand out to remain competitive


Last updated: Tuesday, July 01, 2014 9:55 PM

JEDDAH – As smartphone users grow exponentially, so as app offerings and usage, too.  And one of the key aspects for creating a value-generating mobile app rests with end-user experience where design is a priority.

Andreas Roell, CEO of Carib Ventures, concurred. “Absolutely, we believe in development from a user centric perspective. Our solution was built with target customer involvement in all stages of project development cycle: strategy/feature decisions, user experience design and testing. As with our Ramadan Phone solution, it was important to provide a technical complex execution in the most simple and intuitive experience. Design is the key to accomplish this. By designing to the preferences of targeted consumers, we are able to connect with users immediately based on their preferences and expectations. As an example, our solution provides a complete Ramadan experience to consumers’ entire phone. To make the solution immersive and expected, we placed heavy emphasis on integrating Ramadan typical themes with technology advanced phone settings. For us designing properly for target audiences and expectations sits at the core from making our solution a superb and talked about solution.”

In an interview with the Saudi Gazette, Roell said with hundreds of thousands of apps competing for space on customer smartphones, it is essential for an app to stand out.

The growth of app offerings and usage has been exceptional and continue to grow at significant rates. Statistics and our analysis show that of all apps consumers have on their smartphones, on average they only use between 3-4 on a regular, ongoing basis. All the others, they tend to use regularly only for about 30 days. So the challenge for developers is to be as relevant and as user friendly as possible. If a consumer can say “This is very valuable in my life and I enjoy using this app” than there is a chance to succeed in gaining a user’s share of mobile time.”

He further said the biggest challenge for developers is to require a consumer to click on the app to “turn it on” for usage. “We have taken a complete different approach with our Ramadan Phone. Knowing that the holy month changes people’s daily routines significantly, we decide on providing an “always on” concept. We wanted to make it as easy as possible to provide our relevant content and experience to users. So instead of just being an app that you have to click on to gain access to the content, our solution integrates fully with a phone and brings the consumer a Ramadan experience during the regular course of phone usage.”

When developing a mobile app, Roell moreover said, there is a need for integration with backend systems and pre-existing infrastructure. “If a brand is building a mobile ecommerce app, due diligence in regards to melding with an ecommerce system is crucial. Businesses must consider the capacity of existing systems to handle additional transactions and traffic,” he said.

The needs and complexity can vary significantly based on the objective and the features of an app. Some key elements of staying fresh and relevant in a user’s mind is to keep content updated on an ongoing basis.

“Therefore, there is very common use of so-called content management systems (CMS), which are technologies that allow app managers to enter and schedule content that appears in the apps. In our case, the Ramadan Phone was solely built with a so-called “Live content” orientation. In this environment, our phone experience changes content and images, such as wallpapers, numerous times a day. Our content editors use a proprietary CMS technology to ensure that content is published at the right time, to the right audience, worldwide,” he pointed out.

The other very crucial technical element of an app success is the ability to deliver a smooth experience based on access availability and speed. Here, hosting capacities and connection speed are the key to success. Specifically, the ability to either plan to proper app usage levels or set up hosting environment in a way that allows for redundancy. This is exactly, what we have done with our Ramadan Phone. The hardest part is to properly predict usage levels of an experience such as ours. You can plan as much as you want, but we have seen many times, that apps can become a global sensation in matter of hours and all of your expectations have been broken. Our approach is to set up a hosting environment at the level of projections, and at the same time have additional hosting capacities that we can quickly switch into for expanded capacities. This is instant and non-noticeable to consumers and guarantees them a smooth experience.

Carib Ventures’ Ramadan Phone mobile experience is an Android only solution. It is built to be compatible with all Androids version 2.2 (Year 2010 versions) and up to the latest versions. “We have focused on Android only as it is the most immersive operating system available and the only capable of executing this innovative solution we have developed. We want our solution to bring the best Ramadan innovation possible to Muslims around the World and Android is the only platform to give us this opportunity.”

Asked about its plans for tablets, he expressed that  “our Ramadan Phone was built to latest, best practices development standards called responsive design. With this approach of programming, our solution is automatically optimized for any Android mobile device being it a smartphone, tablet or interactive television. This means flawless experience at any screen resolution, device and version of operating system.”

Amplifying the attributes of Ramadan Phone application, Roell stressed that it “is not a regular app. We have developed the first of its kind Ramadan themed phone experience. Here, users turn their phone in celebration of the holy month into Ramadan designs. So without having to remember clicking on an app to experience Ramadan, our solution brings Ramadan to every normal mobile activity. For instance, all icons of the phones are adjusted to reflect Ramadan. The daily clock is adjusted to display the proper position of the moon and sun where a user is in the World. The solution was built with patented technology and we are the only company being able to deliver such an experience.” — SG


Wa’ed Startup Lab – A New Breed of Incubators in Saudi

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by Ahmad Al-Naimi, September 5, 2013


How do you foster entrepreneurship in a risk-averse culture?

Some would say that Saudi Arabia has all the ingredients for a thriving entrepreneurship scene: top talents, lavish resources, and increasing government support. However the tangible result (in proportion to the potential) is by all scales inhibited. Observers argue that Saudis’ are missing one key element for a successful recipe: risk taking

A risk-averse culture limits deal flow and restricts innovation. The tens of business incubators around Saudi Arabia and the investment institutes will tell you that innovation and deal flow are their top two challenges. Our young talents graduate from the best schools and race to the biggest corporates seeking security, leaving no “buffer” in between.

Wa’ed have recently launched their own take on business incubators. Wa’ed Startup Lab, located within the campus of King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM), is a new breed of business incubators that is fast-paced and technically-biased. But what is most impressive about this initiative is the fact that they have solved the risk-aversion challenge.

Last month Wa’ed Startup Lab announced the first round of CO-OP to Entrepreneur, a pioneering program that enables senior university students with innovative ideas to form teams and create companies as part of their academic curriculum. This initiative essentially creates a fail-safe environment for innovative ventures, where student-entrepreneurs work full-time for 3 to 7 months (depending on their majors) under the provision of Wa’ed Startup Lab and with the support of an army of high caliber mentors, technical partners such as Microsoft, and networking opportunities with industry leaders.

The CO-OP to Entrepreneur initiative is significant to the ecosystem because ambitious entrepreneurs no longer need to compromise their academic pursuits or limit their scaling potential. More importantly, the program brings several long term benefits, such as fostering entrepreneurship from the bottom up, offering unparalleled internship experience, and potentially creating successful companies that will diversify the economy and boost creative job opportunities.

Currently Wa’ed Startup Lab is hosting six student-led startups all from KFUPM, with plans to scale-up future rounds to include all universities within the Kingdom.

Wa’ed (Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center) is Saudi Aramco’s arm in fostering entrepreneurship in the Kingdom, offering a wide range of support services for the local economy, including debt and equity funding, business development training and mentorship, and best-in-class business incubation. You can learn more about Wa’ed from their website: http://www.waed.net



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Entrepreneurs at crossroads: The key to success with JS Cournoyer


KFUPM Rector HE Dr. Khalid Al-Sultan and Jamal Al Akkad, 1st Venture Concept Competition 2013