Saudi Arabia to offer up to $4mn loan for technology startups

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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Saudi Arabia’s National Information Technology Sector Development Program (NTDP) launched an initiative to provide loans of up to $4 million to technology businesses as it aims to boost its digital economy and attract new investments.

As part of the initiative, the Arab world’s largest economy will offer loans ranging from $26,666 to $4 million to support startups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in the technology sector.

In addition to NTDP, the initiative is part of the Small and Medium Enterprises Loan Guarantee Programme (Kafalah) and it aims to foster the growth of information technology enterprises and improve the funding of the financial institutions, licensed by the Saudi Central Bank, to the industry.

The program will serve as a guarantor for the companies to help them obtain funds from financiers. The initiative will also help to boost the local content in the sector and enable young Saudis to implement their innovative ideas. 

Companies can apply for loans directly from the participating banks and financing agencies or use the option available on the Monshaat online portal, according to an official statement.

The world’s biggest oil exporter is investing significantly in its digital transformation and has introduced various smart initiatives in recent years. Last month, Saudi Arabia announced initiatives worth $4 billion in partnership with ten global tech companies.

The new initiatives seek to boost the digital capabilities of the kingdom and produce one programmer out of every 100 Saudi nationals by 2030. Saudi Arabia also unveiled its first locally made chip, which can be used in military, civil and commercial equipment applications.

The kingdom aims to attract foreign and local investment worth over $20 billion in the fields of data and artificial intelligence (AI) by 2030 and is looking to develop customized applications that could propel the use of the Arabic language in AI algorithms and software.

Related: Trend Micro sets up its MENA HQ in Saudi Arabia