HRH Prince Khaled bin Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KBW Ventures, recently spoke one of the Middle East’s most prominent events for startups, the 2019 Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF).
Staged at the Expo Center Sharjah, the annual event involves two full days of talks, workshops, pitches and exhibits, and welcomes guests from across the MENA region and further afield.
Prince Khaled was interviewed live on stage by Aby Sam Thomas, the Editor-in-Chief of Entrepreneur Middle East magazine. The wide-ranging conversation, “Entrepreneurship For Good: Startups And Sustainability, Bolstered By Venture Capital,” touched on a number of topics, including Prince Khaled’s investments in a number of tech and deep tech companies, and his special focus on plant-based business models.
Prince Khaled also shared his views on the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and gave advice on pitching to investors, scaling and valuations.
During the conversation, emerging food technologies backed by venture capital were also discussed. Prince Khaled stressed that these food science solutions need to have widespread support and extensive public awareness campaigns. “I believe food tech, like cellular agriculture and other types of alternative proteins, are the answer to so many global issues like food security and alleviating the climate crisis,” he said. “The world cannot be sustained- it’s a relationship so investing in companies that have revolutionized the way protein is sourced is critical.”
Held under the patronage of HE Sheikha Bodour bint Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Sheraa, the SEF is one of the largest events for startups and entrepreneurs in the region, with around 4,000 attendees expected over the run of the show.
The SEF was opened by Najla Al Midfa, Chief Executive Officer of Sheraa, who gave a keynote speech highlighting the organization’s achievements so far, and outlining the importance of the sector to Middle Eastern economies.
Other keynotes were delivered by Sheikha Shamma bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Alliances for Global Sustainability and Grammy award-winning artist and entrepreneur Akon.