GCF Talk

Welcome to the official GCF2012 blog where we will be covering the most noteworthy stories in and around the GCF2012 conference. We welcome your comments, suggestions, questions, and your own ideas for initiatives, and we will address selected comments and questions to speakers at the Forum

Global Competitiveness Forum Riyadh – USSABC Workshop

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 20th, 2014

Published: January 17, 2014

Editor’s Note:

The Global Competitiveness Forum for 2014 is set to open in Riyadh this week with an extensive agenda of high level officials, business leaders and scholars. The event is organized by theSaudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) under the patronage of King Abdullah. The GCF 2014 web site describes the event:

In its 7th year, the GCF will focus on showcasing local and regional authorities and business leaders opposite world renowned global thought leaders to shed light on local, regional, and global business trends and opportunities. For 2014, we focus on the theme of “Building Competitive Partnerships”, In other words, investing in strategic alliances enabling businesses to gain a competitive advantage through access to partners’ resources, technologies, and capital, essentially building a solid workforce to deliver a prosperous economic future. The agenda will touch on all forms of investment opportunities in the Kingdom highlighting the success stories as well as addressing the global and regional trends in business competitiveness; including strategies for economic growth, developing a world class infrastructure, and international trade partnerships. In addition, the GCF will present a series of breakaway workshops that will expand on some of the valuable topics discussed onstage in small and intimate workshops.

Today we provide an announcement from our friends at the US-Saudi Arabian Business Council about a workshop they are sponsoring at this Global Competitiveness Forum as well as links to more material about the current and previous forums.

USSABC to Organize and Moderate “Key to Successful Partnerships” Workshop at the Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh

The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council (USSABC) is organizing and moderating the workshop “Key to Successful Partnerships” on January 19, 2014 at the 7th Annual Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF). The 2014 GCF is organized by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh on January 18-20, 2014, under the patronage of H.M. King Abdullah, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques.

The workshop will highlight challenges in successfully building lasting international business partnerships and the role that the USSABC has been playing for 20 years as a broker, information source, and cross cultural mentor in facilitating new commercial relationships between U.S. and Saudi businesses. Speakers include John Lefas, President and CEO, Ingenia Polymers, and Rami Khalid Alturki, President, Khalid Ali Alturki & Sons Co. Edward Burton, CEO and President, USSABC, will moderate the workshop.

Founded in 2006 by SAGIA, the GCF is an annual meeting of heads of state and senior government officials, global business leaders, CEOs of Fortune 100 companies, presidents of world-renowned universities and non-profit organizations, and journalists. The program objective is to discuss the positive impact that the organizational and national competitiveness can have on local, regional, and global economic and social development. The GCF is attended by approximately 2,500 business people, and the theme of this year’s event is “Building Competitive Partnerships.” The GCF will discuss topics such as public-private partnerships, local content and manpower, technology transfer, R&D, healthcare, education, entrepreneurship, alternative energy, and travel and tourism. For more information, please visit www.gcf.org.sa

Source: US-Saudi Arabian Business Council

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GCF2012 Presentations online

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  February 4th, 2012

The presentations from your favorite speakers and sessions at the GCF2012 event are currently being uploaded online. Access all the presentations and videos via the Media Center on the GCF website at http://www.gcf.org.sa/en/Updates/

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How to succeed at work and life—in an increasingly unpredictable world

Posted by Lschlesinger   |  January 24th, 2012

In a world where you can no longer plan or predict your way to success, how can you achieve your most important goals? It’s a daunting question. But in today’s environment, where change is the only constant, it’s a question everyone must answer. This is true whether you are an innovator or an entrepreneur, a manager or a newly minted graduate.

The first step, say the authors of this book, is this: “Just start.” In other words, take action now and learn as you go.

Written by a trio of seasoned business leaders, Just Start combines fascinating research with proven practices to deliver a reliable method for helping you advance toward your goals—despite the uncertainty that is all too common today. Babson College President Leonard Schlesinger, organizational learning expert Charles Kiefer, and veteran journalist Paul B. Brown share their own deep and varied experiences and draw from a source where striving amid constant uncertainty actually works: the world of serial entrepreneurship. In this world, people don’t just think differently—they act differently, as well.

