By Arab News
RIYADH: Thousands of start-up owners, investors and other visitors flooded into the capital for two events in Riyadh on Wednesday.
The ArabNet Riyadh conference, which focuses on digital businesses in the Gulf region, and ArabNet’s Monsha’at Startup Saudi, attracted regional and international digital business leaders and investors who came to share the latest trends and business opportunities with an audience of more than 4,000 up-and-coming entrepreneurs and students and 200 start-ups.
The event was attended by Commerce Minister Majid Al-Qassabi and Saleh Al-Rasheed, governor of the General Authority of Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at), in addition to more than 300 global and regional leaders.
“At Monsha’at, we seek to support small and medium-sized enterprises and empower them in the drive for economic development,” said Al-Rasheed.
“This is a great addition to the Kingdom’s business community,” said ArabNet CEO and Founder Omar Christidis. “Thousands of attendees presented business plans to 100 investors from around the globe. Conferences like this bring together key stakeholders that are critical for the growth of the digital sector.”
“Here at this conference, we have regulators and corporations that represent some of the largest customer bases in innovation,” he added.
The opening ceremony was followed by a high-profile panel that discussed the components needed to make Saudi Arabia the region’s next Silicon Valley.
The panel featured prominent figures, including Careem Co-Founder Abdulla Elyas, Omar Al-Madhi, senior managing editor of Abdul Latif Jameel, and Khalil Al-Shafei, CEO and managing director at Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Venture.
The event also featured a number of dynamic initiatives to support entrepreneurs, including interactive workshops and pop-up stores for Instagram businesses. The event also allowed one-on-one meetings between executives and start-ups.