Saudi entrepreneurs forge new partnerships on 8,000-km India train journey

Saudi entrepreneurs forge new partnerships on 8,000-km India train journey
Saudi entrepreneurs forge new partnerships on 8,000-km India train journey

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - NEW DELHI: Saudi entrepreneurs have started their 8,000-km train journey across India to brainstorm with other innovators from G20 countries and forge new collaborations with Indian startups.

The journey, Jagriti Startup G20 Yatra 2023, comprises 60 delegates from G20 countries and Indian participants who took part in the Startup20 engagement group under this year’s Indian presidency of the world’s biggest economies.

The round trip that started in Mumbai on Saturday will take them to 11 Indian cities before it ends on Nov. 10.

The co-organizer of the journey is Saudi startup incubator HealthGena, whose project manager, Alaa Hanifah, said it was a “unique opportunity” to strengthen his relations with Indian entrepreneurs and look for potential business ventures, partnerships, and investment opportunities in India’s technology, sustainable development, and e-commerce industries.

“The experience has been incredibly enriching so far. The nicest thing that happened was when a group of entrepreneurs spontaneously organized a pitch session onboard, showcasing their startups and receiving valuable feedback from peers,” he told Arab News on board the train.

“My expectations from this journey are to gain insights into different business models, learn from the experiences of other entrepreneurs, and potentially discover new opportunities for partnerships or investments.”

Five of the participants arrived from Saudi Arabia for the program that falls under the umbrella of the Startup20 engagement group.

For Abdulmajeed Al-Yaseen, strategy and business operation director at Salasa, a shipping and logistics company based in Riyadh, it was an important experience of interacting with people of different cultural backgrounds and learning about their lives during the journey they set out on together.

“It’s been great and challenging at the same time,” he told Arab News, adding that it was also a “great chance” to connect with Indian entrepreneurs for potential collaborations.

“Technology and AI are the major sectors that I’m interested in, but I came here with an open mind to any potential opportunity,” he said.

Jagriti Yatra, a non-profit organizing the journey from the Indian side, signed a cooperation agreement with HealthGena during the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Alliance Summit in New Delhi in July.

“This will help in promoting Indian-Saudi entrepreneurship culture and amalgamation of entrepreneurs from both places,” said Rahul Kumar, the organization’s media head.

“The Indian participants who are interacting with the Saudi participants are definitely keen on being part of some entrepreneurship. Indians are also very excited to be part of the entrepreneurship (ecosystem) in Saudi Arabia.”

During the 14-day journey, young entrepreneurs are not only establishing connections and expanding their networks but also taking part in workshops and lectures.

The journey has been organized by Jagriti Yatra for the past 15 years, but it is the first time that it has seen so many foreigners.

“People are selected based on their journey of entrepreneurship, their willingness to learn about entrepreneurship,” Kumar said.

“This year, it is happening in association with Startup20. We have (made sure) to have participation from all the G20 nations.”

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