Obtaining investment licenses now takes up to 3 hours, paving the way for the entry of venture capital funds and their startups into the Saudi market.
On the sidelines of the Financial Sector Conference in Saudi Arabia in 2019, Saudi Arabia's General Investment Authority (SAGIA) signs agreements with more than 20 venture capital funds from Saudi Arabia, the United States, China, Britain, Singapore, Kuwait and several other countries under the umbrella of the "Venture Investments" initiative.
Commenting on the deals, the Deputy Governor of Investment Attraction and Development of SAGIA explains that its "Venture Investment" initiative aims to facilitate the entry of VCs and their startups into the Saudi market, which will increase the number of startups in the local market and help stimulate VCs to invest in emerging companies. "The Kingdom is targeting the most important venture capital funds in the world; to establish a presence in Saudi Arabia and to partner with the Saudi private sector to participate in the story of growth and prosperity," says Soltan Mufti.
"Through this initiative, the Investment Authority aims to attract the best emerging technology companies in the region and the world to invest and grow in the Saudi market. This will enable venture capital funds to support their portfolio through an immediate license that allows entrepreneurs to obtain investment licenses in three hours maximum," Mufti adds.
Since its launch, the Authority has licensed 142 entrepreneurs from 42 countries around the world, focusing on specific sectors such as fintech, gas and electricity, information technology, education, transport and storage in accordance with Vision 2030, and to make the Kingdom the best platform for entrepreneurs in the Middle East. The SAGIA has completed many reforms and economic measures that led to a significant increase in the volume of investments in the Kingdom, as foreign direct investment grew by 127% in 2018.
“Saudi Arabia is undergoing a remarkable economic transformation as part of Vision 2030, and we have seen investment into the Kingdom grow significantly over the last year," Michael Smith, GM International for SAGIA, explains further. "We have recently implemented 45% of more than 500 proposed economic reforms, and this has kickstarted the momentum around Foreign Direct Investment. In addition to lifting foreign ownership restrictions, we have also adopted faster and less complicated business registration procedures and have improved the legal infrastructure to increase transparency and protect all shareholders. The ease with which international investors can enter the Saudi market now is remarkable. Business visas are now issued in 24 hours, and business licenses in even less time.”
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