The following Spotlight Middle East and Africa (MEA) series looks at the recent Fintech Saudi initiative, Fintech Accelerator Program, which was powered by Flat6Labs and concluded its intensive three-month programme.
Saudi Arabia, the largest economy and market in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, has various initiatives in the fintech space. These are being supported by Fintech Saudi, the catalyst for the development of the financial service technology/fintech sector was launched by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) in collaboration with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) to support the development of the fintech industry in Saudi Arabia. Fintech Saudi was born in April 2018 under the Financial Sector Development Program (FSDP) as part of the wider Saudi Vision 2030.
Fintech Saudi concluded its intensive 3-month Fintech Accelerator Program, which was powered by Flat6Labs, with a Demo Day last Wednesday. For the last three months, ten fintechs have been refining their product strategy and developing their business models, and the Demo Day gave them the opportunity to pitch their products to potential investors, the media, and the wider business community.
The Fintech Accelerator Demo Day was held via lifestream. Throughout the programme, the ten companies (Wethaq, Faloos, Rasmal, Buthoor, Tammwel, UPayments, Sahala, Crayon Data, Mal’aa Finance, Themar), displayed resilience, vision, and unlimited potential, and their pitches on Wednesday showcased their impressive outcomes.
Ziad Al Yousef, Deputy Governor For Development and Technology, opened the Demo Day by saying, “We will continue to support young entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential by continuing to provide them with opportunities to grow. This will help us to transform the Kingdom into an innovative fintech hub that contributes to the goals of Vision 2030 and supports the Kingdom to remain as a leading hub in the financial services sector.”
The Director of Fintech Saudi, Nejoud Almulaik, said, “In line with the objectives of Financial Sector Development Program and Vision 2030, Fintech Saudi launched Fintech Accelerator which aims to support innovative solutions in financial services. We are pleased to have completed the first cohort of the Fintech Accelerator which includes 10 exciting fintech companies who are driving financial inclusion and using data, innovative technology and disruptive businesses models to provide individuals and companies with a better experience.”
“As the Fintech Accelerator comes to fruition, we are pleased to have worked alongside Fintech Saudi to create a truly bespoke and impactful accelerator program,” said Ramez El-Serafy, CEO at Flat6Labs. “The program was successful in empowering, supporting and enabling innovative entrepreneurs to take bigger strides in the development of their Fintech startups in a very short period of time.” Flat6Labs is a regional Middle East and North Africa (MENA) startup accelerator programme that fosters and invests in bright and passionate entrepreneurs with cutting-edge ideas.
The Fintech Accelerator program was launched in Saudi Arabia with a plan to inspire entrepreneurs to venture into and grow the Fintech industry in the Kingdom. With the Fintech Accelerator Program, Fintech Saudi hopes to contribute to its goal of fulfilling Saudi’s Vision 2030 by transforming Saudi Arabia into an innovative fintech hub with a thriving and responsible fintech ecosystem.
To highlight, Fintech Saudi, in particular, has supported the development of the fintech industry through initiatives including the Fintech Ecosystem Directory and the Fintech Jobs Portal to support fintech companies, the Fintech Regulatory Assessment Tool to provide greater regulation clarity and the Fintech Data & Research Initiative to support data-driven innovation in fintech. The organisation recently held a job fair as well for those in the Kingdom looking to get into the fintech space for future career prospects.
Despite the challenges that 2020 brought, there were accelerations in the implementation of fintech in regards to the ecosystem in the Middle East, as well as wider digital transformation. This year and beyond, pandemic or not, will most likely further move that forward.