KAUST to launch second round of Destination Deep Tech program – Arab News

RIYADH: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology will begin the second round of its Destination Deep Tech program in the coming months, said a senior official.
The university has started accepting applications for the second round.
The Destination Deep Tech is a three-month program that provides deep-tech startups with the ecosystem to explore opportunities and expand in Saudi Arabia.
“Destination Deep Tech is an unprecedented Saudi program intended to foster innovation in the country,” Kevin Cullen, KAUST’s vice president of innovation, told Arab News.
The first round, which concluded in May, selected five international startups: Pasqal from France, Insignes-Labs from Poland, Proteinea from Egypt, Hopu from Spain and CeEntek from Singapore.
These deep-tech startups showed significant growth during the program’s three-month period, during which they established meaningful collaborative partnerships.
“We expected one or two would stay, but all five stayed,” said Cullen at the program’s conclusion.
The program provided the selected startups with the tools to expand their projects, including access to world-class research and development facilities at KAUST.
“What we were able to offer them is access to the biggest and the most dynamic market in the entire region,” he said.
The program was launched at KAUST in partnership with The Next Web, an international media organization that supports and connects the global technology environment through media, conferences and innovation services.
“We’ve got a technology seed fund so they can apply for funding, but it’s not part of the prize,” said Cullen.
He added that KAUST does not target any specific industry sector.
“We’ve got energy, materials and quantum computing startups so far. So, we are not specifically targeting any particular industry sector. What we are targeting are high potential technology startups,” Cullen said.
Besides the startup program, he said KAUST is also training prospective entrepreneurs to join the community. Called Entrepreneurship Adventures, the innovative program targets Arabic-speaking youth in Saudi Arabia and beyond.
According to Cullen, the program plans to create a startup culture and equip Arab youth with the necessary tools to contribute to their economies.
“Eighty percent of the content is in Arabic because we are keen as KAUST to be reaching out to the Kingdom,” he said.
The project was launched in 2021 by Saudi Arabian Oil Co. President and CEO Amin Nasser, Olayan Financing Co. CEO Lubna Olayan and Andrew Liveris, former CEO and chairman of the Michigan operations of Dow Chemical Co., Cullen added.
“We had an initial target of 10,000 young Arabs signing up for this. Within one month, we had 71,000 signed up for this and it’s now over 100,000,” he said.
DUBAI: State-backed digital bank Wio announced on Tuesday it had launched in the United Arab Emirates and would focus initially on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while eyeing an eventual public listing.
Wio, which calls itself a “platform bank,” has three main business lines: digital banking apps, embedded finance and banking-as-a-service, the provision of banking through third-party distributors.
Wio is 65 percent owned by Abu Dhabi sovereign wealth fund ADQ and Alpha Dhabi, 25 percent by Etisalat and 10 percent by First Abu Dhabi Bank. The UAE central bank in February gave it initial approval to begin operations.
“SMEs have a lot of pain points that have been under-catered to historically for many reasons. And we believe that starting by being close to them and understanding them is very important,” Wio chairman Salem Al Nuaimi told Reuters in an interview.
“Finding funding for them in different ways is something which we will have to do.”
Wio chief executive Jayesh Patel said the bank could provide its own funding to SMEs, which it would serve with its Wio Business division, and also help them find other financing options.
Setting up Wio Business was currently the core focus, said Al Nuaimi.
Patel said Wio was in talks with businesses, including a regional e-commerce player, to distribute its services.
It planned to expand its offerings to retail customers “in the next few quarters.” Wio would also look at potential acquisitions in the region as it sought to become the Middle East’s leading platform bank, the chairman said.
Al Nuaimi said Wio was well-funded thanks to its shareholders, so did not need an initial public offering of shares to raise funds, but nonetheless said one would likely happen at some point.
“I think here in the UAE there is a good market that has been and will continue to grow for listed companies. And so I think eventually we will get there,” Al Nuaimi said.
“There’s no timeline for an IPO,” he added. “The timeline is to get things done right.”
HOUSTON: Oil prices fell 2 percent on Tuesday, reversing earlier gains as US consumer prices unexpectedly rose in August, giving cover for the US Federal Reserve to deliver another hefty interest rate increase next week.
Brent futures for November delivery fell $2.05, or 2.2 percent, to $91.95 a barrel by 11:38 a.m. ET (1638 GMT). US crude was down $1.73, or 2 percent, to $86.05 per barrel.
