Roland Berger to host winners of Saudi Arabian start-up competition

29 March 2018 3 min. read

Global consulting firm Roland Berger and a panel of esteemed judges have selected the winning entries of a start-up competition held in Saudi Arabia, with the victors set to tour the firm’s home-base of Germany next month.

Organised by the German-Saudi Arabian Liaison Office for Economic Affairs with support from global German consulting firm Roland Berger, the German-Saudi Start-up Competition is an initiative to foster local entrepreneurship and the budding start-up ecosystem of Saudi Arabia. Open to Saudi start-ups founded since 2015 and operating in the fields of tech innovation and social entrepreneurship, the competition has now uncovered its inaugural winners; Labayh and Lucidya.

Labayh, founded by Basim Albeldi and based in Medina, is a mobile app designed to facilitate consultation services for personal and psychological concerns in a safe and discreet space, matching potential clients with health practitioners through an anonymous online platform with the assurance of a third-party screening process. The second selected start-up, Lucidya, established in Jeddah by Abdullah Asiri, sits squarely in the tech innovation category, designed to help businesses predict consumer sentiment through the use of big data and AI to monitor and analyse digital media content.

The two winners were chosen after an imaginably nerve-racking presentation, with the ten preliminary competition finalists being given two minutes to sell their wares in front of the local German business community and a panel of judges including the German Ambassador Dieter Haller, Kushal Shah, Managing Partner for the Middle East at Roland Berger, a representative of the venture capital enterprise Dubai Angel Investors, and, special guest, the Saudi royal princess Johara bint Talal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.Roland Berger to host winners of  Saudi Arabian start-up competition“The number of startups is growing at a faster rate than ever before in the region and entrepreneurship is becoming center stage in KSA in particular, in line with its Vision 2030. The role of Monsha’at in particular, the Small and Medium Enterprise Authority, has been key in fostering the growth of this ecosystem,” Shah said. “At Roland Berger, entrepreneurship is part of our DNA and we are delighted to be supporting the first German Saudi Startup Competition in Riyadh, given our strong connection with both geographies.”

As part of the ongoing support offered by the firm, the competition winners will soon embark on a four-day start-up tour of Germany, including a visit to Roland Berger’s Spielfeld Digital Hub in the district of Kreuzberg, the epicenter of Berlin's energetic start-up scene. The hub was established to act as an intersection of traditional industry and the innovative digital tech sphere, granting the Saudi competition winners the opportunity to meet with various industry experts and investors, as well as pitch before leading members of the local business community at the MENA Business Forum conference to be held in Berlin. 

“We look forward to hosting the winners at Spielfeld Digital Hub in Berlin, our German corporate innovation hub, next month. We are indeed proud to help Saudi entrepreneurs kick-start their careers through our vast network and expertise. These entrepreneurs are eyeing global opportunities, allowing them to deep dive into Berlin’s vibrant startup ecosystem will be highly beneficial for their future,” Shah said.

Oliver Oehms, a delegate for German Industry & Commerce for Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and Yemen added; “We offer young Saudi entrepreneurs a platform to connect to industry leaders, experienced investors, and potential new customers from Germany, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf region. Small and medium-sized companies and innovative business ideas are the key drivers of the German economy and a growing sector in Saudi Arabia. We intend to support young Saudi startups with our network and know-how.”