Wa’ed nearly doubled its financial support to Saudi-based start-ups to SR19.1 million during a national entrepreneurship roadshow, following its decision to issue SR8.9 million in new loans and grants at an event in Yanbu.
The socially distanced gathering at the King Fahd Cultural Center in Yanbu saw Wa’ed recommend two loans and three incubation seed grants to five new start-ups. Wa’ed on Sept. 6 set aside SR10.2 million for six start-ups at its first roadshow in Jubail.
The Yanbu roadshow highlighted the petrochemicals sector and drew entrepreneurs from a range of fields. The remaining roadshows will focus on drones, security technology, reverse engineering, green tech, fintech and tourism, among other sectors.
“With this second round of support in Yanbu, Wa’ed is broadening its commitment to the next generation of ambitious Saudi entrepreneurs,” said Fahad Alidi, the Wa’ed managing director.
Wa’ed’s financial support to Saudi-based entrepreneurs during the campaign is set to rise further as the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco continues its national tour with roadshows planned in Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah and Makkah through Dec. 6.
In Yanbu, Wa’ed recommended loans be issued to Rawabet, Saudi’s first supplier of rubber rings, grommets and other parts for the auto and appliance industries, as well as to Tech Air (Surrati), developer of a new-generation air filtration and sanitization system for buildings.
For business incubation, Wa’ed recommended a SR75,000 seed grant to Buy Sell Online Marketing Company, a start-up platform that enables companies to obtain comparative price quotes for chemicals; a SR50,000 seed grant to Rama Farms/iRAMA, creator of hydroponics and aquaponics farm environments using advanced smart technologies, and a SR25,000 seed grant to Sorting Medical Waste, a female-led project developing a smart device to sort medical waste for safe disposal.
The awards were presented at an event co-sponsored by The Royal Commission at Yanbu, overseer of one of Saudi Arabia’s largest industrial zones.
Created as a wholly owned venture of Aramco in 2011, Wa’ed has helped drive growth of the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial ecosystem by deploying more than SR400 million in VC investment, loans and incubation services into more than 100 Saudi-based start-ups.
The next Wa’ed Entrepreneurship Roadshow will be held on Oct. 5 in Jeddah. Applications are open to entrepreneurs through November. — SG