Sunny Side Up expands into Saudi with a new GM

Saudi Arabia: Creative agency Sunny Side Up (SSUP) has unveiled its strategic expansion into Saudi Arabia, underpinned by its aspiration to cater meticulously to the needs of both local and global clienteles situated within the Kingdom.SSUP Founder-CEO Najib Sabbagh said that the "The extended reach of SSUP into Saudi Arabia fills me with enthusiasm. This expansion seamlessly harmonizes with our visionary pursuit of spearheading the creative domain. I harbor unshakeable faith in Ismail Abualsamh's prowess to navigate our triumph within the Saudi market landscape."The Saudi Arabian wing of SSUP, christened SSUP KSA, shall be under the astute leadership of the recently inducted General Manager, Ismail Abualsamh. Endowed with a rich tapestry of experience within the industry, coupled with an intimate comprehension of the Saudi market dynamics, Abualsamh stands poised to lead with distinction.Ismail Abualsamh expresses his sentiment as he steps into the role of General Manager for KSA, affirming: "Assuming the mantle of GM for KSA at SSUP is a distinction I embrace with humility. I ardently look forward to steering our adept cadre in dispensing unparalleled solutions in the realms of creativity and marketing to our Saudi clientele. Collectively, we shall establish pioneering benchmarks within the Kingdom's landscape."The venture of SSUP into KSA arises as a direct reaction to the surging desire for inventive services and the essential requirement to furnish region-specific assistance to the Kingdom's clienteles. Under the banner of SSUP KSA, the Saudi Arabian arm of this creative powerhouse, an all-encompassing spectrum of services will be on offer. These services span the gamut from creativity and marketing acumen to social and production services. This comprehensive suite will be orchestrated by a band of adept creative professionals, galvanized and led by Abualsamh, synergizing their efforts towards the realization of client objectives.Notably, the agency has also made significant strategic appointments within its UAE division, in a bid to fortify its presence. Recent times have witnessed the announcement of Ralph Nader as the accomplished General Manager and Farah El Kadi as the visionary Creative Director for SSUP UAE.

