In the first German-Saudi start-up competition ten start-ups from all over the kingdom competed for a four-day start-up tour to Germany. The competition at the Rosh Rayhaan Hotel in Riyadh on 22 March was organized by the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs and was attended by Her Royal Highness Princess Johara bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud as guest of honour.
In his welcoming remarks, the delegate of German Industry and Commerce for Saudi-Arabia, Bahrain and Yemen, Mr. Oliver Oehms, explained “Today is about start-ups and entrepreneurship and we will bring the two winning start-ups to Berlin to showcase promising Saudi start-ups at a very interesting conference, the MENA Business Forum. Small and medium-sized companies and innovative business ideas are the key drivers of the German economy and a growing sector in Saudi Arabia.”
Ambassador Dieter Haller commended the guest of honour for giving a wonderful example for Saudi entrepreneurs and for helping to empower Saudi women. Regarding the start-up competition he went on: “The Saudi start-up is as vital and dynamic as any other segment of the Saudi society. We have thought that we should bring the Saudi and the German start-up scene together and one of the most fertile places for start-ups is Berlin. I am so happy that the two winning start-ups will be invited to this important conference in Berlin. My hope is that we will establish a continuous platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices between German start-ups and Saudi start-ups.”
Following the official opening, the ten finalists from Riyadh, Jeddah, Dhahran, Taif and Medina competed in two groups for a trip to Germany. They had two minutes to pitch their business ideas in front of the German-Saudi business community and a high ranking jury which had another two minutes for follow-up questions.
In the group of social entrepreneurship start-ups the winner was “Labayh” from Medina. The project helps individuals who are suffering from family and psychological problems by useful free content and providing consultation sessions through a mobile app which works as a point of connection between consultants and users.
In the group of tech innovation start-ups the winner was “Lucidya” from Jeddah. The company aims at empowering businesses in order to make smarter decisions by using artificial intelligence and big data technologies, so that they monitor and analyze all forms of digital media to understand and predict consumers’ thoughts.
The two winners will travel to Germany between 11 and 14 April and get the chance to pitch at the Mena Business Forum on 12 April 2018. Before and after the event, an exciting dive into the vibrant start-up ecosystem in Berlin is waiting for the entrepreneurs including individual meetings with successful German founders, investors, and experts.