STC Launches the Kingdom’s First corporate Incubator/Accelerator for startups focused on ICT/Digital innovation
Saudi NewsMar 04, 2015
Saudi Telecom Company (STC) has announced today its plan to launch InspireU, the first corporate Incubator/Accelerator for startups focused on Digital/ICT innovation in Saudi Arabia. The official launch will be on March at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
STC, the largest telecommunication operator in the Middle East, will offer through this pioneering incubator the most comprehensive range of services in the region to assist entrepreneurs and early stage startups in Digital/ICT products and services innovation.
Dr. Khaled Al-Biyari, COO of STC, explained, “Through sourcing, nurturing, and marketing innovative telecommunication ideas, InsipreU will enable STC to turn the ambitions of talented youth into reality, while adding value to the telecommunication sector, and spearheading progress in smart technology.”
The selected InsipreU applicants will potentially benefit from a seed fund, spacious office facilities, legal counsel, a customized acceleration curriculum, as well as mentorship programs from industry luminaries across all business functions and in addition to many other services. They will be able to capitalize on STC’s state-of-the-art technological infrastructure, its long-standing reputation, and its privileged market access in the Middle East. InspireU will empower participants to gain further exposure by encouraging them to participate in exchange programs with international incubators.
The incubator will leverage the potential of the growing digital ecosystem in the Middle East which is expected to reach a market value of $18 billion by 2018. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia constitutes an ideal platform for the program as it is the biggest adopter of smart technology amongst Arab countries. Saudi Arabia, with a 72% smartphone penetration rate, the third highest in the world, boasts the highest rate of YouTube usage worldwide.
“InspireU aims to develop the knowledge economy in the GCC region by fostering creativity and entrepreneurship amongst its residents whilst securing employment to the promising Saudi minds of the future.” Al-Biyari added. “It will help us on our way to realize our vision to be recognized as the information and communication technology leading provider, offering comprehensive innovative services and solutions, all the time customers’ trust and enriching society.”
Through developing both soft and hard skills of the Arab youth, STC aims to play a role in expanding the regional economy beyond revenues from natural resources. According to Al-Biyari, the company hopes that the InspireU initiative will also inspire other capable organizations in Saudi Arabia to support the start-up culture across the region, and to start developing their own incubators and accelerators.