Using this novel approach, Just Start will help you:

• Determine the best strategy and tactics when the future is uncertain
• Minimize financial risk in every decision you make
• Attract like-minded people to what you want to do (and learn why this is important)
• Understand why “Act. Learn. Build (so you can) Act again” is the best course of action when facing the unknown

So throw out your forecasting tools and shrug off that nagging frustration that comes with constant uncertainty. Just Start distills for you the very essence of what makes people successful in today’s volatile environment. This book is your guide to achieving your goals—whether your project is professional or personal, or somewhere in between.

John Wynne, Sales Associate

  Len Schlesinger

  President, Babson College

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Successful entrepreneurs ‘must act without fear’

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 23rd, 2012

RIYADH: Vision is the most important factor in driving entrepreneurship and continuous learning is extremely important for businesses. Entrepreneurship will thrive with locally appropriate solutions. In the emerging economies, entrepreneurship needs to be a national effort supported by appropriate eco-systems and policies. Entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity can only flourish in an atmosphere of freedom.

These were some of the most important observations made during the first day of the opening session of the Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum on “The Entrepreneurship Imperative”.

John A. Quelch, distinguished professor of international management, vice-president and dean at CEIBS, the leading China-based international business school, moderated the session.

George Buckley, chairman and CEO, 3M, who delivered the opening keynote address, said the best way to remain competitive is to innovate.

“There are no silver medals awarded for second place in a ‘winner takes all’ world. You have to change faster than the competitors. The best way to forecast the future is to create it. Innovation is risky but essential. If you don’t innovate you can never win the competitive battle no matter how hard you try. You must innovate to survive. There is no data on the future — innovation is what we need. You cannot innovate without being an optimist.”

Anna Dutra, CEO, Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting, said successful entrepreneurs should be “fearless” personalities.

“Great entrepreneurs see the opportunity where we don’t see it. They have this ability to look at the economy and market place and spot opportunities, take risks. They thrive on their challenge. They take the risks. They are fearless, but they only succeed under certain conditions.”

Fadi Ghandour, founder and CEO, Aramex, added: “We have to ask how we can educate our youth on the fact that an entrepreneurial culture is a good career that you want to risk. We don’t need the capital of foreigners; you need their knowledge to create the jobs that we so much need.”

Magatte Wade, entrepreneur, founder and CEO, The Tiosanno Tribe, said anyone could develop an entrepreneurial spirit.

“Whatever it is that sucks in your life, that’s an opportunity to go out and build something. We are lucky people because how many are lying in hospital beds and don’t have access to the things we have? If anyone has the nerve to complain I say ‘how dare you’.”

Arab News

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BlackBerry Entrepreneurship Academy in Kingdom

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 22nd, 2012

RIYADH: The Research In Motion Limited, the maker of BlackBerry smartphones, is setting up BlackBerry Entrepreneurship Academy in the Kingdom in partnership with the Saudi Arabian Investment Authority (SAGIA).

This was announced at a joint press conference held on the sidelines of the Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh.

Abdulaziz Al-Mutairi, chief executive officer (CEO) of The Centennial Fund; Fahd Hamidaddin, chief of marketing and competitiveness initiatives of SAGIA; Patrick Spence,managing director for global sales and regional marketing, RIM; and Sandeep Saihgal, managing director of Middle East, RIM, attended the press conference.

Expressing SAGIA’s commitment to form The BlackBerry Entrepreneurship Academy, Fahd Hamidaddin said the agreement demonstrates SAGIA’s commitment to support “digital entrepreneurship” and further the development of the mobile application industry in the Kingdom.

“We see an increasing demand in this region for localized applications and mobile content and this is creating an opportunity for enterprising software developers,” Hamidaddin said, adding that the programs under the BlackBerry Entrepreneurship Academy will significantly increase the number of applications available in Saudi Arabia, the Middle East region and globally, and enable new skills and more job opportunities in the Kingdom.

The BlackBerry Entrepreneurship Academy, is to be funded by SAGIA and its sister institutions, Cadre and The Centennial Fund.

The primary objectives of the project is to accelerate the growth of mobile app development in the Kingdom and support and foster the growth of local software developers and “digital entrepreneurs” in the Saudi economy.

It would also help create localized mobile apps and content for end-users on the BlackBerry platform

Through the academy, RIM will provide training workshops, a support team and consultation to help entrepreneurial Saudi developers with the commercial and technical aspects of developing mobile applications and content.

