Exploring 50 Investment Opportunities in Saudi Arabia: Boosting Start-Ups

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The Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar bin Ibrahim AlKhorayef, also Chairman of the National Industrial Development Center (NIDC), has announced that it is actively working with relevant authorities to attract 50 investment opportunities valued at more than SAR 96 billion into the machinery and equipment sector. These opportunities have been developed and uploaded onto the Invest Saudi platform to realize the National Industry Strategy (NIS) objectives, which aim to expand industrial activity in The Kingdom, reduce imports by up to 50%, and become a significant player in regional and global markets.

The minister also noted that through its “Future Factories Program” initiative, the Ministry is working on automating factory operations with a potential investor currently assembling industrial robotic arms – an initial step to develop the robotics industry in The Kingdom. Furthermore, policies and regulations have been developed by NIDC in cooperation with the Local Content and Government Procurement Authority to preserve existing factories by adding Hitachi Factory’s gas-insulated high-voltage switchgear products to the mandatory list of government procurement as well as supporting TECO Middle East (TME) Factory for electric motors’ qualification processes with major national companies.

On the other hand, Saudi Arabia led the (MENA) region in venture capital investments for start-ups during the first quarter of 2023, according to a report compiled by start-ups platform Magnitt. The kingdom attracted $359 million out of the total $818 million capital for MENA, more than any other country in the region. Egypt followed with $284 million, while the UAE was in third place at $152 million. In terms of number of exits, the UAE led in Q1 2023.

In the first quarter of 2023, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) led the way in terms of deals, each accounting for 30., according to Magnitt. Egypt registered nine transactions, making 94 deals across the region – 55% lower than in the same period last year and the weakest since Q4 2018.

The Gulf states invest heavily in developing an entrepreneurial ecosystem to diversify their economies and catalyze post-pandemic growth.

It is also worth mentioning that Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism (DET) reported that 4.67 million international overnight visitors arrived in the city during Q1 2023, a 17% year-on-year (YoY) increase from 3.97 million in the same period of 2019. This is just two percentage points shy of the pre-pandemic volume of 4.75 million in Q1 2019.

Dubai plans to offer continued opportunities for growth, powered by reformative and regulatory measures such as providing visas (e.g., Golden Visa, 5-year multi-entry access, virtual working, and retirement in Dubai programs) to simplify entry barriers.

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