Three Saudi startups featured prominently on the Forbes list of 50 startups to look out for this year in the Arab World.
Forbes said when releasing the list last month that these startups have not yet received big-ticket funding but are looking promising for the future.
On No. 42 in the Forbes list is an online program to book photographers, ‘Sawerly’, founded in 2013 by Hussein Attar and Mohamed Al-Zahrani.
On No. 34 is ‘Maharah’, it is a booking app for home maintenance services. It was founded in 2015 by Mujahed Marghlani, Saleem Barnawi and Ahmed Mereyani.
On No. 26 is a customer engagement tool, ‘Near Motion’. It was founded in 2015 by Faisal Alferdos.
On No. 6 on the Forbes list is a booking platform for sports and entertainment, ‘Halayalla’. It was founded in 2016 by Nadeem and Faheem Baksh, Farrukh Bandey, Yousef Shanti.
Forbes published a list of 182 startups from Saudi Arabia, over the 100 listed the previous year. These comprised of 29 women led businesses. The startups were involved in 23 sectors of the economy. As per region, 10 of the startups were in Al-Khobar, 37 in Riyadh, and 39 in Jeddah.
The Kingdom has given utmost importance to entrepreneurship as part of its National Transformation program to encourage Saudis to start their own businesses and the Kingdom’s ambitious Vision 2030 reform.
A young business man, Fadi Yahya said that he was able to get into the business field very early. He commenced his business 8 years ago. Before starting his business, Yahya earned some experience by working with a nonprofit organization while studying in the university.
He said that working at a nonprofit outfit encouraged him to start his own business. His first project was in the design field but he then received a King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship award and went to ahead to obtain his Master’s degree in the US.
Yahya later went back to Saudi Arabia with a technological project. His idea was to develop the hobbies of people by connecting them with good trainers, charging a normal fee.
Another young successful businessman is Hussain Attar, his project called ‘Sawerly’ was instrumental in bringing over 2,500 photographers across Saudi Arabia together.
Attar’s team won the 1st place in an international competition for young entrepreneurs, which was organized by the Erasmus Center for Entrepreneurship in 2014 in the Netherlands, as well as the 1st place in Ideathon contest, which was organized in Lebanon in 2014.