Saudi Arabia has 3 cities in the top 1000 and is one of Middle East’s best countries for setting up a startup.
Saudi Arabia’s startup scene saw an increase in 2023 and jumped 6 spots from the previous year, outranking Egypt.
Saudi Arabia is in the midst of an active transition from an oil economy to a digital economy that is more open and integrated with the world. The country already has the largest technology market in the Arab MENA region, with a valuable technology sector. It is a regional leader in technology talent, with jobs in the technology sector and with a rising rate of participation of women in the ICT industry. As with all transitions, time is required to change the local mindset and to encourage more of its local population to take risks and build startups, namely women who have historically not received equal opportunities to participate in the economy. Recently, however, the Saudi government has been focusing on increasing economic diversification by developing the private sector and increased inclusion.
The Kingdom is supporting multiple initiatives and investments to transform Saudi Arabia into an innovation-based economy. One of the most prominent examples is Neom, a planned smart city in Saudi Arabia which is perceived as a living laboratory and a place where entrepreneurship and innovation thrives. Another technology-related initiative is Technology Growth Financing, which offers guarantees for tech startups and SMEs for up to 90% of the funding amount. It was launched by The National Technology Development Program (NTDP) in a strategic partnership with the SMEs Financing Guarantee Program Kafalah. On top of these initiatives, the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monshaat) is a key public sector organization that deserves a special mention for supporting the startups and SMEs through consultation services, networking opportunities, and other growth initiatives.
Blossom Accelerator has announced the Saudi Unicorns Program to support Saudi startups on their journey to become unicorns. Saudi startup ecosystems benefit from tremendous funding and forward thinking initiatives that promote startup enterprises. The Saudi market is also a great environment for startups to test products and services, as money is readily available thanks to the oil industry.
Saudi Arabia continues to focus on supporting the growth of startups in the ecosystem. For instance, Saudi Institutions have shown their support for the startups that are looking to grow with funds worth US$ 2.4 billion collectively. There is a wide range of funds from Merak Capital, Shooroq Partners, and several local banks to support the scaling of startups in the country. Another investor, the government-owned Saudi Venture Capital, supports the ecosystem with direct investments to funds and co-investments in startups. Last but not least, the country hosts the Leap Tech Conference, a three-day long event with the participation of over 100,000 attendees, showing a commitment to boosting entrepreneurship and developing the tech scene.
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Saudi Arabia is ranked within the top 100 startup ecosystems globally.
Saudi Arabia’s startup scene is best represented in Hardware & IoT, Ecommerce & Retail, and in and Fintech.
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On our map, you can explore a total of 24 startups for Hardware & IoT.
In Middle East, Saudi Arabia's Ecommerce & Retail is in top 53. Saudi Arabia has a concentration of about 22 of the region's total Ecommerce & Retail startups that are represented on our map.
Saudi Arabia's Fintech is ranked 58th in the world. Our database contains 12 for this industry.
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