Regionally, RIM supports developers through its BlackBerry Alliance Program, providing Alliance members with the necessary tools and know-how to visualize, build and market BlackBerry applications.

“We are very honored to be working with SAGIA to launch the BlackBerry Entrepreneurship Academy in the Middle East,” Sandeep Saihgal said, pointing out that the proposed academy is intended to give Saudi developers access to RIM’s in-house team of developers, who will provide support to Saudi developers for getting their apps to market and into BlackBerry App World.

Locally developed apps will benefit Saudi consumers by bringing locally relevant entertainment, productivity, community service and utility apps directly to their BlackBerry smartphone,Saihgal noted

“BlackBerry smartphones and the BlackBerry® PlayBook tablet are  popular in the Kingdom. In fact, Saihgal said the business is  more than doubled in size last year in the Middle East, and 99 percent of BlackBerry customers in the Kingdom now use BBM™ (BlackBerry® Messenger), which is among the highest in its global footprint.”

RIM has also provided 1,500 BlackBerry PlayBook tablets to GCF delegates this year.

Arab News

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Kingdom on course for world-class 21st century education system

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 22nd, 2012

RIYADH: Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah on Sunday highlighted the Kingdom’s comprehensive vision for a world-class 21st century education system in his keynote address to the Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum in Riyadh.

He also called for more private sector participation to develop the education system.

Plans are underway to set up business schools in the Kingdom, which would require such participation in this sector, he said.

“Education is the innovative solution enabling, rehabilitating and equipping students with the in-depth knowledge needed to convert to a knowledge society. This means that we should support a quality culture, effectiveness of educational systems and invest in human capital,” the minister said, speaking at the end of the session on the first day of the forum.

On behalf of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah inaugurated the event in Riyadh on Saturday.

Prince Faisal said he is “immensely proud” of the development of general education in the Kingdom.

“The number of students, teachers and schools doubled each decade during the last 40 years. The total number of students stands at 5 million. The number of teachers, male and female, stands at half a million. Schools have increased to more than 33,000,” said the minister.

“The ministry realizes that each and every step is a cost or investment. Accordingly, our steps are carefully taken and in association with government roles, namely educational, research and academic.” He said SR170 billion had been allocated in this year’s budget for general and higher education and training.

The ministry is also encouraging and progressing the early childhood enrollment project, developing the curricula and teaching standards, he said.

He added: “Investing in human capital is beneficial and profitable for any society. Efforts are exerted to build a renewable flexible strong education system attaching great importance to the student who is the learner. It is for him we work. Today he is in school; tomorrow he will be a leader carrying the torch of growth and development.”

He pointed out that computer education has become the inevitable need of the community.

He recalled that he visited a school where the children of primary classes had a good knowledge in using computers.

“I came to know that every child in the class had a computer at home,” the prince said happily, indicating that it is a healthy sign of development in the classroom in keeping with the technological advances in the world. Encouraging physical culture, the minister said sports will also be part of the curriculum in schools for boys and girls.

“To build a healthy generation, we need our children to take part in recreational activities that would keep them mentally  fit in their classrooms.”

He said the ministry understands the value of a knowledge-based society and programs are being tailored to those needs.

The ministry also concentrates on developing the skills of the teachers to improve their efficiency, he said.

Orientation and refresher courses will be conducted for teachers to keep pace with the latest methods of education according to international standards, the minister said.

Referring to students, he said: “I treat the 5 million students as my children and I want them to come up in their life. We as a government would provide them with a conducive environment to promote learning in all educational institutions in the Kingdom,” he said,adding that its aim is to make them useful citizens of society.

“The ministry is seeking to enhance the participation of women, paving the way to assume leading positions on equal footings with men.”

The government has appointed a woman as one of the deputy ministers of education in recognition of women’s role in national development, he pointed out.

“We have some 45 women holding top positions in various educational provinces that come under the ministry of education.”

Arab News

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Some of the best companies were born during slowdowns: E&Y CEO

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 22nd, 2012

RIYADH: Entrepreneurs succeed because they identify an unmet need in society and they develop a product or service to meet that need, says Jim Turley, chairman and CEO of Ernst & Young.

Turley is a panelist on the “Art of Failure” session at the 6th Annual Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) taking place in Riyadh.

