Press Release | Apr 13, 2022
GEC 2022 was co-hosted by Monsha’at, Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises, and the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) under the slogan “Rethink, Reboot, Regenerate”.
The investment went towards an array or programs and projects ranging from those to provide new financial products for entrepreneurs and mentorship schemes, to direct investments and loan guarantees.
Governor of Monsha’at, Saleh Ibrahim Alrasheed said: “Finance is the lifeblood of the entrepreneurial ecosystems, and to move ahead we need to make sure the right investors are connected to the right entrepreneurs.GEC 2022 in Riyadh has helped fulfil that critical task, underlining the significant interest that the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Saudi Arabia is attracting.”
The first day alone saw 34 agreements including those with companies expanding into the Saudi domestic market like Lenskart, GoDaddy, Kitopi and Cars24. Among big announcements were the Social Development Bank’s launch of new products and initiatives to support and empower entrepreneurs with a value of almost $3 billion.
GEN also announced the next phase of its chapter in Saudi Arabia, which will work alongside the leading entrepreneurial support organizations throughout the Kingdom to foster job creation and economic growth.
Jonathan Ortmans, Founder and President of GEN said: “Saudi Arabia is leapfrogging economies around the world in becoming an influential entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem. It’s an exciting time to be starting a new business in Saudi Arabia and we are excited to help in this journey with GEN’s programs, knowledge and networks earned from accelerating other ecosystems around the world.”
The Kingdom reported that 2021 was its best year yet for venture activity. Funding for startups nearly tripled year-over-year to a record $548 million across 139 deals, according to the 2021 Saudi Arabia Venture Capital Report published by MAGNITT.
Unifonic, a messaging platform, secured the country’s first VC megadeal, raising $125 million—the largest-ever funding round closed by a Saudi startup at any stage. Saudi Arabia is now the second-most funded country in the Middle East and North Africa, after the United Arab Emirates.
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak used GEC to set out the thinking behind his new space venture Privateer, which is seeking to map out “junk” that is orbiting the earth and could damage satellites, while Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph gave thousands of delegates tips on being a top entrepreneur.
Kathryn Forrest, Manager for Communications , Global Entrepreneurship Network
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