The consumer price index gained 0.1 percent last month after being unchanged in July, the US Labor Department said. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast a 0.1 percent fall.
Fed officials are set to meet next Tuesday and Wednesday, with inflation way above the US central bank’s 2 percent target.
“The Fed may have to raise rates quicker than expected which could cause a ‘risk back off’ sentiment in crude and further strength to the dollar,” said Dennis Kissler, senior vice president of trading at BOK Financial.
Oil is generally priced in US dollars, so a stronger greenback makes the commodity more expensive to holders of other currencies.
Renewed COVID-19 curbs China, the world’s second-largest oil consumer, also weighed on crude prices.
The number of trips taken over China’s three-day Mid-Autumn Festival holiday shrank, with tourism revenue also falling, official data showed, as COVID-linked restrictions discouraged people from traveling.
Both contracts rose by more than $1.50 a barrel earlier in the session, supported by concerns over tighter inventories.
“The oil market’s structural outlook remains one of tightness, but for now, this is offset by cyclical demand headwinds,” Morgan Stanley said in a note.
The US’ strategic petroleum reserve fell 8.4 million barrels to 434.1 million barrels last week, the lowest since October 1984, according to government data on Monday.
US commercial oil stocks were forecast to have risen 800,000 barrels during the same week, analysts forecast in a Reuters poll.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries on Tuesday stuck to its forecasts for robust global oil demand growth in 2022 and 2023, citing signs that major economies were faring better than expected despite headwinds such as surging inflation.
DUBAI: Emirates Airlines is adding a fifth weekly flight to Algiers beginning Oct. 7. The airline will use a Boeing 777-300ER aircraft to fly between the Algerian capital and Dubai on Fridays. This is in addition to its existing flights on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday each week.
Emirates said it remains the only airline that offers private, enclosed first-class cabins on flights to Algeria, providing premium customers with an industry-leading onboard experience.
In addition to increasing the number of seats available for passengers each week, the fifth weekly flight will provide businesses with 30 to 40 tons of cargo-hold capacity, the airline added, further opening global trade lanes through increased import and export opportunities.
RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s National Debt Management Center has closed the issuance of SR1.7 billion ($453 million) SR-denominated sukuk in September.
With a total amount of bids received reaching SR7.3 billion, the sukuk offering was divided into three tranches, NDMC said in a statement. 
The first tranche has a size of SR201 million to mature in 2027, while the second one amounts to SR700 million, maturing in 2032. Lastly, the third is sized at SR800 million and it will mature in 2037. 
DUBAI: Dubai’s crown prince on Tuesday launched an initiative aimed at boosting key economic sectors in the city and creating new opportunities for growth.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum said the research and development program would provide a comprehensive framework for innovation in Dubai, the Emirates News Agency reported.
Outlining the city’s top priorities in research and development, innovation, legislation, and projects investment, the scheme will also identify areas for increased domestic spending and private-sector participation.
The program is in line with Dubai’s vision of developing knowledge- and innovation-driven solutions to the most pressing local and global challenges, as well as increasing the productivity of existing sectors by providing new paths for economic growth. It also identifies significant radical changes and ways to address them.
It will seek to provide a roadmap and comprehensive governance model, set priorities for research and development, funding, and investments, increase the city’s research and development expenditure, and maximize private-sector involvement.
The crown prince said: “Maximizing the private sector’s engagement in R and D is crucial to achieving our future goals in Dubai. Major economies and leading global cities have made great strides throughout history due to their focus on research and development.
“Therefore, boosting scientific and technological research is pivotal to achieving Dubai’s vision for the future economy.”
He added that it was important to leverage Dubai’s growth potential in the sector by encouraging international companies to conduct research and development in the city, adopting innovative ideas and methodologies, and promoting the knowledge-based economy and advanced technologies.
A newly established research and development council will monitor the progress of the program’s targeted objectives in accordance with UAE national strategies to boost innovation.
The program will also create a comprehensive approach for establishing funding procedures, facilitating investment opportunities and related collaborations, and supporting key innovative projects.
Throughout the city, the main areas of focus will be on health and well-being, environmental technology, smart built infrastructure, and space and augmented human-machine intelligence.
The adoption of disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, the internet of things, blockchain, robotics, drones, and 3-D printing, will support the program’s initiatives in those areas.


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