(MENAFN - Arab News) The Saudi Company for Technological Development and Investment (TAQNIA) will set up a venture capital fund, according to a statement made by Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud, the vice president of the Research Institutes at King Abdulaziz City For Science and Technology (KACST), during his keynote speech at the Saudi International Technology Incubation Conference in Riyadh yesterday.
The event was the fourth annual conference for technology, innovation, entrepreneurship and incubation held under the patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. The theme of the symposium was 'Incubating Technology Innovation and Entrepreneurs' which highlighted that incubation is a major driver of innovation and entrepreneurship.
TAQNIA is a governmental entity owned by the General Investment Fund, the investment arm of the Saudi government. TAQNIA was established by a royal resolution No. (M / 47) dated 20/07/1432 H, based on the Council of Ministers' Resolution No. (217) dated 18/7/1432 H.
According to Dr. Al-Saud, TAQNIA will represent the technological investment arm of the Saudi government and take part in diversifying the national economy under the umbrella of the Kingdom's plan to move to a knowledge economy. He also indicated that the purpose of the company is to commercialize the research and development results carried out in the Kingdom and to help transfer technological innovation to the Kingdom in collaboration with international companies.
Dr. Al-Saud said KACST plans to spread its BADIR program to a national level to benefit a larger clientele of entrepreneurs and attract Saudi entrepreneurs with potential high-growth projects to enhance their businesses
BADIR program for technology incubators opens the door for business development support to people who have a feasible technology idea that can be commercialized into a business opportunity, Dr. Al-Saud said, adding that the KACST created the BADIR Program to meet some of the objectives of the National Technology and Science Plan.
BADIR actively advances, promotes and supports the entrepreneurial process for technology innovation throughout the Kingdom, through its comprehensive national programs and strategic policy initiatives.
Elaborating further on the proposed national program of BADIR, it was revealed that more incubators would be created throughout the Kingdom and BADIR would also initiate training programs for Saudi entrepreneurs to develop their business plans. Dr. Al-Saud said that 20 local entrepreneurs have earned a record income from their enterprises through the BADIR program during the last six months.
In his introductory remarks, Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Hargan Director of KACST-BADIR Program, explained that technology innovation and entrepreneurship are at the heart of all leading economies. " The Kingdom is investing heavily in these two fields as it recognizes their importance in sustaining the economic growth and prosperity of the country," he added.
The two-day event organized by KACST-BADIR aimed at providing stakeholders and practitioners in the incubation industry with a forum to meet with international and local experts to discuss the latest developments in technology entrepreneurship, innovation and financial support, as well as the role that incubators should play.
Al-Hargan also said the conference provides the opportunity for government, financial institutions, universities, research institutions, the private sector and the Chamber of Commerce to network, whilst questioning and discussing with international and local experts on the successes in technology business growth and means of supporting the industry.
The conference, he said, would help develop knowledge and understanding between incubation practitioners and stakeholders, while providing networking opportunities that support the development of the Saudi incubator industry, and its role in the creation of a knowledge-based economy and a diversified technology industry base.
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) is an independent scientific organization that encompasses both the Saudi Arabian National Science Agency and its National Laboratories.
KACST plays a pivotal role in the development of the National Science, Technology and Innovation Policy and leads 62 government agencies and over 190 national programs and related projects for the development of the Kingdom's strategic technologies. KACST also funds more than 400 independent research projects annually and acts as the Kingdom's patent office. KACST currently has over 2500 researchers and professionals on its staff.