U.S. Embassy Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
For Immediate Release
May 22, 2023
Building Momentum! Saudi Arabian and U.S. Tech Startups Conduct Multi-City Tour Across the United States
Twenty representatives from Saudi Arabia’s public and private sectors embarked on a multi-city tour to facilitate connections between the startup ecosystems of the United States and Saudi Arabia, with a specific emphasis on supporting women in the tech industry. The tour included the SelectUSA Summit’s tech startup program in Washington, D.C., a Detroit city startup program, and a San Francisco & Silicon Valley startup program. It was supported by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA), and The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (MONSHA’AT).
According to a report conducted by Boston Consulting Group and Meta, Saudi Arabia’s support for entrepreneurship and diverse business sectors is fueling an expanding startup ecosystem. Its fastest-growing sectors include tech, fintech, and especially e-commerce, which is predicted to surpass $13 billion in value by 2025. This tour built on this momentum, raising support for the Kingdom’s focus on developing its digital infrastructure, boosting Vision 2030 target sectors such as finance, healthcare, and education. Collaborations with the Saudi Arabian government will aid U.S. companies in entering the Saudi market and expanding their presence in the wider MENA region.
Among the Saudi participants were Ms. Tuba Terekli, Executive Advisor for Fakieh Group & Former Advisor to the Governor of Monsha’at, Dr. Haya al Shahrani, Director of Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Ms. Emon Shakoor, Founder & CEO of Blossom Accelerator, and Ms. Nouf Alhazmi, CEO of Plastus Biotech. These esteemed individuals represented the Kingdom’s commitment to fostering innovation and entrepreneurship. On the American side, key participants included
Regina Campbell, President & CEO of Build Institute, Kelly Kozlowski, COO of TechTown Detroit, Christianne Malone, Chief Program Officer of TechTown, Juan Carlos Velten, CEO Innovation Lab Silicon Valley at Plug & Play Tech Center, Darsh Mann, Head of Business Development at Stanford University’s StartX Accelerator, and Julie Abrams from How Women Lead. Their involvement highlighted the strong interest and support from U.S. organizations in expanding their presence and partnerships in the Saudi Arabian startup ecosystem. The tour dates were May 1 – 8.