Education infrastructure; entrepreneurship higher education; knowledge-based economy; innovation; Saudi Arabia


Saudi’s mission to diversify its economy depends heavily on innovation and entrepreneurship. The discussion evaluated the role of universities in building a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia, employing a literature review and gap analysis method to design an approach for universities to play the aforementioned role. The literature review reveals that the role played by universities entails providing entrepreneurship education, providing support resources, and partnerships with non-academic institutions, while the gap analysis undertaken reveals that Saudi Arabia has made significant strides towards equipping its universities to contribute to innovation and entrepreneurship, but lags behind the top ten leaders. The proposed initiative model entails seeking strategic alignment between university contributions and local and national economic goals, collaborating with international institutions to replicate best practices in Saudi Arabia, and establishing formal frameworks for partnerships with relevant stakeholders in innovation and entrepreneurship. Upon evaluation, the main arguments for the model rest on its focus on strategic alignment and partnerships, while counterarguments involve bureaucratic restrictions on innovation and entrepreneurial spirit owing to formal frameworks with the government, as well possibilities of exportation of ideas and benefits away from Saudi Arabia through international partnerships. To address the aforementioned c

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