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RIYADH: The Saudi Data and AI Authority has launched an accelerator program to support domestic startups and attract international talent to the kingdom.

It aims to strengthen the entrepreneurship ecosystem, diversify the Saudi economy and promote digital transformation in order to achieve the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030.

The SDAIA announced that the program is now open for registration in its first edition, which will focus on Smart Cities through an intensive three-month training course in Riyadh.

The accelerator program will run through three phases. In the first phase, startups register and make choices for a Challenge Day, during which projects and innovative solutions are assessed. In the second phase, ten startups are selected.

In the final phase, the selected startups take part in the three-month accelerator program, which includes training workshops, events and incentives and ends with a demo day. The participating startups present their projects developed during the program to potential investors in order to receive financial support.

SDAIA President Dr. Abdullah bin Sharaf Al-Ghamdi said, “At SDAIA we are working to improve the accelerator ecosystem in the kingdom by targeting local and international startups in the data and AI field. We are determined to put the Kingdom at the forefront of the data- and AI-enabled countries. “

He added that the program was supported by “unlimited support” from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the chairman of the SDAIA Board of Directors, Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.

Al-Ghamdi encouraged innovators with creative data and AI-based solutions to join the program, develop unique smart city solutions and help make the kingdom rank among the top five countries in the world in terms of AI in terms of indicators.

Dr. Mishari Almishari, Deputy Director of the National Information Center and CEO of the Strategy Management Office at SDAIA, said, “The Accelerator program is one of SDAIA’s initiatives in partnership with Plug and Play to drive startup growth in the data and AI space.”

He added: “The accelerator aims to support the success and growth of startups by enabling them to network and exchange ideas through co-working spaces, incentives, training courses to acquire the necessary skills and communication with potential investors and Opportunities that facilitate access promote the market. “

Almishari said the Accelerator’s support for startups will continue for candidates who pass the program.

Saeed Amidi, CEO and Founder of Plug and Play, said, “This is an exciting and perfectly timed opportunity for us as the Saudi economy is going through massive economic developments in line with Vision 2030 and a large part of that plan is based on promoting the Kingdoms startup ecosystem with a supportive regulatory framework and local venture funds. Plug and Play is proud to host an accelerator program in Saudi Arabia. With SDAIA, we have gained a strong partner, which creates added value and strengthens our confidence in the implementation of this project. “

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