The Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) hosted an ambitious partnership forum which brought together some 100 Saudi and British SMEs, investors, business incubators and supporting organisations in the smart cities, fintech and e-commerce sectors in London on 24 April.
Supported by Saudi British Bank, Mishcon de Reya and Al Mojel Group, the forum was held at Level39 in Canary Wharf, Europe’s leading centre for finance, cyber security and smart- city technology businesses.
High level panel sessions focussed on the development of successful SME ecosystems in both countries as well as SME access to finance and mentoring. Afternoon workshops addressed the opportunities in both markets and the support available. Agreed follow up actions include the possible establishment of a Saudi-UK Tech Hub, and an SBJBC led mission to Saudi Arabia in November 2018 for UK tech entrepreneurs.
Speakers included: Ben Brabyn (Head of Level39), Dale Millar (Adviser to Saudi Minister of Communications & IT), Ali AlSaif (General Manager Strategic Partnerships, Saudi SME Authority), Kevin Cullen (Vice President Innovation, King Abdullah University of Science & Technology (KAUST) ) and Julian David (CEO Tech UK).
The 50 strong Saudi business delegation visited Oxford University on 25 April including discussions with the Industrial Partnerships and Innovation Team, and visits to the Institute of Biomedical Engineering and the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies.