The past year has witnessed bold leadership and direction in achieving growth in non-oil sectors and stimulating the economy under the National Transformation Program (NTP) serving the Vision’s goals for 2030 and beyond. ArabNet Riyadh will feature a Digital Transformation Track that will delve into the impact of the NTP on the digital and entrepreneurship ecosystems, and bring together government, private sector, and startup stakeholders to share insights, best practices and upcoming plans for building an innovation and knowledge economy in KSA.
Technology in Advertising and Marketing have become critical to the competitive reach and consumer engagement. Saudi youth under the age of 25 represent 51% of the population, while smartphone penetration is at 178% across the Kingdom. Meanwhile, Snapchat’s success with instant and ephemeral content has triggered the spread to other channels: Facebook’s. This forum tackles the top medium on everyone’s agenda: Mobile, through Ephemeral and Video content, empowered by distribution technologies, analytics and data. This forum tackles how brands, agencies and publishers are adapting to the new platforms that are transforming consumer habits on mobile and web; what are the key trends that define the region; how distribution of media is changing and the data driving advertising technology.
Investments in tech startups in Saudi rank 3rd in MENA by number of Investment, even though the number of investors / funding entities in Saudi is the second largest in the region (18%), according to ArabNet’s State of Digital Investments in MENA Report. However, the ecosystem is flourishing with startups that are rising to fill many market needs, gaps and tackle unemployment. The Innovation and Investment Forum will feature a dedicated track focusing on the investment landscape and improving the ecosystem and access to LPs and growth capital; and a track focused on startup growth strategies and development.
The face digital commerce and payments in MENA has shifted radically in the past 12 month with Amazon entering MENA through it’s acquisition of Souq.com. It’s estimated that eCommerce in Saudi will reach $5.7B in 2017 according to the US Embassy in Saudi, with mobile transactions representing two-thirds of online transactions according to Wamda. The Digital Commerce Forum will highlight the latest trends on online and mobile commerce in the Kingdom and MENA, the financial technologies that could radically change the face of global financial transaction and the role of banks in growing their digital footprint.
The Founders’ Day is a revamp on the previous Design+Code Day, this year focusing on entrepreneurship and SMEs as one the key pillars for transforming Saudi Arabia. The day features three tracks of hands-on workshops covering entrepreneurial skills, startups marketing must-haves and setting up digital commerce ventures.
ArabNet Riyadh will feature the staple Startup Battle competition that will select the top 3 startups from Riyadh to join the Startup Championship in Dubai in May to select the winner of $20,000 and a scholarship to Silicon Valley. As well as the Ideathon competition for aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their innovative ideas. This year’s forum features an all new competition: the Creative Combat, for young marketeers to showcase their digital marketing skills.