Saudi's largest-ever tech event, LEAP, to take place in February
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Saudi’s largest-ever tech event, LEAP, to take place in February

Saudi’s largest-ever tech event, LEAP, to take place in February

The event will be held at the Riyadh Front Expo Centre from February 1-3 and will feature over 400 expert speakers across six conferences

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As part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, technology plays a central role within it, and digital transformation initiatives have grown significantly in the last few years.

Last year, Saudi launched a series of technology initiatives worth over $1.2bn aimed at improving the digital skills of 100,000 Saudi youngsters by 2030.

The country aims to improve the digital skills of 100,000 Saudi youngsters by 2030, with a focus on cybersecurity, programming, artificial intelligence and gaming.

This February, the kingdom will host the most significant technology event, LEAP. Innovative entrepreneurs, pioneers, government leaders, and disruptors can connect to learn and explore the latest technologies on the global platform.

Gathering of the world’s greatest minds
In its inaugural edition, LEAP will be held at the Riyadh Front Expo Centre from February 1 to 3. The event will bring together all the major technology companies, startups, venture capitalists, and celebrities under one roof.

The event will feature over 400 expert speakers across six conferences.

It will include global speakers such as Amer Al Qahtani, chief executive officer business development, Saudi Authority for Data and Artificial Intelligence (SDAIA); Talal Al Kaissi, chief executive officer, G42 Cloud; Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer and co-founder, Kaspersky; YoungCho Chi, president and chief innovation officer, Hyundai Motor Group; Maëlle Gavet, CEO, Techstars; Peggy Johnson, CEO, Magic Leap; Richard Houston, chief executive officer, Deloitte North and South Europe; Dr Nabeel Koshak, chief executive officer and board member, Saudi Venture Capital Company; Dr Makaziwe Mandela, founder, House of Mandela Family Foundation; Salman Al Badran, chief executive officer, Mobily; Ghinwa Baradhi, chief information officer-MENAT region for HSBC.

LEAP is a strategic effort led by Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), Saudi Federation for Cyber Security and Programming (SAFCSP) and Informa Tech to transform the national economy and position Saudi Arabia as a visionary tech powerhouse linking three continents with the global industry. The event is supported by the Saudi government as well as the kingdom’s leading investors. The platform intends to improve business prospects by empowering the funding of ideas and developing tech startups.

Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition
Additionally, LEAP will offer its attending startups a chance to pitch their solutions to regional and international investors to secure recognition and funding. The event will also host a startup pitch competition on the three days of the event at the Start-up Park. The Rocket Fuel Start-up Pitch Competition, part of its Investor Programme, will discover some of the most impactful new businesses from around the world.

The startups will also include unicorns from the region and beyond. The competition will have four different categories and an award for each one. The four awards will divide the startup entrants by size, scale, impact on society, amount of funding, years in business, and the number of employees.

Entrepreneurs and investors from around the world will be in attendance on February 1 and 2 to hear pitches from 90 successful startups. Finalists must convince the panel in five minutes that they have what it takes to be selected as one of the top 10 businesses. The chosen finalists will enter the grand finale on February 3.

A further chance will be given to these entrepreneurs to showcase their businesses based on criteria such as creativity, innovation, potential, functionality and their impact on people and society.

In addition to the grand prize of $200,000, the winner will receive the LEAP Award, given to the strongest and most outstanding startup.

There will also be three other awards presented: The Shooting Star Award for the most promising early-stage startup ($100,000); the Aviatrix Award for the most promising female-led startup ($150,000); and the Technology for Humanity Award to the startup that best embodies the LEAP motto, “Technology for Humanity,” ($150,000).

Co-organised by Informa Tech, MCIT and SAFCSP, LEAP is sponsored by leading local and international companies including STC, Ericsson, Mobily, Cisco, Huawei, SAP, Microsoft, Saudi Digital Academy (SDA), NTDP, Monsha’at, Jahez, Al Rajhi Bank, Salam, MakanE, who will act together as strategic partners to bring this event to life.

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