10 new French firms, projects launch presence in Kingdom
Business France recently launched its first business accelerator program here to help set up offices for 10 new companies and joint projects from the European nation.
The French Fab Booster launch event is being run in collaboration with the Kingdom’s National Industrial Development and Logistics Program, or NIDLP, and aims to contribute to the Vision 2020 economic plan.
The 10-day Fab Booster takes place Nov. 14 to 24 in Riyadh, Jubail and Dammam. The scale-up program features startup French sustainability and solutions companies including Armtek, Dametis, Oryx Data, SpareParts3D, Finalcad, Optimistik, Dillygence and Daxium. Divisions of Fives Group, the well-known industrial engineering firm, are also part of the initiative.
Ludovic Pouille, the French ambassador to Saudi, said during opening remarks at the launch: “After being selected by Top C-Levels Saudi Jury composed (of) industrialists, entrepreneurs, and investment funds, 10 startups have now embarked on the Saudi journey with the objective to contribute to the ‘Made in Saudi’ (plan) and to open an office in the Kingdom.”
Business France, the national agency supporting the international development of the European country’s economy, seeks to support Saudi Arabia’s industrial strategy, which aims to triple the contribution of manufacturing to the Kingdom’s GDP by 2030.
The French Fab accelerator will run over a nine-month period and include boot camps, business meetings with local partners, coaching, and market preparation sessions.
The initiative kicked off with the sustainability and Industry 4.0 Symposium, featuring keynote addresses from Pouille, Bandar AlKhorayef, the minister of industry and mineral resources, and Suliman Al-Mazroua, CEO of the NIDLP.
“Saudi Arabia and France have strong, and long-lasting ties, the history of collaboration among the two nations provides solid ground to build highly rewarding partnership(s) for many sectors in the Kingdom.
“We are looking forward to this first cohort of French Fab Booster in KSA, and I am positive the outcomes will support the Saudi Industrial Revolution in the light of the recently launched national industrial strategy,” Al-Mazroua said.
The accelerator program brings together high-profile French and Saudi industrialists in a series of information sessions highlighting success stories, sustainability, safety, efficiency, new technologies and industry trends.
With one of the fastest growing manufacturing sectors globally, Saudi Arabia has become a key market for international investors and industry leaders. The Kingdom recently made large investments in technology to strengthen the infrastructure of both the public and private sectors.
Fives, a French company specializing in creating optimization, efficiency, and production quality solutions, with over 200 years of experience and significant presence in the Middle East, highlighted the importance of business collaboration.
“It’s very exciting for a company like mine to say we can be part of these (ambitious roadmaps) … It’s our role now to show these technologies and how we can support this evolution of Saudi Arabia, and I hope we will expand our presence here,” Denis Mercier, deputy general director of Fives, told Arab News.
The company has developed innovative technologies and smart solutions dedicated to sorting, handling, and advanced automation for the retail, distribution, e-commerce, postal and courier, automotive, manufacturing, and airport markets. It has also ventured into metal 3-D printing production.
“The key (to our) success comes in the ecosystem we’ve built, which is a combination of structures, people, and the relationship established between them. These kinds of (accelerators) will enable this ecosystem to really bring and deliver solutions,” Mercier said.
Finalcad, a French construction project management software company specializing in infrastructure and energy projects, has also signed a partnership agreement with PETITDIDIERPRIOUX Architects, as part of their establishment in the Kingdom.
“Our goal here is to have a strong presence in the years to come through this partnership and really establish a core market here in Saudi Arabia … We have general companies for the office part of construction and platform software, but you have nothing for the construction itself. We equip the site engineers and teams to do the job (in) the field.
“The companies are (open) to embracing and modernizing quickly. There are a lot of projects and opportunities and the willingness to partner with other companies to go further,” David Vauthrin, head of design at Finalcad, told Arab News.