Forbes Middle East, in association with the Saudi Research, Development, and Innovation Authority, published a special report ranking the top ten most innovative companies in Saudi Arabia in 2022. The top five companies are Saudi Aramco, SABIC, NEOM, Saudi Telecom Company (stc), and Ma’aden, all of which are members of the U.S.-Saudi Business Council.
Forbes used primary sources and specific criteria to determine the ranking of the various Saudi companies. A total of 150 companies were examined using questionnaires, annual reports, sustainability reports, and company websites. The companies were assessed based on the following criteria: commitment to innovation, investment in innovation, non-financial outcomes of innovation, financial outcomes of innovation, and environment/social governance (ESG) and outcomes.
As part of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia aims to become a global leader in research, development, and innovation, with 2.5 percent of its national GDP being spent on research, development, and innovation (RDI) by 2040. According to the report, “Saudi Arabia jumped up 15 places on the 2022 Global Innovation Index issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization.”
Innovation is key to achieving Vision 2030 because it is the focal point of many of its projects. NEOM’s THE LINE project, for example, is set to run on 100 percent renewable energy and redefine the concept of urban development through innovation and artificial intelligence. Additionally, around 80 percent of the companies examined by Forbes to compile this list actively support sustainability and Vision 2030 as key pillars of their operations and are working on innovative projects to support these goals.
In the same report, Forbes published four other lists of top ten Saudi companies in the following crucial sectors: sustainable environment and supply of essential needs, health and wellness, energy and industrial leadership, and economies of the future.