Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, 09 March 2023: Leading entrepreneurs from across the Middle East gathered last week at Jeddah Initiative Hub for a live session titled Entrepreneurial Ecosystem: Driving Innovation & Disruption, which was followed by a panel discussion complete with top players in the region, from companies including Careem, Baytonia, Taffi, Khwarizmi Ventures, and The Space.
The LBS Alumni Gulf Association of Jeddah with Professor Luisa Alemany from London Business School hosted the interactive, and insightful entrepreneurship event, which was followed by networking for the more than 50 people who attended the sold-out event. The diverse audience included C-suite professionals from a range of industries, as well as students and graduates from various universities and institutions.
A growing startup ecosystem is fuelling Saudi Arabia’s economic development despite decreasing entrepreneurial activity in other parts of the world. Magnitt’s Venture Capital Report, compiled in collaboration with Saudi Venture Capital, shows that Saudi Arabia’s start-ups received $987 million in venture capital funding across 144 deals in 2022, an increase of 72 percent from last year. The kingdom was the second-most funded geography after the UAE in the Middle East and North Africa for last year. Capital investments in the region accounted for 31 percent of the total.
A key highlight of the event was a 30-minute Masterclass on venture capital as a key driver of regional innovation, where Professor Luisa Alemany spoke about the power of venture capital financing to transform the trajectory of a startup and shared practical tips and strategies for entrepreneurs seeking to raise funds. This was followed by a one hour fireside chat with the panellists who shared their stories of triumph and adversity and their hard-won lessons on entrepreneurship, leadership, and the importance of taking calculated risks, based on their experiences across the Middle East.
Professor Alemany, whose main areas of expertise are Entrepreneurial Finance, Venture Capital, Entrepreneurial Education, Business Angels, and Venture Philanthropy, acted as moderator on the night.