Saudi Arabia Launches New $200 Million Early Stage Startup Fund

Saudi Arabia Launches New $200 Million Early Stage Startup Fund

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has launched a $200 million (SAR750 million) fund for early-stage investment in local and global high-tech companies, as part of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) strategy.

The strategy, which aligns with the 2030 vision to diversify the kingdom’s economic resources, aims to transform research into economically productive innovations in sectors like health, sustainable environment and essential needs, energy and industrial leadership, and economies of the future.

His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Crown Prince, Prime Minister, and Chairman of KAUST Board of Trustees, launched the new strategy of the University. The strategy aims to transform research into economically productive innovations by focusing on the national priorities for research, development, and innovation: Health and Wellness, Sustainable Environment and Essential Needs, Energy and Industrial Leadership, and Economies of the Future. Additionally, the strategy aims to strengthen KAUST’s partnerships with both the public and private sectors, which will contribute to achieving the objectives of Vision 2030.

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud

HRH the Crown Prince said:

“Since the foundation of KAUST, it has distinguished itself with its research, innovations, and faculty, to become one of the leading research universities in the world. The new strategy builds on KAUST’s scientific and academic achievements and represents a new era for the University to become a beacon of knowledge and a source of inspiration and innovation in line with Vision 2030 aspirations for the betterment of the Kingdom and the world.”

The new strategy focuses on increasing the likelihood of turning research into economically beneficial innovations. This ambition will be achieved through three major initiatives: the launch of the National Transformation Institute for Applied Research (NTI) to accelerate technology development and commercialization to support the Kingdom’s economic diversification aspirations; the restructuring of research centers to align with national priorities for research, development, and innovation; and the creation of a $200m fund (SAR750 million) to deliver unmet investment in local and international firms specializing in high-tech, which will enhance economic diversification and contribute to the creation of high quality technical jobs.

The strategy also aims to provide quality opportunities for researchers, faculty staff, and students, supporting them to apply science and research to create a sustainable global impact by strengthening international and local partnerships. Among the most important initiatives resulting from these partnerships is the KAUST Reefscape Restoration Initiative, in partnership with NEOM, which will focus on cultivating and restoring hundreds of thousands of coral reefs on an area of 100 hectares, on Shushah Island in the Red Sea. Additionally, KAUST will continue collaboration with some of the largest companies in the Kingdom and the world, such as Aramco, SABIC, ACWA Power, IBM, Dow, and Boeing.

One of the most prominent initiatives of the strategy is to strengthen international partnerships and develop cooperation frameworks with leading academic institutions and technology pioneers in the world. This includes forging strategic cooperation agreements with leading academic and commercial institutes in the Chinese city of Shenzhen to collaborate on applied research across cutting-edge fields like aerospace, robotics, and microelectronics.


Featured image credit: Unsplash

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