E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023 opens in Riyadh

Riyadh: The third edition of the E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023, organised by Ejtemaat Saudi Arabia in partnership with the Saudi CX Association, opened today at the Crowne Plaza RDC in Riyadh.The E3 CX Conference is one of the largest platforms discussing customer experience in the region and is organised in strategic partnership with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology of KSA and Tamkeen Technologies. It addresses strategies and tools to accelerate customer-centric growth and innovation in the face of capricious developments in the experience economy, where consumers have started interacting with AI and demand fast services.The first day of the conference also saw the launch of the highly anticipated CX Saudi Excellence Programme, led by the Saudi CX Association, which recognised Saudi organisations, including, The National Center for Performance Measurement "Adaa"; Digital Government Authority; Communications, Space and Technology Commission; Ministry of Commerce, KPMG Saudi Arabia, Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at); Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC); Flying Bisons; National Center for the Development of the Non-Profit Sector; and Quality of Life Program of KSA, with the ‘Saudi Customer Experience Awards’."The Kingdom lives in the light of its comprehensive development vision, a comprehensive renaissance that extends to all sectors. To keep up with this developmental renaissance, the CX SAUDI (Customer Experience Association) is building a CX professional community in the Kingdom to educate, innovate and exchange insights to develop and implement sustainable and successful Customer Experience programs across the region," said Eng. Abdullah AlGhamedi, Founder & Chairman of Saudi CX Association, in his welcome address.He continued to emphasise on the Association's mission to support the Kingdom's CX agenda saying, "In order to activate the role of the association and achieve its goals, we are here today as a main partner in the E3 CX Conference, and we continue to support and enable events and programs that aim to serve the customer experience field at the local and regional levels."The two-day event gathers key decision-makers, CX experts, technology leaders, and thought leaders to explore the theme "Revolutionising Your Customer Experience". Topics include the influence of AI on customer journeys, brand loyalty, and the $482.18M customer experience management market. They will present actionable strategies and initiatives to drive customer-centric growth and innovation in the evolving experience economy and aligns with Saudi Vision 2030, aimed at economic development and diversification.During an insightful keynote session, Dr. Muhammad Al-Shaibi, CEO of Tamkeen Technologies, expressed Tamkeen Technologies' keenness to participate with the Ministry of Communications And Information Technology (MCIT) and Saudi Customer Experience Association (CXA) in sponsoring this specialised conference and contributing to the development of the customer experience industry.In addition, the Vice President of the Customer Experience Sector of Tamkeen Technologies, Mr. Ali Al-Zubaidi, also confirmed that Tamkeen Technologies is working hard to apply the latest international methodologies in this sector, which prompted us to design "JSOUR TX", which was established with the aim of integrating all known experiences, "such as the Customer Experience (CX), Employee Experience (EX), User Experience (UX)," which has become traditional and cannot achieve the customers' expectations without homogenising and harmonising all experiences together.Dr Fahad Al Twaijry, Director of Ejtemaat KSA, the organiser of the event, said, "It has become evident that designing and delivering quality customer experiences requires KSA business and government organisations next level understanding in terms of technology, trained manpower and seamless integration across the organisations. This can be only achieved by breaking down complex customer engagement processes and aligning the business or government services around the customer. The conference has attracted great feedback and attendance this year, and this reflects that KSA organisations are determined to take customer experience practises to the next level, and this is in line with the nation's and our leaderships objectives."The conference is set to feature over 40+ industry-leading speakers from the region and beyond, including industry pioneer Abdulaziz Alshamsan, CEO of CXKSA, who said, "Customer experience is trending, and CXKSA is as well. We are dedicated to the age of customers with our vision and CX capabilities. Technology can enhance customer experience and aim to create a total experience (TX). We are joining E3 to demonstrate that CXKSA has the talent and will to support the industry towards customer-centricity adoption. We are proud to announce during the event the "Saudi Customer Experience Awards", with its international history now in Saudi Arabia, the country with a vision for the future. We will contribute to enhancing and building the CX community here."Addressing important industry topics, the conference also highlighted how trust and safety is a rapidly growing industry critical to all organisations and individuals who gather in digital space. The Teleperformance SVP, Camilla Hegarty, focused on the theme "What is Trust and Safety and what invest in this now ", where she shared extensive insights on crucial areas of content moderation, payment and transactions, anti-fraud and security and social media monitoring to increase the overall customer experience."Managing customer experience is no longer an option for brands; it has become a necessity. To be recognised as market leaders globally, brands in the region need to use solutions like Lucidya, to provide the best CX possible to their clients. We support and partake in events like E3 to spread awareness on the importance of customer experience management and the effect of AI on customer experience." said Abdullah Asiri, Founder & CEO of Lucidya.Supported by global partners Teleperformance, Lucidya, Qualtrics, Genesys, Fourth Dimension Systems, QuestionPro, New Metrics, Medallia, Emplifi, Survey2Connect, Sprinklr, KPMG, Sitecore, Delight, Zoho, Silah, Freshworks, Alnafitha IT, Horváth, RayaCX, Sandsiv+, Ziwo, CXKsa, Taqniyat, Kanari, Hansa Research, and CXBrand, the E3 Customer Experience Conference 2023 highlights regional and international CX success stories, bringing together over 500+ delegates from the Middle East CX community with recognised CX practitioners and thought leaders from around the world.

MBC launches FM radio station in Saudi Arabia

Riyadh: MBC Group is set to make waves in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with the launch of MBC LOUD FM, a groundbreaking radio station catering to English-speaking and international music enthusiasts.MBC LOUD FM is the first contemporary hit radio (CHR) format station to grace the airwaves of Saudi Arabia, according to MBC Group. A global sensation, CHR-format stations focus on airing the freshest and most popular chart-topping tunes as defined by the Top 40 music charts.Listeners will enjoy a vibrant mix of locally produced shows and internationally syndicated programming. Featured shows include The Daily Wake Up, On Air with Ryan Seacrest, and Spin City.The Daily Wake Up, hosted by the dynamic duo of Jay R and Danah, will kick-start weekdays from 6am to 10am with a blend of music, news, and celebrity gossip. The show will also cover weather and traffic updates, daily call-ins and contests, and a special showbiz segment called 'Raya on Scoop.'On Air with Ryan Seacrest will dominate the weekday 4pm to 7pm slot with chart-topping tracks, entertainment news, and the latest movie buzz. MBC LOUD FM presents this syndicated show exclusively in the KSA.Spin City, set to air on Thursday and Friday nights from 10am to 3am, will showcase an eclectic mix of local and international DJs to keep the party going.Tarek Majdalani, who has joined the MBC LOUD FM team as Station Manager, will be responsible for executing the brand strategy, profiling, and positioning.This radio station is part of MBC Group's dedication to supporting Saudi Vision 2030 in the realms of entertainment and broadcasting. MBC Group Chairman Waleed bin Ibrahim Al Ibrahim emphasizes the unifying role of English as a global language. He said: "With MBC LOUD FM, our goal is to reach a diverse audience throughout the country, contributing to the nation's ambitions in developments and growth in the entertainment and media industry."Ziad Hamza, Group Director of Audio, Radio & Music at MBC Group, adds that MBC LOUD FM will "completely change the way listeners experience FM radio," enriching their enjoyment of radio and music content, and connecting them with a global audience through exceptional and distinctive radio content.Tune in to MBC LOUD FM on the following frequencies: Riyadh – 99.0, Jeddah – 94.3, and Dammam – 88.5.

