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Saturday 16th November 2019 14:25:37 in English News by Madaxa Wararka
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    Five Saudi officials accused of corruption sentenced to jail, fined SR9m

    RIYADH: Red Sea Farms bagging third prize at the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) is a "fantastic" feeling, the Saudi startup's co-founders

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RIYADH: Red Sea Farms bagging third prize at the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC) is a "fantastic" feeling, the Saudi startup's co-founders


Mark Tester and Ryan Lefers told Arab News. "We’re representing Saudi Arabia, which I’m really proud of,” said Tester. "I think it’s bright to show that Saudi Arabia can not only host an amazing event, but actually has companies in the finals. There were several (Saudi) companies in the final 100 startups. This is really good.”




The winners of the EWC, the largest startup contest in the world, were announced on Thursday at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh.
Red Sea Farms creates agricultural technology with the aim of reducing global dependence on fresh water for irrigation.
It was co-founded more than 18 months ago by Tester, an associate director of the Center for Desert Agriculture at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), and agricultural engineer Lefers.
There were six Saudi startups among the 100 global finalists at the EWC: Sadeem, Faheem, Cura, Dhad, Red Sea Farms and UnitX. All were founded by graduates of KAUST’s entrepreneurship programs.
Getting third prize "is great to show the world that Saudi Arabia is changing so fast,” said Tester. "It’s great to be part of that change.”
In a message to Saudi youths, he said: "Work hard, be bold, be entrepreneurial and look at the markets.”
Red Sea Farms’ success at the EWC will enable the startup to get its tomatoes, which are grown by using desalinated water, to market "more quickly than anticipated,” Tester said. "Our goal is to produce 50 tons of tomatoes in the coming year.”







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There were six Saudi startups among the 100 global finalists at the EWC: Sadeem, Faheem, Cura, Dhad, Red Sea Farms and UnitX. All were founded by graduates of KAUST’s entrepreneurship programs.

Lefers said: "To make the top five among such an amazing group of entrepreneurs is a real honor, and validation that we’re working on something that people care about.”
He added: "Just to be a part of the EWC is a win in itself because we’re able to network with this great group of like-minded business people.”
He thanked KAUST for all its support, "not only from the research side, but also in terms of innovation, academic development and marketing. It has been very supportive with a wonderful ecosystem.”
The startup recently received early-stage funding from KAUST’s Innovation Fund and Research Products Development Co., the venture investment arm of King Abdullah City of Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh.
The partners jointly invested $1.9 million of seed funding to build a 2,000-square-meter pilot greenhouse facility on the KAUST campus.
Kevin Cullen, vice president for innovation and economic development at KAUST, told Arab News: "We are so proud that all of the Saudi finalists came from our university especially the Red Sea Farms, which came straight out of Professor Mark Tester’s greenhouse and is poised to revolutionize agriculture.”


Arab News


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