Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment and PIF-backed Jada partner to support start-ups

The ‘Catalyse Saudi’ platform aims to strengthen ties between Saudi entrepreneurs and investors around the world

The skyline of Riyadh. A new partnership between Ministry of Investment and the Jada Fund of Funds aims to stimulate growth in the kingdom’s start-up sector. EPA
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Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment and the Jada Fund of Funds have teamed up to create a platform that will connect Saudi entrepreneurs with investors abroad.

Catalyse Saudi will host a series of events, the first of which will take place this month in Jeddah and Riyadh under the theme of disruptive technology.

The events will bring foreign and Saudi entrepreneurs and investors together for networking, learning and engagement opportunities, the ministry and the fund said in a joint statement.

Events hosted by the platform later this year will explore the private equity and healthcare sector opportunities, they said.

“We hope this effort will help Saudi entrepreneurs and investors increase their access to international markets, capital and expertise, while also creating awareness among global leaders on the great opportunities in the Saudi market,” Mazen Al Jubeir, Jada’s chairman, said.

Saudi Arabia aims to increase the contribution of small and medium-size enterprises to its gross domestic product to 35 per cent by 2030, from 21 per cent currently, as part of its Vision 2030 economic diversification plan. Last year, the Ministry of Investment launched the National Investment Strategy to unlock the investment potential on offer in the kingdom for both domestic and international investors.

Venture capital funding to Mena start-ups has surged to $2.6 billion in 2021, start-up data platform Magnitt reported. The region’s most active markets – the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt – each had a deal worth more than $100 million.

The Jada Fund of Funds was established by the Public Investment Fund with an investment capital of 4 billion Saudi riyals ($1bn). Jada seeks to partner with private equity and venture capital funds that are focused on the Saudi market to help finance the growth of local SMEs.

“Innovative start-ups are the bedrock of developed industrial economies, which is why Saudi Arabia placed support for the sector at the heart of its National Investment Strategy,” said Minister of Investment Khalid Al Falih.

“We are committed to supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs and we know that access to finance is one of the key factors that enables growth of new enterprises. Private equity and venture capital funds can play a vital role in this process.”

Updated: March 21, 2022, 4:46 AM