AstroLabs, the first international business incubator licensed in Saudi Arabia, has launched an online source of information on how businesses can set up a 100% foreign-owned entity in the Kingdom.

The Set Up In Saudi platform, touted as the first of its kind in the region, provides users with a 16-step setup process, information on legal requirements, as well as the services of an operations team in Riyadh to manage end-to-end business processes.

Muhammad Mekki, founding partner of AstroLabs, says that the incubator has already helped over 60 businesses set up shop in the Saudi market, with a combined value of over US$5 billion, of which 56% have been in the tech sector. “The large consumer market that is highly connected online and relatively underserved locally is driving this trend,” he explains. “We have assisted many top tech-enabled companies to set up in Saudi, including Bayut, a real estate discovery platform, and Kitopi, a cloud kitchen for F&B businesses.”

AstroLabs also offers businesses with a physical address and dedicated working space in its Riyadh coworking facility, in addition to providing connection to recruitment partners and service providers.

The platform and the overall service is due to the incubator’s partnership with Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Investment, entered in 2018, which entailed that AstroLabs could be a partner of choice to support businesses expanding into the Kingdom.

The startup ecosystem in KSA will see further growth and expansion, Mekki says, especially du to a growing shift towards the technology sector. “We can expect to see Saudi-born startups expanding internationally and making an impact beyond their local market,” he adds. “This is fueled by a deep pool of venture capital, particularly for scaling companies, as well as more talent shifting from traditional jobs in finance and oil and gas to the technology sector.”