He said: “We’re very proud to be part of the GCF — it’s grown over the years to become a flagship event in the Middle East and North Africa region, and the Saudi Arabian General Investment  Authority (SAGIA) has done a great job with its organization and positioning.”

Turley was speaking to Arab News on the GCF forum which is being held at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh.

“This year’s focus on entrepreneurship is a great fit for us as we’ve worked with entrepreneurs around the world for many years.”

Ernst & Young’s ‘Entrepreneur Of The Year Program’ was started in 1986 to help acknowledge and reward entrepreneurs for their invaluable contribution to society — and it’s the only global program that exists today.

“We’ll be sharing our insights from this program and from our work with entrepreneurs around the world. I’m looking forward to sharing my own views on entrepreneurship on the panel debate that I’m part of called The Art of Failure, which looks at the role of failure in innovation and growth — and why fear of failure can sometimes get in the way of success,” Turley said .

Do you think the SME sector in the Kingdom can be entrusted with creating additional jobs?

Yes, absolutely. Entrepreneurs not only create jobs and wealth but also new products and even new markets. In an increasingly global market, countries that have stronger SME segments are in a better position to drive economic growth and provide opportunity and employment for their people in the longer term. That’s something that the Saudi government has recognized in their program to incentivize SME growth.  

Has the government done enough to incentivize the SME sector?

The best judges of that are probably the entrepreneurs themselves, and our recent survey ‘Entrepreneurs Speak Out’ found Saudi entrepreneurs to be positive about the role that the government plays in nurturing young companies and aspiring entrepreneurs — they acknowledge the investment that has been made in recent years. The program launched by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah in 2005 to reduce the burden on start-up companies has resulted in some impressive changes — it took 59 fewer days in 2010 to start a business than it did in 2005, down to just five, and start-up costs have been cut by 80 percent. In terms of the time it takes to start a business, Saudi Arabia is also among the most competitive countries in the G20 group of nations and the most competitive rapid-growth market in the G20.

Is today a good time to start a new business with the euro zone uncertainty looming in 2012?

The economic outlook is without doubt uncertain but it’s important to remember that some of the world’s largest companies and most famous brands were born during slowdowns. Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, General Electric are just some of the big names that come to mind. Entrepreneurs succeed because they identify an unmet need in society, and they develop a product or service to meet that need. Tough times, like we are seeing today, inevitably mean there are a lot more unmet needs.

So, while times are difficult — the opportunities are still out there for those who are bold.

How do education, training and communication in Saudi compare with global levels?

It compares very well.

The commitment to education is clear by the fact that it’s the nation’s second largest budgetary item — few countries can claim that. Saudi entrepreneurs are certainly seeing the benefits. In the survey I mentioned earlier, 80 percent reported improvements in entrepreneurship conferences and seminars and just over 70 percent said that programs at universities or business schools had improved.

The many recent initiatives that have been set up to provide Saudi youth with training and financial resources to establish their own businesses are doing a great job.

How do you see the effect/reality and future of accounting firms in the Kingdom and the region?

The region’s accounting and audit market is growing at probably one of the fastest rates in the world, and is rapidly moving towards a unified accounting model. Robust growth, double digit at least, is likely over the next few years.

Developments in the Kingdom include educational reforms, an influx of foreign businesses setting up, encouragement of the SME sector and manufacturing. Saudi non-oil trade is also growing at a fast pace. Accounting firms are in demand to support this large-scale diversification and will have their hands full over the next decade.

A key challenge facing the profession lies in ensuring that international norms and IFRS are uniformly implemented across the industry, so that businesses are reliably valued. This is important as Saudi is the region’s biggest equity market and when the investment climate improves, IPOs can be floated at a faster pace.

The financial industry in the Kingdom and the region is moving at a cautious pace. How do you see its progress? And what is your opinion on the changes that the Saudi financial market has seen over the past years?

The regional financial industry has become more cautious since the global credit crunch and has taken measures to help mitigate future risks. The Tadawul has become one of the best regulated markets in the region — and it’s seen the results, maturing as an exchange. It led IPO listings in 2011, with the largest number of brokers and investors operating there in the region.

The Saudi financial market is one of the most advanced and reliable exchanges in the region with one of the largest investor bases. If, as some media reports suggest, foreigners are allowed to invest directly in the Tadawul for the first time later this year, then we are bound to see a substantial increase in capital market activity and subsequent growth in the Saudi financial sector.

