The last week of 2022 I was invited by  Abdulsalam Alkuwaity عبدالسلام الكويتي, Founder & CEO of  SEA_Ventures  to Riyadh, KSA to witness the Saudi startup ecosystem.

I attended the Culinary Arts Commission and Theatre and Performing Arts Commission, sponsored by the  وزارة الثقافة Ministry of Culture – KSA.

Featuring aspiring entrepreneurs, policy makers and investors we were captivated by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the next generation of Saudi Entrepreneurs shaping Saudi Vision 2030.

Diversifying KSA tourism from religious to leisure based, trillions of dollars have been invested to revamp infrastructure and bolster both historical and cultural tourism activities too. 
By 2030, the KSA expects tourism to account for 10% of GDP (up from the current 3%), which means it is planning to attract 100 million visitors annually. And they are already on the right track, data from the UNWTO Tourism Batometer showed a +121% increase (2022) from pre-pandemic international tourism levels.

Given this opportunity, Saudis are playing their part to develop the ecosystem and  SEA_Ventures  developed the first of its kind ‘Artpreneur’ accelerator program for the Performing Arts and Theatre Commission- Ministry of Culture under the patronage of the CEO Sultan AlBazie. Featuring live performances followed by the startup pitches in the most entertaining demo day ever!

Keep in mind tourists have to eat too, thus the Culinary Arts Commission- Ministry of Culture under the patronage of H.E, CEO  Mayada Badr  have developed funding programs to promote culinary diplomacy, cultivating appreciation for Saudi cuisine and developing the state of the art culinary concepts.  SEA_Ventures  first Culinary accelerator developed co-manufacturing /co-packing capabilities alongside pop-up restaurant showcases (Takween) working alongisde the Zadeq Culinary Academy and  Misk Foundation‘s latest project in Riyadh – The City Hub.

The common theme was traditional foods, enhanced for the growing health and wellness segment. With the growing prevalence of chronic diseases, the GCC health and wellness market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.33% between 2022-2027 (IMARC Services Private Limited  2022).

After attending these showcases of Saudi talent and perservance, I have too many takeways and food for thought for this already long Linkedin post. But the one I would l like to leave with you today is:

Hire or Consult a Performance artist for your next company pitch. Their presentation skills are outstanding!

#ksa #culinaryaccelerator #artpreneurs

Established in 2016, SEA ventures is a sector agnostic accelerator HQ in Jeddah with regional offices in Riyadh and Sharqiyah. They support early stage startups through a series of programs including incubators, accelerators and venture buidling studios. 

Original Source