Korean Startups Make Strides in the Saudi Arabian Market: A New Era of CollaborationReading Time: 2 minutes
On the 23rd (local time), South Korea’s Ministry of SMEs and Startups held a “Saudi Startup Launch Ceremony” in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where Korean startups aspiring to enter the Saudi market gathered. This event, which aimed to strengthen startup collaboration between South Korea and Saudi Arabia in line with the “Middle East Economic Diplomatic Delegation,” included the opening ceremony, the establishment of Riyadh Global Business Center (GBC), a “Korea-Saudi Startup Meeting,” and a “Korea-Saudi Joint Fund Follow-up IR.”
Notably, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment (MISA) and Monsha’at (the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises) participated in the event to encourage Korean venture companies and startups aiming to enter Saudi Arabia. This day began with the opening ceremony of Riyadh Global Business Center at “Riyadh Front,” which was attended by Minister Ibrahim AlMubarak of MISA and 15 of the 26 companies preparing for entry.
Riyadh GBC, operated in cooperation between the Ministry of SMEs and Startups and MISA, serves as a hub for Korean startups to enter the Saudi market. The Ministry of SMEs and Startups provides office space and advisory services for local settlement, while MISA will issue “Entrepreneur Licenses.” Among the companies that applied for entry in advance, 12 are currently going through the process of obtaining the licenses.
Following that, a launch ceremony was held with the participation of Saudi government officials, Saudi startups hopeful of entering Korea, and Saudi companies. At this event, four MOUs between Korean and Saudi Arabian companies were signed, which were discovered through the “Youth Startup Ambassador School Global Expansion Program.” Participating companies spent a week in Saudi Arabia from October 17th to 24th, conducting market research, local venture capital mentoring, demo days, and more.
After the launch ceremony, a “Korea-Saudi Startup Meeting” was held to discuss future directions for cooperation between companies from both countries, including MOU signatories and companies entering Riyadh GBC. In June, the Korean Ministry of SMEs and Startups’ Minister Lee Young visited Saudi Arabia and held an investment IR event for the follow-up of the Korea-Saudi Joint Fund, where 12 Korean venture and startup companies participated. Local investors and investment institutions from over 30 entities attended, with six Korean investment firms participating, leading to exchanges in the venture investment field.
At the IR event for Korean startups, one Korean company secured a $2 million investment and is currently in discussions with local VCs for additional investment.
Director Im Jeong-wook of the Startup and Venture Innovation Division at the Ministry of SMEs and Startups mentioned that “Saudi Arabia is pursuing the ‘Saudi Vision 2030’ project to prepare for the post-oil era,” highlighting it as an opportunity for Korea’s outstanding venture and startups with advanced technology. He also stated, “The Ministry of SMEs and Startups will actively support Korean startups and ventures to achieve significant growth through entry into Saudi Arabia on this occasion.”
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