Saudi Arabia has favorable demographics, a buoyant economy and vast oil wealth. Integrating further with the global economy will benefit both Saudi and the rest of the world.

The Kingdom and other countries in the region have made large strides in promoting transparency, what do you think of these efforts? And what is the importance of the financial industry and its operating mechanism in promoting these efforts in the industry?

The move toward greater transparency is inevitable and is welcomed by big businesses and governments in the region. Transparency is an important piece of the institutional infrastructure that underpins sound economic performance and ultimately drives economic growth. Because they provide the primary means of business financing, the banking and financial services sectors play a pivotal role in the implementation and enforcement of corporate governance principles.

Ernst & Young is a large and well-respected professional organization, what are your plans to promote the local work force in the global network?

We’re very proud that many of Kingdom’s most talented people have chosen to become part of our organization. By joining our global network, they gain experience working all over the world in very different economic environments and with a broad range of cultures — insights and skills that they can use to benefit the local profession. We’re committed to giving our people opportunities to develop diverse careers that span different disciplines and countries, to work on complex issues and to develop leadership skills that we hope will benefit them and benefit the Kingdom for many years to come.

Arab News

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GCF highlights Kingdom’s support for entrepreneurship and innovation

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 22nd, 2012

RIYADH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah said on Saturday that he is happy that the Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF) would further deepen the spirit of competitiveness among business leaders which would eventually uplift the standard of life of the people in the Kingdom.

On behalf of King Abdullah, Commerce and Industry Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah read out the King’s speech at the inauguration of the Sixth GCF in Riyadh on Saturday.

More than 1,000 guests ranging from government officials to private sector businessmen were present at the glittering ceremony.

Both the minister and Prince Saud bin Khalid Al-Faisal, deputy governor for Investment Affairs of Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority SAGIA and also its president of The National Competitiveness Center (NCC), distributed awards to the sponsors of this major event which has drawn more than 100 speakers from all around the world.

The event, sponsored by SAGIA, is being held in Riyadh for the sixth consecutive year.

Reading out the king’s speech, Al-Rabiah said such competitiveness would lead to sustainable economic growth that could create more job opportunities for the people in the Kingdom.

Competitiveness will also diversify the Kingdom’s economy into new sectors, he noted .

“Competitiveness is a key incentive for investments,” the minister said, adding that SMEs would also benefit from such developments in the economic sector.

Welcoming the guests, Abdullah Saleh Al-Hozaimi, chairman of the organizing committee of the GCF, thanked the guests for attending the function which would provide a forum to exchange experience in competitiveness and promote development of trade in the Kingdom.

The forum comprises 35 sessions and 140 local and international speakers.

Over the years, GCF has successfully highlighted the importance of a competitive and innovative marketplace.

This event will reiterate the benefits of entrepreneurship and tap into young, entrepreneurial minds to effect change.

On the second day of the forum, SAGIA will honor the fastest growing companies in Saudi Arabia and formally announce the names of this year’s winners of the Saudi Fast Growth 100.

Un-Chan Chung, former prime minister of South Korea, will deliver the closing keynote address.

“The Entrepreneurship Imperative” — will be the overriding theme of this year’s event.

The forum will analyze the aspects of social, government and corporate entrepreneurship.

Key areas of discussion will include the importance of failure, value of risk and the anatomy of an entrepreneur.

This year will also see the inclusion of breakaway workshops that will expand on some of the topics discussed onstage in a smaller and more personalized setting.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal, chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Labor Minister Adel Fakeih and Education Minister Prince Faisal bin Abdullah, are scheduled to deliver separate keynote speeches.

George Buckley, chairman and CEO of 3M, is slated to deliver the keynote address at the opening session on Sunday, focusing on the institutionalization of entrepreneurship.

John A. Quelch, distinguished professor of international management, vice president and dean at CEIBS, the leading China-based international business school, will moderate most of the panel sessions at the Forum on the first day. Quelch is the senior associate.

The morning sessions on Day 2 of the conference will focus on global risks, with a keynote address by Prince Turki Al-Faisal.

The panel session on Global Risks, titled “The Challenges Ahead” will be moderated by John Defterios of CNN.

Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Saud bin Majid Al-Daweesh, Group CEO of Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Arif Naqvi, founder and CEO of Abraaj Capital, Dennis M. Nally, chairman and CEO of PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Robin Niblett, director, Chatham House, London, will take part in the panel discussions.

“An apple a day is no longer enough,” a session dedicated to health care, will look at the impact of technology on health while “Aerotropolis” will assess how the new model airports can become the key nodes of global production and enterprise systems by connecting workers, suppliers, executives and goods to the global marketplace.

Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School, will deliver the keynote address on the third day of the forum.

The final day sessions focus on venture capital, “intrapreneurship”, “greenovation,” impact of natural disasters, innovation, competitiveness, and disruptive technologies.

The “greenovation” panel will include Abe Sher, Chairman and CEO, Aqua Sciences; Ditlev Engel, CEO, Vestas; Joseph Adelegan, president, Green Globe Trust and Founder, Global Network for Environment and Econonmic Development Research, Green Power Partnership Limited and Michael Czysz, CEO, Motoczysz

The day will also feature Marco Tempest who has earned fame as a techno-illusionist. Imagination and creativity will again be key topics at “Disruptive Technologies — Life Extension and Other Emerging Sciences” which will be moderated by Arlan Andrews, founder, SIGMA, and addressed by Catherine Asaro, physicist, author; Kathleen Goonan, writer; and Mark O’ Green, science fiction game writer.

The convergence of science, technology, engineering and math to create new solutions to complex challenges will be in focus at the subsequent session where the young will share their ideas and insights.

Ariell Buckingham, student entrepreneur, Caspar Hobbs, CEO, professional and vocational education, Pearson, Kyle Wong, student, entrepreneur and Tammy Camp, managing partner, Camp International and entrepreneur will address the session titled “The Innovation Generation.”

Arab News

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World business leaders address Global Competitiveness Forum

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 22nd, 2012

RIYADH — The Sixth Global Competitiveness Forum (GCF), being held under the patronage of King Abdullah, was inaugurated here Saturday by Minister of Commerce and Industry Dr. Tawfiq Bin Fawzan Al-Rabeah at the Four Seasons Hotel in Kingdom Tower.
Till Jan. 24, hundreds of business leaders from around the world will share their insights and opinions on “The Entrepreneurship Imperative” which is the overriding theme of this year’s event.
The GCF has grown over the past five years to become one of the biggest gatherings of political and business leaders.
The event has also helped its organizers, the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), to launch important initiatives to highlight the progress Saudi Arabia has been making in pushing its economic competitiveness agenda. GCF 2012 sessions will discuss all forms of entrepreneurship (social, government, and corporate entrepreneurship) and related aspects such as failure and risk.
GCF 2012 will feature Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Adel Fakieh, Minister of Labor, and Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah, Minister of Education. They are scheduled to deliver separate keynote addresses.
George Buckley, Chairman and CEO of 3M, will deliver the keynote address for the opening session on Jan. 22, focusing on the institutionalization of entrepreneurship.
Dr. John A. Quelch, Distinguished Professor of International Management, Vice President and Dean at CEIBS, the leading China-based international business school, will moderate most of the panel sessions at the Forum on the first day. Dr. Quelch is the Senior Associate Dean and Lincoln Filene Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and also a former Dean of London Business School.
The sessions on the first day of the Forum are dedicated to the various aspects of entrepreneurship. “The Anatomy of an Entrepreneur”, “Dare to be Great – The Art of Failure”, “Artepreneurs: Creating Business and Jobs”, and “Generation C – Click, Connect, Communicate, Collaborate” are sessions that are expected to offer wide-ranging and interesting insights about business success and competitiveness in today’s world.
The list of key speakers and panel is an indication of the diversity of knowledge and experience likely to be shared at the Forum. It includes Magatte Wade, Entrepreneur, Founder and CEO of The Tiosanno Tribe; Christian Klingler, Member of the Board of Management of Volkswagen AG; Fadi Ghandour, Founder and CEO of Aramex; Len Schlesinger, President of Babson College; Hassan Al-Tawadi, Secretary General of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee; Ana Dutra, CEO of Korn/Ferry Leadership and Talent Consulting; Amy Rosen, President and CEO of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship; Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO, Lafarge; David Sproul, Chief Executive of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Regions; Jean-Pascal Tricoire, President and CEO of Schneider Electric; Sean C. Rush, President and CEO of JA Worldwide; and Shahid Ansari, Provost of Babson College.
Hans Paul Buerkner, President and CEO of Boston Consulting Group; James Turley, Chairman and CEO, Ernst & Young; Nandini Vaidyanathan, Founder and Mentor of CARMa; Stephen Pagliuca, Managing Director of Bain Capital and Co-Owner of Boston Celtics, and Victor Chu, Chairman of First Eastern Investment will address “The Art of Failure” session.
The relationship between art and commerce, various aspects of cultural entrepreneurship and the role of modern technology in the business of art will be explored at the “Artpreneurship” session. It will feature Chris Dercon, Director of Tate Modern, London; Margo Drakos, Co-founder and CEO of InstantEncore.com; Patrick Schofield, Founder of Streetwire Artist’s Collective; Stephen Stapleton, Founder of Edge of Arabia; and Thomas Krens, President of Global Cultural Asset Management.
The morning sessions on Day 2 of the conference will focus on global risks, with a keynote address by Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. The panel session on Global Risks, titled “The Challenges Ahead” will be moderated by John Defterios of CNN. Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Saud Bin Majid Al-Daweesh, Group CEO of Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Arif Naqvi, Founder and CEO of Abraaj Capital, Dennis M. Nally, Chairman and CEO of PriceWaterhouse Coopers and Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, London, will participate in the panel discussions.
“An apple a day is no longer enough”, a session dedicated to healthcare, will look at the impact of technology on health while “Aerotropolis” will assess how the new model airports can become the key nodes of global production and enterprise systems by connecting workers, suppliers, executives, and goods to the global marketplace.
Michael Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School, will deliver the keynote address on the third day of the Forum. The final day sessions focus on venture capital, intrapreneurship, “Greenovation”, impact of natural disasters, innovation, competitiveness, and disruptive technologies.
The convergence of science, technology, engineering and math to create new solutions to complex challenges will be in focus at the subsequent session where the young will share their ideas.


