More wonderful news for Saudi Arabia as the Kingdom witnessed a recent 144 percent growth in tech firms run by Saudi women. This increase in women-run companies registered in Badir Program for Technology Incubators last year has been a significant one compared to the last five years.
According to Saudi Gazette, Badir, which means “to initiate,” is a Technology Incubator Program launched by the King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in 2007. This national program aims at accelerating the growth of emerging technology-based businesses in Saudi Arabia. Since its establishment until the end of 2017, a total of 239 projects have been provided technology incubators, providing 1,615 full-time and part-time jobs to Saudi men and women.
To date, there are 44 women-run companies registered in the program and more are expected to enroll according to Badir’s CEO, Nawaf Al-Sahhaf. He also explained that the growth of female-led firms can be attributed to the support they are receiving with regards to their ambitious initiatives and innovative ideas. The program provides women with a suitable work environment and helps them manage their businesses, and special offices and workshops are also provided to train them.
Al-Sahhaf called on more Saudi female entrepreneurs interested in converting their technology ideas into successful investment projects to contact the program, which also provides logistical support for projects.
Saudi Arabia has been working on diversifying its economy through government reforms and initiatives aimed at overhauling its economy and reducing its dependence on oil. One of its main focuses has been developing its technology sector and also encouraging women to play a bigger role in the Kingdom’s advancement.
Earlier this year, Ahmed AlFaifi, Managing Director SAP Saudi Arabia spoke to Forbes regarding this nationwide move towards further adopting technology, saying, “By leveraging new technologies, Saudi Arabia can super-charge its economy, unleash the private sector potential, and leapfrog established economies in raising productivity and investment […] Companies of all sizes across the Kingdom are digitizing at a rapid pace.”