UL Solutions expands Middle East presence with new Saudi Arabia location

Riyadh: UL Solutions, a global leader in applied safety science, announced that it opened a new office in Riyadh to serve customers in Saudi Arabia and throughout the Middle East. From this location, UL Solutions will deliver fire safety, security and sustainability services for customers by providing access to proven science, testing and critical data and software products. The UL Solutions office was established to support Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 economic transformation plan and to meet the requirement for all foreign entities to have a local presence to do business with the Kingdom as part of the country's efforts to establish Riyadh as a global business hub."Complementing our existing presence in Dammam, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, our new Riyadh office is our latest demonstration of UL Solutions' commitment to serving in-region customers. and will help support the region's major developments and projects, including those in industrial, infrastructure, information and communications technology, energy and sustainability sectors," said Dareen Ayyad, country manager of UL Solutions in Saudi Arabia and lead in the Riyadh office. "Expanding our Middle East footprint in Riyadh will enable key stakeholders in the Kingdom direct local access to UL Solutions' world-class safety science expertise in support of efforts to transform the economy."In 2016, Saudi Arabia published Vision 2030, a plan centered around three pillars: be at the heart of the Middle East, create a more diverse and sustainable economy, be an integral driver of international trade and connect three continents, including Africa, Asia and Europe. As part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia is diversifying its economy and reducing its dependence on oil.Since the publication of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia has undergone a significant transformation by establishing an $18 billion (USD) data center strategy and developing mega and giga projects, including NEOM, a smart city, and Amaala and the Red Sea Project, which are ultra-luxury and sustainable tourist destinations. Renewable energy projects are also a priority, with the Kingdom developing more than 58 GW of solar and wind power as it phases out all power stations that use fossil fuels. In addition, with a focus on the localization of industries, Saudi Arabia is targeting to triple its manufacturing gross domestic product (GDP), increase industrial export value to $148 billion (USD) by 2030, and increase the number of factories in the Kingdom to 36,000 by 2035. "With this transformation comes a significant need to address fire safety, cybersecurity and sustainability," said Hamid Syed, vice president and general manager of UL Solutions in the Middle East. "Building upon our existing footprint and previous work in the region, our new presence in Riyadh will allow us to continue to heighten our ability to be a trusted science-based safety, security and sustainability partner and help enable the Kingdom's economic evolution."As Saudi Arabia looks to improve nationwide fire safety and industrial security regulations, local and regional demand for fire prevention and safety implementation systems is anticipated to continue its upward trajectory. To help address this need, UL Solutions established a partnership with Dammam-based GCC Labs' safety arm to help advance fire safety in the Middle East. The two companies are also collaborating in Saudi Arabia to assess extreme environmental conditions on photovoltaic (PV) modules to help better understand future solar project efficiencies and extend PV module lifetimes.Other recent initiatives include agreements with the Saudi Arabian Standards Organization (SASO) to promote the use of UL Standards for safety, a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi Telecom Company (STC) to test various products across the fiber-to-home ecosystem, and accreditation by SASO to perform tests related to energy efficiency functionality for street, road and tunnel lighting products."In addition to our furthering our existing relationships with GCC Labs, STC and SASO, we look to strengthen key local partnerships, including those with the Saudi Electricity Company, the National Cybersecurity Authority, the Saudi Arabia Civil Defense and Saudi Aramco, to support the Kingdom's Vision 2030 goals," said Syed."Investment, trade and other commercial activities form a vital pillar of the bilateral relationship between the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," said James Glosen, counselor for Commercial Affairs at the United States (U.S.) Embassy in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. "As the Kingdom's economy grows and becomes increasingly diverse, significant opportunities for U.S. firms present themselves in a wide variety of sectors. To deepen our economic and commercial ties, the U.S. Embassies and Consulates are committed to supporting U.S. companies, such as UL Solutions, doing business with the Kingdom."