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Mr. Julian Gore-Booth blogging at the GCF2012

Posted by Imad Abdulsamad   |  January 22nd, 2012

I’m not a seasoned blogger, but how could I miss the opportunity to reach out to such a gathering?

Flying in to Riyadh for the GCF I am mindful that the idea I carry with me may be deemed simplistic, naïve even, so I admit to some trepidation as I prepare for this gathering of great minds. Rudely summarised as “No-strings investment in outstanding community organisations brings amazing results in the world’s poorest countries” this idea is hardly new, and yet it is one that has gained little traction. After over 20 years in international development I still ask myself why many donors look at projects before organisations and buy mosquito nets rather than capacity…. I find it deeply troubling.

Back in 1997 a leading thinker on this subject, Allen Grossman, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that “attitudes have long encouraged non-profit organisations to focus on mission and to regard organisational capacity as worthwhile in principle but a distracting burden in practice”… The question I pose here is have these attitudes changed in the intervening years, and has the way we do development followed suit?

So how amazing to be able to ask the world’s business leaders whether the companies that they own or run could survive, thrive and deliver results were they to find themselves unable to innovate, unable to invest in research, strategy, marketing, organisational infrastructure and so on? Unthinkable I would imagine, at the very least unwise…. But this is exactly what we ask of NGOs in the developing world, over half of whom (according to research done by the STARS Foundation whom I represent) have no unrestricted income at all. Project driven, with organisational requirements often ignored, these vital organisations are kept in a strait jacketed world of restricted funding, fighting for next year’s survival rather than being recognised and rewarded for the results that they deliver. Enabling? Not.

This “starvation diet” is hardly going to foster entrepreneurialism, responsiveness or sustainability and yet we persist with it in giving money where such methods would swiftly be dismissed in making money. My hope therefore is that ever more givers will become investors, seeking out organisations worthy of their money, empowering them, and taking pride and pleasure in witnessing the delivery of results. 

Giving should be rewarding. If the same people who made money by being innovative, risk taking… entrepreneurial, can be encouraged to adopt a similar approach to giving then we might see more joy and celebration in international development, and, whether governmental, corporate or private I believe that all of us would be pleased with the results.

Mr. Julian Gore-Booth

CEO, STARS Foundation

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