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Techstars, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Raed Ventures are partnering to begin a new accelerator program in Riyad.

Raed Ventures is an early-stage venture-capital firm focused on the Middle East and North Africa.

“The Riyadh Techstars Accelerator will focus on attracting startups to (the Middle East and North Africa) and paving the way for future innovation in the region’s digital economy,” according to a Techstars news release. “While the accelerator will be Techstars’ first in Saudi Arabia, the organization has been active in the region for years through more than 700 Techstars Startup Weekend events, the Techstars Dubai Accelerator and the Techstars Hub71 Accelerator in Abu Dhabi.”

The 13-week accelerator program will run from November 2021 through February 2022. Applications will be accepted starting in May.

“Technology and innovation-based entrepreneurship is a key enabler to driving the achievement of Vision 2030, our nation’s blueprint for social transformation and economic diversification. We have a young population, 70% of whom are youth. These are our digital natives, and we want to leverage their energy and curiosity to leapfrog with innovation,” Saudia Arabia’s deputy minister for future skills and digital entrepreneurship Ahmed Altheneyan said in the release.

“The ministry and Techstars will come together to scale the impact of their combined resources and capabilities to truly accelerate digital entrepreneurship, across the Kingdom, where we are already witnessing the growth of a vibrant venture capital investment community, rapid technology adoption, and how digital transformation is allowing companies to re-imagine themselves to become more competitive,” Altheneyan said.

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