Siwar Foods partners with Sarl So Mochi to distribute ice creams in Saudi

RIyadh: Siwar Foods has signed an exclusive private label and distributor agreement with French company Sarl So Mochi to market and distribute a world class range of Mochi ice creams into the Middle East, starting with the launch in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The mochi's are comprised of dough that is wrapped around a center of scrumptious, premium ice cream with sweet rice flour that is pounded into a soft and chewy texture, representing a prefect fusion of French finesse and Japanese tradition. Commenting on the partnership, CEO & Founder Loaye Al-Nahedh said:'Our agile business model has once again allowed us to tap into the latest consumer trends. We are delighted to be filling a gap in the retail market, with best-in-class products and this partnership further highlights our commitment of bringing the world's leading Ready to Eat (RTE) solutions to the Saudi market and beyond'.The mochi market has witnessed strong growth driven by changing eating habits. The global mochi market was valued at USD350 million in 2021, projected to reach USD425 million by the end of 2030, growing at a CAGR of 11.8% from 2023 to 2030 (Verified Market Research Company 2023). Yusuf Jehangir, Chief Commercial Officer added: 'With 60% of the Saudi population under the age of 30, global trends are clearly impacting the culinary preferences of young Saudis, with the Gen Z segment being influenced by social media platforms such as Tik Tok'. We are excited that a young Saudi company is at the forefront of the ever-changing culinary landscape and mochi's are a prime example of this'.In a short period of time, Siwar has worked with leading manufacturers around the world to introduce a growing range of 'time saving' products into the Saudi retail market, including; meals, pizzas, desserts, pancakes and waffles. The 'Mochi range adds to the list of convenience based RTE categories that Siwar is increasingly penetrating.

Saudi Arabia makes major leap forward in women’s entrepreneurship

Saudi Arabia: There are many more women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia today than there were six years ago, according to the Prince Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC).According to Dr. Muhammad Azam Roomi, who spoke at the Fifth Gulf Businesswomen Forum in Jeddah, women across Saudi Arabia have become major contributors to the entrepreneurial ecosystem, placing the Kingdom fourth among the top countries in entrepreneurship.Held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Al Faisal, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Emir of Makkah, the forum was organized by the Federation of the Gulf Cooperation Council Chambers (FGCCC), the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC), and the Jeddah Chamber. More than 500 GCC and Arab dignitaries attended the forum, titled Gulf Women: Between Empowerment and Leadership.In a session titled Women’s Entrepreneurship Development in Saudi Arabia: The Results of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (2016-2022), Prof. Roomi, who teaches entrepreneurship at MBSC and heads the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s team in Saudi Arabia, went over the GEM’s 2020-2021 report, which was released by the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha'at) and MBSC. The report covers the Kingdom’s new policies towards women, including their right to full business enterprise ownership.The Kingdom has come a long way in its mission to increase women’s national workforce representation, said Dr. Roomi, who has been writing the annual report since 2017. Thanks to bold initiatives that have created more employment opportunities for women, provided them with new funding avenues, and facilitated a number of new networking events, women’s representation had risen from 22 percent in 2019 to 31 percent in 2021.Dr. Roomi attributed the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial boom to the government’s awareness programs that have motivated more women to start businesses than ever before. Networking events such as the Biban forum have helped women from across the country showcase their business acumen. They have also found a great amount of support from various exhibitions and performance-based awards. The GEM report, he added, contains ample evidence to support the positive impact that these initiatives have had. It helps build a greater understanding of the traits and attributes of women’s entrepreneurship in the Kingdom, functioning as a study of effective policymaking and socioeconomic program design.The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor relies on 13 indicators to assess entrepreneurship in a given country, including that country’s financial environment, legislative priorities, bureaucracy and taxation in government legislation, the level and quality of government programs for entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurship across educational levels.The Gulf Businesswomen Forum is an international platform through which entrepreneurial women from GCC countries can express their aspirations, show off their plans to grow and expand their enterprises to become significant contributors to economic growth, and showcase their entrepreneurial and innovative achievements. It also aims to identity hurdles that may hinder entrepreneurial women’s quest to succeed, highlight investment opportunities in and for entrepreneurial enterprises, and showcase the success stories of GCC women.

