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Saudi Arabia Pledges $1 Billion for AI Startup Accelerator at LEAP24

This funding will expand GAIA, a program that supports tech entrepreneurs in the early stages of their journeys.

Startup Scene

Saudi Arabia Pledges $1 Billion for AI Startup Accelerator at LEAP24

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has announced plans to inject $1 billion into its AI startup accelerator. This program, known as GAIA, is a collaboration between the Saudi Data and Artificial Intelligence Authority, the National Technology Development Program, and the US-based global AI community New Native, and has already recruited nearly 50 AI startups.

Based out of The Garage in Riyadh, this government initiative supports AI entrepreneurs by providing mentorship and resources to small teams that are working on generative AI solutions. The program is open to startups from around the world, provided they are willing to relocate to Riyadh for the duration of the 10-week program.

The announcement was made by Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Communications and Information Technology Abdullah Alswaha during LEAP24, one of the world’s biggest tech exhibitions. Currently running until March 7th, this year’s festival includes some of the biggest names in the tech field such as Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Dell, Cisco, SAP, Amazon Web Services, Alibaba and Huawei. In addition, 600 startups can be found on the festival’s exhibition floor.

Although Saudi Arabia’s AI startup accelerator is less than a year old, the Kingdom has long been invested in artificial intelligence. In 2017, it became the first country to grant citizenship to a robot. This latest announcement signals the country’s interest in becoming a hub of AI innovation.