Arab universities are increasingly getting involved in establishing startups as a means of diversifying their financial resources and linking their educational programmes with the labour market.
Universities in Saudi Arabia have been leaders in this area.
The KAUST Innovation Fund at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology has invested in more than a dozen start-ups, including Nomadd, which manufactures automated waterless cleaning systems for solar panels, and Sadeem, which provides “smart city” systems that monitor flood, traffic, weather and air quality conditions.
Moreover, the Dhahran Techno Valley Holding Company, which is fully owned by King Fahd University of Petroleum & Minerals, has also provided seed funding to several startups, including Telaa’ and ConCure.
Connecting Universities and Businesses
In the Emirates, Abu Dhabi University launched an Innovation Center that has sponsored startups in healthcare technology, media production, fashion, parking, and task-sharing.
Heriot-Watt University Dubai has also established a business incubator with the support of its Edinburgh Business School, which has helped establish 30 competitively selected start-ups, university officials say.