Wa’ed’s transformative year

Dear Reader,

I welcome you to the first edition of Wa’ed’s new quarterly newsletter, which we are sending to our stakeholders at Aramco and to all our friends in the Saudi community of entrepreneurs.

This newsletter was created to give you a taste of the dynamic growth taking place in the Saudi entrepreneurial ecosystem and to update you on what Wa’ed, the entrepreneurship arm of Aramco, is doing to help nurture the crucial next generation of Saudi start-ups.

Our debut issue gives you a sense of the transformative year we are going through at Wa’ed. This is truly a new time for Wa’ed in so many ways.

But the newsletter is just one initiative we are launching to increase our outreach to entrepreneurs across the Kingdom. Wa’ed has been serving the Saudi start-up ecosystem since in 2011, and we constantly scale up our activities to serve this growing, important sector.

By 2023, we plan to double the number of venture capital and loan deals we do each year. Last year marked another record year for Wa’ed –- we tripled our loan disbursements and raised our venture capital investment level by 34 percent from 2019.

More is in store. Later this year, Wa’ed will hold road shows across the Kingdom with partners in government and industry to explore the major issues affecting entrepreneurs and to identify a new crop of business founders eligible for Wa’ed loans, VC investment and training.

We are also revamping the Wa’ed website to make it more user friendly and give it a modern look and feel. The new portal will help you better understand what Wa’ed does and how it operates and will humanize Wa’ed entrepreneurs who are making a difference.

One feature you will soon find on the website will be our Wa’ed Podcast, which regularly explores the most important start-up issues of the day, as well as a series of interviews with Aramco executives on what our parent company is doing to support entrepreneurship.

But first, I offer you the Wa’ed inaugural newsletter, which updates our work and presents a series of business updates, news and features on Wa’ed’s heroes -- the Saudi entrepreneurs making life better for people across the Kingdom.

Read for example why Wa’ed’s rate of loan repayments, despite COVID, hit a record in the first quarter, and what that could mean for Saudi’s economic future. Or about Wa’ed plans to accelerate its own dealmaking to raise Wa’ed’s impact and service to entrepreneurs.

Read about Wa’ed heroes like Ayed Al-Qahtani, an Aramco retiree who started the company that makes Go Green-brand biodegradable cleaners and solvents. Or Sarah Aljishi, founder of Sedra Medical Bio-Media, who is one Saudi’s first women manufacturing entrepreneurs.

Read about Wa’ed’s new Venture Builder, a priority this year for our Entrepreneurship Innovation Ecosystem mentoring team, which is launching a program that will redefine the way Wa’ed breeds successful start-ups by removing a lot of risk and guesswork.

There is much more going on at Wa’ed that I could share with you, but I’ll save that for the next quarterly Wa’ed newsletter, which will appear in early July.

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments. Please send those to: XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.

Best regards,

Wassim Basrawi

Managing Director

Wa’ed, the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center

Dhahran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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