KAUST and NIDLP Partner to Empower Saudi’s Industrial and Logistics Leaders

The program’s participants.

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the National Industrial Development and Logistics Program (NIDLP) teamed up to empower Saudi Arabia’s top industrial and logistics entrepreneurs. This strategic partnership combines NIDLP's 1K MILE Program with KAUST's Saudi Leadership Institute (KSLI). By doing so, this partnership fosters high-growth sectors, promotes an open economy, and develops future leaders within the Kingdom. 

Held at KAUST on June 8-13, 2024, participants selected from the 1K MILE Program honed their skills alongside peers and top trainers from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University. 

Dr. Ian Campbell, KAUST Vice President of the National Transformation Institute, said: “Our collaboration with NIDLP underscores KAUST’s dedication to nurturing businesses and leaders who drive innovation and economic growth for the Kingdom. This collaboration with NIDLP goes beyond just developing skilled leaders. It’s about building a foundation of innovative thinkers who can drive the breakthroughs that will propel the Kingdom’s future. 

Suliman Almazroua, NIDLP’s Chief Executive Officer, stated: 'NIDLP is proud to expand our partnership with KAUST on this crucial initiative. We recognize that achieving long-term prosperity for the Kingdom requires not only exceptional leadership but also a vibrant ecosystem of new businesses. The 1K MILE program directly addresses both needs.  

“By fostering impactful entrepreneurship, we'll not only shape and optimize Saudi Arabia’s supply-chain management for years to come but also enhance productivity across all economic segments. NIDLP sees building these leaders and new businesses alongside KAUST as critical to realizing the Kingdom’s ambitious vision.” 

Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution 

A key highlight was the “Leadership in the Fourth Industrial Revolution Workshop,” featuring industry leaders from top Saudi organizations including Dr. Mohanad Al-Shaikh, CEO of Johnson Controls Arabia; Mohammad Al-Sharyan, General Director of Western Sector, MODON; Fahad Al-Nanih, CEO of Pure Polymers; and Mustafa Mousa, CEO of Sadeem. The speakers emphasized maximizing automation and adopting technologies to enhance product value, driving business growth as well as knowledge management and data-driven decision-making.  

“It is through collaborations with great academic institutions such as KAUST that we can accelerate startup innovation The success witnessed at KSLI serves as a testament to the immense value that such partnerships bring to those young entrepreneurs who dare to dream big,” said Al-Shaikh.  

Building Leaders for a Disruptive Era 

Over five days, 23 entrepreneurs engaged in a comprehensive program focused on adaptability, agility and strategic foresight. Through seminars, coaching, networking, collaborative activities and well-being modules, KSLI emphasized using disruption to drive growth, encouraging risk-taking and leveraging new technologies. 

The program was tailored specifically for experienced Saudi entrepreneurs, equipping them to thrive in a disruptive era. The acclaimed curriculum developed by Thunderbird and KAUST’s internationally renowned faculty is designed to empower ambitious Saudis to become the vanguards of progress, leading the way in innovation across key sectors, and fostering a thriving startup culture within the Kingdom. 

“You’ve been handpicked and carefully selected because we believe in the potential of your ambitious ventures to create products that not only serve critical needs in the logistics market but also create jobs for many young Saudis in the Kingdom. Remember why you started and the positive impact you can make,” said Haitham Al Humsi, head of the KAUST Entrepreneurship Center to the participants. 

Three NIDLP leaders joined the KSLI cohort, including Meshael Alassaf, Executive Director of Entrepreneurship and Human Capital Development. She emphasized that understanding the entrepreneurial mindset is crucial for effective programs and said NIDLP’s 1K MILE Program will incorporate best practices and feedback from KSLI.