Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of state-owned oil company Saudi Aramco, said it has recommended a combined 10.2 million Saudi riyals ($2.7m) for six Saudi entrepreneurs.
The new loans will be issued to Ahmad Al Khowaiter, the first Saudi producer of an oil and gas drilling compound, Motlaq Al Motairy, founder of Saudi Arabia’s first radioisotopes firm, Modern Isotopes, and Abdullah Al Otaibi, the founder of Green Energy, which converts used cooking oils into biofuels.
Wa’ed also recommended incubation seed funding grants for Nawaf Al Abra, founder of e-procure - a business-to-business platform built on blockchain technology, Ahmed Abdul Mohsen, founder of business software maker AshyaTech, which manages infrastructure, buildings and lighting, and Muhannad Al Hamed, creator of smart home solutions provider Home Run.
“The start-ups we recognise … are part of a new wave of Saudi-based entrepreneurs who are driving economic growth and diversification in the kingdom,” Fahad Alidi, managing director of Wa’ed, said.
Created as a wholly-owned venture of Aramco in 2011, Wa’ed has disbursed more than 400m riyals in venture capital investment, loans and incubation services to more than 100 kingdom-based start-ups.
Start-ups in Saudi Arabia attracted a record $168m worth of venture capital funding through 54 transactions in the first half of 2021, according to data platform Magnitt. This is about 94 per cent of the money extended to the kingdom’s start-ups in 2020.
Wa’ed is currently holding road shows across the kingdom as it seeks to select potential entrepreneurs to provide them with loans, incubation services and venture capital investment. The company hosted its first road show in Jubail on Monday. The next stops will be Yanbu, Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah and Makkah.
They will focus on start-ups operating in fields such as drones, security technology, reverse engineering, petrochemicals, environmental tech, FinTech, supply chains and tourism and hospitality.