UAE’s KRUSH Brands raises $4.5m in a pre-series A funding

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - DUBAI: Google drove SR12.2 billion ($3.5 billion) in economic activity in Saudi Arabia in 2021, signaling a new era of digital enterprises powering the economy of the Kingdom.

The search engine giant announced the figures in its latest impact report released on Tuesday. The report was based on public polling, economic modeling and third-party data.

“Saudi Arabia is young, smart and digital, and we’re proud to be an engine of growth in the country and an enabler in its digital transformation journey,” said Anthony Nakache, the new managing director of Google MENA.

“We’re excited to see what great things people can do there given the right tools and skills, and we are committed to doing more through programs and local partnerships.”

The report further stated that people in the Kingdom were using Google to learn new skills (75 percent), research COVID-19 (72 percent), and entertain their children with YouTube Kids (64 percent).

It further highlighted that 61 percent used Google to find new jobs, including an astounding 5 million Saudi women every month.

“Women were disproportionately hit by the pandemic,” said Nakache. “And so, being able to give them an opportunity to find a job and stay in the workforce is something that we are proud of and can have a massive impact.”

HIGHLIGHTS

Sixty-one percent people in Saudi Arabia used Google to find new jobs, including an astounding 5 million Saudi women every month.

Job search was also crucial for people in the UAE, with 67 percent turning to the search engine to look for employment opportunities, including 1.8 million women.

The total number of developers making $10,000 per month on Google Play grew by 15 in the Kingdom and 16 percent in the UAE last year.

In October 2020, Google announced a $13 million fund to help 1 million people and businesses in the MENA region learn advanced digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021.

Fueling the economy in UAE

Job search was also crucial for people in the UAE, with 67 percent turning to the search engine to look for employment opportunities, including 1.8 million women.

On the other hand, businesses also turned to Google and YouTube for their needs, with 71 percent of people in the UAE using Google Maps to find a local business.

The company drove 11.3 billion dirhams ($3.08 billion) in economic activity in the UAE in 2021.

Saudi Arabia is young, smart and digital, and we’re proud to be an engine of growth in the country and an enabler in its digital transformation journey.

Anthony Nakache

“So, to put things in perspective, this is the GDP contribution of Portugal and Denmark together,” said Nakache. “This is a big number.”

The tech giant is also working with the creator and developer ecosystem. For example, internal Google data showed that YouTube channels making six figures or more in revenue are up by 20 percent year-on-year in Saudi Arabia and 40 percent in the UAE.

According to Google data, the total number of developers making $10,000 per month on Google Play grew by 15 in the Kingdom and 16 percent in the UAE last year.

The Android Developer ecosystem supports at least 50,000 jobs in the UAE and 29,000 in Saudi Arabia.

“That’s a sign of a very healthy developer ecosystem,” said Nakache. “As the region attracts more developers, the contribution to the overall economy will grow. Developers often learn and study our technologies through some of our learning programs.”

Anthony Nakache, the new managing director of Google MENA, said: “We're excited to see what great things people can do there (Saudi Arabia) given the right tools and skills. Supplied

Encouraging startups in MENA

Google for Startups Accelerator in the Middle East and North America has also harnessed local entrepreneurial spirit. A case in point is Lamsa World, an Arabic education platform for children between the ages of two and eight.

Badr, the founder of Lamsa, built the app to encourage more Arabic-speaking children to read and learn Arabic. He took part in the Google startup program and registered a 300 percent increase in content downloads.

In October 2020, Google announced a $13 million fund to help 1 million people and businesses in the Middle East and North Africa learn advanced digital skills and grow their businesses by the end of 2021.

The program aims to accelerate the MENA region’s economic recovery through digital transformation by offering digital tools, training and financial grants to support local businesses and job seekers.

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