I had the opportunity to visit one of the largest tech conferences in the world, LEAP 2023, which was recently held in Saudi Arabia. This year, the event gathered over 700 speakers and more than 100,000 visitors worldwide. The scale of the event can be illustrated by the fact that on the opening day of the event, Abdullah bin Amer Alswaha, Minister of Communications and Information Technology, announced a total investment of more than 9 billion dollars in support of future technologies, digital entrepreneurship, and technology startups.
As the General Manager of P2H Middle East branch, my goal was to see the event from the inside, communicate directly with our customers and partners, and determine the possible formats of P2H participation in LEAP next year. The conference is so popular that immediately after the end of the 2023 event, there were only a few places for companies for 2024. So, here is a short note about details you should know.
Everyone is gathering here in Riyadh for the second year in a row. Saudi Arabia’s capital is rapidly becoming a cultural and technological center of the entire Middle East, and holding events of this scale is a sure way to achieve this goal.
As for the event itself, the Riyadh Front Expo Center was divided into zones by countries and technologies. The most active here were those that presented artificial intelligence, robotics, and the defense industry, which could be quickly identified by the crowd of military personnel nearby. Everyone actively exchanged information, looked for potential customers and investors, and considered the presented technologies and the possibilities of their application. Here you could find stages with speeches on healthcare, fintech, retail, smart cities, educational technology, and the fourth industrial revolution. The event speakers were CEOs, presidents, managing directors of companies, ministers, and even famous football players and showbusiness stars who invest in technology.
The themes of the speeches on the main stage clearly and loudly voiced the vector of development not only of the country but also of the entire Middle East for the coming years: “LEAP into the new worlds”, “International Digital Economy Through Innovation”, “A Brave New Digital World”, “Tech Powering a Bright Future” and others. Scientists, owners of the largest companies, and politicians worldwide discussed global problems such as climate change, pandemics, and the challenges of implementing Industry 4.0 technologies in everyday life and work. Speeches were about revealing the potential of innovations for improving the economies of the countries of the world, stable growth, access to technology and information, development of digital infrastructure, and access to new markets. I am proud that P2H is directly involved in KSA’s digital transformation and, together with our partners, can be a part of this global change for the better.
The conference lasts 4 days because it is impossible to quickly go around all the stands in a day or two or even talk to someone, exchange contacts or listen to speakers’ speeches. Therefore, visitors should plan what they are looking for here, how they would like to spend their time, what to learn, and what to do. Unfortunately, many speeches and other events inside the conference will have to be sacrificed, even if you spend all 4 days here.
The main thing to know about this and similar events is that the most valuable thing here is networking. It doesn’t matter who you are – a company with a stand, a speaker, an investor, or just a visitor – this is your chance to find a lot of valuable contacts for cooperation, potential customers, or investments for your project.
The company’s participation in the event is, first of all, a good reputational investment and an excellent opportunity to demonstrate its product, service, or expertise in a specific field to the target audience. In addition, the company can use advertising power, in which event organizers invest many resources.
The changes and topics discussed here go far beyond one country and are global. Therefore, attending events like LEAP will be valuable, among other things, because you will know precisely what is happening in your field of business and where it is going in the world in general. The only valid reason for the company not to attend this event is if entering the Middle East market is not part of your strategy and you will not seriously invest in this direction. If this market is your goal for the future, participating in such events in any role and a personal presence for live communication is your best solution.