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Hundreds Of Foodtech Stakeholders From Across Saudi Arabia And The GCC Come Together For Red Sea FoodTech Connect 2024 This edition of the annual event was hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture's Sunbolah Program, and sponsored by online food-delivery unicorn Jahez.

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Red Sea FoodTech Connect
A snapshot of the 2024 edition of the 2024 edition of the Red Sea FoodTech Connect in Riyadh

The third edition of Red Sea Foodtech Connect, an annual Saudi Arabia-based conference for foodtech startups, entrepreneurs, and stakeholders, which was held in Riyadh on June 11, 2024 saw the convening of major decision-makers, innovators, and investors from across the foodtech ecosystem in the Kingdom and the wider region. This edition of the annual event was hosted by the Sunbolah Program, an initiative of the KSA Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture (MEWA), and sponsored by Jahez, Saudi Arabia's online food-delivery unicorn.

Red Sea Foodtech Connect founder Mohammed AlQurashi shared that the 2024 edition of the annual event saw hundreds of attendees from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, Australia, and France, among many others. The Sunbolah Program's main representatives at the conference were H.E. Mansour Mushaiti, Vice Minister, MEWA, Dr. Ali Alsabhan, General Manager of Entrepreneurship, MEWA, as well as other members of the Ministry.

H.E. Mansour Mushaiti, Vice Minister of Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Environment, Water, and Agriculture. Source: Red Sea Foodtech Connect

Held under the theme "Meet The Big," this year's edition of Red Sea Foodtech Connect saw the participation of a number of key entities from the sector including the National Center for Palms and Dates (NCPD), an organization that aims to develop KSA's dates sector through improving production efficiency and quality, Nadec, a Riyadh-based F&B company, Calo, a Bahrain-based app that provides nutritious meals for busy people, and the Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company (SALIC), a Saudi joint-stock company owned by the country's sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF).

This year's conference held a plethora of discussions and talks by national and regional industry experts headlined by HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, founder and CEO of KBW Ventures. During the fireside chat -titled "Venture Capital View," and moderated by Abdulrahman AlJiffry, Partner at Saudi-based venture capital (VC) fund 500 Global- Prince Khaled delved into how he has made investments across multiple technology sectors, his insights on growth stage-financing, and how he has adopted a first-mover approach in backing startups in the foodtech and alternative proteins sectors. "Saudi is smart money; we know what we're doing," said Prince Khaled during the session "So, while we have people coming from all over, success here isn't free. You need to invest as well, you need to have skin in the game, in our ecosystem, if you want to succeed."

HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, founder and CEO of KBW Ventures. Source: Red Sea Foodtech Connect

Other key speakers at the event included Dr. Mohammed Alnuwairan, CEO, NCPD, Dr. Sulaiman Altwaijri CEO, Nadec Food, Samer Alsourani, SVP, SALIC, and Dr. Mazen Alzaidi, General Partner, STV, a Saudi-based technology VC fund. MEWA's Dr. Alsabhan and Mushaiti also offered talks at Red Sea Foodtech Connect that highlighted the Sunbolah Program's impact on the food value chain as well as the significance of fostering innovation in the foodtech economy, respectively.

Related: Saudi Arabia's Economic Transformation: Educating For A Diversified Future

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