Igniting innovation to spur Saudi Arabia’s economic growth

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - BIAC, a subsidiary of the Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA), wholly owned by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), recently announced a new operating model in its business functions. Nawaf Al-Sahhaf, the chief executive officer of BIAC outlines these new developments. 

Saudi Vision 2030 supports and promotes innovation. The Kingdom is fostering a sound environment conducive to stimulating entrepreneurship and creativity to enhance its impact and competitiveness in the dynamic global landscape.

Digital transformation is the central pivot of the Vision 2030, encouraging the public and private sectors to work faster to keep up with such change and boost SME contribution to gross domestic product (GDP) from 20 per cent to 35 per cent, localise edge technology and knowledge, and ensure the Kingdom is in the top 10 countries on the Global Competitiveness Index. 

At BIAC, we take pride in being the first company licensed in the Kingdom to manage incubators and accelerators, operating and managing more than ten business incubators and accelerators and our innovative programmes have contributed to Saudi Arabia's GDP by more than SAR 2.1 billion.

BIAC has contributed to the establishment and support of 700 beneficiary technical companies and reaching more than one million beneficiaries through our achievements. We strive to build a world-class entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem, and our innovative programmes led to the creation of more than 3,000 direct jobs and 200,000 indirect jobs.

Our strategy intends to provide an innovation-driven environment by operating projects and platforms in the public and private sectors, including technology transfer programmes. 

The first pivot of our strategy is to manage strategic partnerships, which will contribute to the development of research in the Kingdom and staying up-to-date on the latest global developments in our sector. This will allow us to actively contribute to the transfer and localise technologies, as well as grow the percentage of local technical content to attract local and foreign technical investments.

The second pivot is to achieve innovation by organising training camps, managing and operating business accelerators and incubators, innovation and research centres, innovative labs, idea-generating camps, virtual hackathons, specialised training programmes, venture builder management, and investment tours.

The third pivot includes supporting innovation through several services, most notably information technology, HR management and development, marketing and communication services, engineering project, utility services, procurement management services, account and financial affairs management services, as well as business development.

Moreover, our strategy will expand the application of the Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, provide cloud services in the area of engineering and industrial design, and develop supply chains to serve the public and private sectors, and build sustainable and digital knowledge-based society and economy.

Globally, the number of incubators and accelerators are on the rise, as they positively impact the GDP and growth. That said, open innovation is becoming a necessary tool for corporates to improve their innovation process significantly. 

The benefits are plenty, including reducing time-to-market, improving cost saving, developing novel products, minimising risks and increasing knowledge-sharing and idea generation.

Innovation is the most prominent driver of economic growth and diversification as it seeks to find solutions to all challenges, helps create quality jobs and new markets, improves product quality and services, and supports the acceleration of digital transformation in the Kingdom.

BIAC’s innovation-based strategy will contribute to building a sustainable digital society and nation, enabling the Kingdom to become a leading regional innovation hub and the top destination for digital investments in the Mena region.

 

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