Over 1300 Leaders and Entrepreneurs Will Gather at the Largest Digital Conference in Riyadh
For the fifth year in a row, ArabNet Riyadh - the largest and most influential digital conference in the Kingdom - is gathering Saudi Arabia’s government, largest corporations, and 1300 regional/international digital professionals and entrepreneurs, to do business. The event is hosted by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) and supported by Badir Program for Technology Incubators, and sponsored by some of the Kingdom’s top major companies, including Digital Media Services (DMS), Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Aramco, InspireU, Thiqah, OMD, Nabad, Payfort, IBM, Dubai Internet City, Rotana and TRACCS, amongst others.
A key focus of the event this year will be the National Transformation Plan and its impact on the innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem in Saudi Arabia. Badir CEO, Nawaf Al Sahhaf said "We believe this year, rapid development under Vision 2030 will undeniably make for richer, more engaging discussions on changes and opportunities in entrepreneurship."The forum will host three main tracks: National Innovation, Media and Investment, with 80+ speakers from across the world and MENA region, to talk about building the next digital frontier in one of MENA’s strongest markets.
The National Innovation Track will explore strategies for fostering the knowledge economy at the national level in KSA, covering the roles of government and private sector in stimulating entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as smart cities and corporate digital transformation. The Media track will tackle how the future of online media is being shaped in Saudi Arabia and the region, and how brands, agencies and publishers are adapting to new platforms. As said by Michel Malkoun, Chief Operating Officer at DMS, “ArabNet Riyadh aims to highlight not only industry trends, but will also be hosting discussions around upcoming developments, which will surely impact the digital marketing industry in KSA”. As for the Investment Track, ArabNet Riyadh will focus on encouraging investments in technology startups, bringing together venture capitalist, LPs, private equity funds, and corporate venture capital initiatives.
ArabNet Riyadh will also feature initiatives that are aimed at supporting the creation of new businesses and job opportunities in Saudi Arabia and the region. The “Startup Battle”, “Ideathon”, and “Battle of the Games” competitions encourage innovation and hone local talent; Startup Battle winners will compete regionally at the first ever ArabNet Startup Championship in Dubai in May 2017, and go global. The local “IBM SmartCamp” - a global pitch competition for early-stage startups - will also take place during ArabNet Riyadh. “The MatchUp” is a series of 1-on-1 meetings between high-level executives and fast growing startups; the “Design+Code Day” is a day of workshops to help developers and designers build their skills; “Women Mentoring Women” is a networking session that supports and mentors young female entrepreneurs and technology leaders; the OMD Academy is a half-day track dedicated to connecting brands and agencies with the latest trends in digital media while the OMD Backstage Pass features 1-on-1 Q&A interview sessions with the brightest minds in digital today. Finally, the Banking Track is an invitation-only workshop designed to brief banking leaders on the latest innovations and assist in finding ways to leverage technology to grow.
Over 80 speakers will take part in the event, including regional and international initiators of change such as Mazen Al Dawood, Deputy Governor of The General Authority for Small And Medium Enterprises; AbdulRahman Aljadhai, CEO of Elm; Ahmad El Alfi, Founder and Chairman of Sawari Ventures and Co-founder of Flat6Labs; Fahd Hamidaddin, Chief Commercial Officer of King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC); Nathan Hull, Chief Commercial Officer of Elly's Choice; Scott Amyx, CEO of Amyx+; Sumeet Jain, General Partner of LUMA Capital Partners; as well as Todd Embley, Director of Parisoma.
As stated by Saudi Aramco’s Managing Director, Sami Khursani, “ArabNet has always been at the forefront when it comes to a one-stop-shop platform for both entrepreneurs and investors. The conferences have succeeded in building bridges across the MENA region with a focus on highlighting challenges, methods of overcoming them, and the opportunities availed. Our presence here is to support all efforts exerted towards the enrichment of the Kingdom’s entrepreneurship ecosystem.”
The ArabNet Riyadh 2016 conference will be held on December 12 - 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel. Past ArabNet events have notably attracted top speakers, participants, and partners from corporations such as Smart Dubai, OMD, Souq.com, Du, Touch, Alfa, TBWA, Facebook, DMS, Majid Al Futtaim, JWT, STC, Twitter, Starcom, Criteo, SkyNews, VISA, Leo Burnett, Deloitte, LBC, Microsoft, Uber, Vivaki, GE, MakerStudios (Disney), FP7, 500Startups, International New York Times, and many more.
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