NTDP And SparkLabs Group Partner To Launch A New Startup Accelerator In Saudi Arabia

NTDP And SparkLabs Group Partner To Launch A New Startup Accelerator In Saudi Arabia

The National Technology Development Program (NTDP), a national program that aims to empower Saudi Arabia’s local tech ecosystem, and SparkLabs Group (SparkLabs), a global network of startup accelerators and venture capital funds, have entered into a partnership to launch SparksLabs Saudi Arabia, a new startup accelerator in Saudi Arabia.

The announcement was made during LEAP 2023, a global annual tech conference that was held in Riyadh from February 6-9, 2023, with SparkLabs Saudi Arabia being one out of only three new accelerators that were announced at the event. As a program that aims to enhance the effectiveness of the tech ecosystem through sustainable development techniques, the NTDP expects the new accelerator to facilitate Saudi Arabia’s transformation into a leading global technology hub by 2030.

Ibrahim Abdulaziz Neyaz, CEO of NTDP

“We are excited to work with SparkLabs to achieve the goals of this agreement by working together to create an ecosystem of technology startups in Saudi Arabia,” said Ibrahim Abdulaziz Neyaz, CEO of NTDP. “In addition, we will interact with entrepreneurs who own projects and companies that contribute to making a quantum leap and providing value to local and international communities We seek to create an integrated and advanced technology system for the Kingdom that achieves the goals of Vision 2030.”

Having already invested in over 400 startups across six continents since its inception in 2013, this venture will mark SparkLabs Group’s first Saud-focused accelerator. It will thus aim to target sectors such as artificial intelligence, fintech, climate tech, enterprise software and online entertainment. Additionally, SparkLabs Group’s partners will bring their experience in the online gaming industry, courtesy firms such as South Korea’s Nexon, which launched the world’s first massively multiplayer online role-playing game in 1996. “We believe the timing is ideal to launch our presence in the Kingdom,” added Ivan Grlic, Co-founder and Managing Partner at SparkLabs Saudi Arabia. “We are looking forward to helping to build Saudi Arabia’s startup ecosystem, collaborate with existing investors and engage with entrepreneurs who want to change the world.” Apart from its partnership with SparksLabs Group, the NTDP also announced the launch of six new services for startups in the country.

As per UAE-based newspaper outlet The National, a total fund of $430 million is set to be allocated among the six services. A Venture Debt service, with a funding of $150 million, will provide venture financing to startups, while a Relocate service that incentivizes global startups to move to the Kingdom will receive a funding of $81 million. Furthermore, a Tech Crew service with $78 million in funding will be used for better hiring of tech employees, and a Boost service that encourages entrepreneurial ventures in the country will have $46 million allocated to it. The remaining funding will be divided among NTDP’s Connect service, which aims to reduce the gap between large companies and local small and medium enterprises (SMES), as well as its Bridge service, which will assist local startups to expand globally.

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