RIYADH: On the sidelines of the fifth MIT Enterprise Forum (MITEF) Saudi Startup Competition, the annual Startup Investment Forum will be held for the second year in a row this March.

Held digitally this year due to the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the forum will be held under the patronage of the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and will take place from March 4 to 6, with the winners of the competition being announced on the last day.

The forum, open to all startups from outside the Kingdom, allows participants to discover the opportunities available in the Saudi market, learn about investors, and benefit from insights and ideas offered by the StartSmart Conference held along with the forum.

According to the organizers, the forum represents an opportunity to attract regional and international startups to the Kingdom and allow them to present projects and ideas to a network of investors, businessmen, and governmental agencies.

It will also help generate interactions between existing startups and potential investors, providing participants with financing opportunities. Additionally, 27 teams will qualify for the finals of the MITEF Saudi Startup Competition fifth edition, and the Startup Investment Forum will host 23 innovative startups from all around the globe that seek to enter the Saudi market.

Bayan Abdullah Alghamdi, Head of entrepreneurship programs & MITEF Saudi, highlighted the importance of supporting the entrepreneurship sector, citing the role startups play in enhancing economic growth.

“We are keen to work hand in hand with all public and private entities, such as the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, the Ministry of Investment and the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at), to support the goals of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2030 Vision and enhance the contribution of small and medium enterprises to the gross domestic product,” she said.

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The startup competition has three tracks: the Startups Track, the Social Track and the Ideas Track. Participants will compete for a SAR 325,000 cash prize, in addition to having the opportunity to attend workshops, training, and guidance sessions supervised by specialists and experts in all economic and social sectors.

Finalists will have the opportunity to participate in StartSmart, an MIT Global Forum programs which will be attended by specialists from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Additionally, as part of the MITEF Pan Arab Region, the 9 winning teams of the MITEF Saudi Arabia Competition will be invited to participate in the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Startup Competition.

MITEF Saudi Arabia is part of a global network of chapters dedicated to the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation worldwide. MITEF informs, connects, and coaches Saudi entrepreneurs, enabling them to rapidly transform ideas into world-changing companies.

Founded in 2015 with the goal of promoting and enriching the entrepreneurship ecosystem in Saudi Arabia, MITEF aims to celebrate and support all potential startups and entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.



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