Online banking threat: More than a quarter of users in Saudi Arabia lost money

According to the Kaspersky Digital Payment survey, 26% of respondents from Saudi Arabia experienced financial losses associated with threats when using online banking and mobile wallet services. The majority of users (88%) lost up to USD $1,000 as a result of these incidents, while (12%) of the respondents reported a loss of more than USD $1,000.According to Kaspersky Security Network, more than 1.8 million financial threats were blocked in the Middle East by the company, 540,224 of them in Saudi Arabia. These attacks were aimed at stealing financial information such as credit card numbers and login credentials and usually rely on social engineering tactics to lure victimsHowever, the impact of a cyber threat targeting digital payments does not just impose a financial burden on consumers, but also affects them psychologically. For example, 53% of respondents said that they lost sleep and were very anxious about getting their money back. More than half (58%) of users reported that their trust in digital payment providers have become lesser. While 56% also stated that they became more vigilant after experiencing a cyber incident, 69% installed security solutions like an antivirus on their infected devices.A spokesperson from Lulu Exchange’s IT team, said, “Digital payments are the backbone of modern commerce, and have come to become a prime target for cyber threats. It is the responsibility of all stakeholders, including various service providers and customers, to remain vigilant and take proactive measures against security threats. From an organizational perspective, building a strong cyber governance framework is one of the surest ways to operate securely, responsibly, and ethically while safeguarding the trust of customers and stakeholders."“Since the beginning of the pandemic 64% of users in Saudi Arabia faced at least one incident when using digital payments. That’s why it’s increasingly important to know how to interact securely with any emerging technologies, including online banking and mobile wallet services. And all stakeholders, like government, digital payment providers, users and even cybersecurity companies need to come together to create a sustainable and secure payment ecosystem”, said Emad Haffar, Head of technical experts at Kaspersky.To help users in Saudi Arabia embrace digital payment technologies securely, Kaspersky experts suggest the following:Do not share your PIN, password or any other financial information with anyone online or offline.Avoid using the public Wi-Fi to make any online transactions.Use a separate credit or debit card to make online transactions. Set a spending limit on the card which can help keep a track of financial transactions.Shop from trusted and official websitesUse reliable security solution such as Kaspersky Premium on all your devices which are used for financial transactions. It helps to detect fraudulent or suspicious activity and check the security of visited websites.For developers, banks and companies involved in providing digital payment services, Kaspersky recommends:Invest in holistic cybersecurity solutions that can help detect fraud across multiple levels of online payment processes and consumer touchpoint.Complex attacks by APT groups on financial institutions are also on a rise. In-depth visibility and threat intelligence are a necessity to keep customers protected and to ensure business continuity. Using the Kaspersky Threat Intelligence service is helpful to support your IT teams in analysing and mitigating threats.Conduct cyber awareness training for employees continuously. This will help employees know the red flags to look for when an organization is under attack and to understand their role in protecting the organization.MethodologyThe Kaspersky Digital Payment survey studies our interactions with online payments. It also examines our attitudes towards them, which hold the key to understanding the factors that will further drive or stem the adoption of this technology.The study was conducted by research agency Toluna across the Middle East, Turkiye, South Africa, and Nigeria. Survey responses were gathered in 2022 with a total of 2,004 respondents surveyed across the stated countries.

SVC invests in 35 Funds. VC Investments in Saudi Arabia Grew 17 Times

 Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), a subsidiary of the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank (SME) , one of the development banks affiliated with the National Development Fund, released today its recent Impact Report, which revealed SVC’s contribution to achieving record growth rates. The report highlighted the impact of SVC on the Venture Capital (VC) and Private Equity (PE) ecosystem in the Kingdom since the company’s establishment in 2018.The SVC Impact Report revealed that the total committed investments of SVC amounted to $560 Million since its inception, while the total committed investments including partners are estimated at $3.9 Billion. SVC invested in 35 funds that have invested in 525 startups through 904 deals so far, including several vital sectors such as e-commerce, fintech, information and communication technology, education, delivery, and transportation.The impact report showed that SVC’s strategy contributed over the past four years in increasing the number of investors in Saudi startups and SMEs, encouraging existing and new financial companies to establish VC and PE funds, and motivating regional and global funds to invest in Saudi startups and SMEs.The report revealed that the funding deployed into Saudi Arabian startups grew 17 times to a record-high close to $1 Billion in 2022 versus $59 Million in 2018 when SVC started operation.Commenting on the report, CEO and Board Member at SVC Dr. Nabeel Koshak said: “We at SVC are committed to supporting the development of the VC and PE ecosystem in Saudi Arabia and continue stimulating private investors to provide support in turn for startups and SMEs to be capable of fast and high growth, which leads to diversifying the national economy and achieving the goals of the Saudi Vision 2030”.