Creative Industry Summit’s Riyadh Edition Makes a Successful Debut - Interview with Mai Salama
Posted on 2022 Dec,08  | By Ghada Azzi

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Shortly after the success of Egypt’s “Annual Festival” of 2022 under the theme “Let’s Talk Creative Economy”, the Creative Industry Summit (C-S) flew to Saudi Arabia for another hit from Oct. 30 - Nov. 1: the “Advertising & Creativity Forum”. We talked to Mai Salama, Founding Partner of the C-S, to get an insight into why she bet on the Saudi Arabian forum, which debut hailed as a great success.

You’ve been building and growing the Creative Industry Summit’s events in Egypt since 2014. Why expand to Saudi Arabia now?

Mai Salama: The creative industry in Saudi Arabia has evolved heavily and transformed into this ambitious, accomplished, and advanced scene over the past decade. It’s becoming clear to everyone now, but it’s been in the making for a while and we’ve been following it closely ever since. 

And Saudi Arabia is very close to us as Egyptians as well, so we felt it only made sense to combine the talents, know-how, and expertise in both countries. It’s what we do best and it all goes back to our core drive: collaboration. Only good things happen when it actualizes!   


And was it a challenge to be expand to a completely new country and launch a regional edition? Were you expecting it to get sold out? 

M.S: Partnering with the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Balaconah was a key factor in our entry to the market and had a great role in getting everything done effectively.

The success of the Creative Industry Summit’s Riyadh Edition also relied partly on Egypt’s bottomless treasures of creative talents. Creativity has always been a core strength of our country and we have a lot to offer still.


Apart from getting sold out a couple of days before it starts, what else can you tell us about the Riyadh edition’s success?

M.S: Thankfully, the Riyadh Edition attracted more than 2,600 attendees across the three days. These attendees were treated to 46 speakers, 16 panel discussions, seven workshops, and 24 accompanying exhibitors. 


Q: What a lovely start! Would you be doing it again?
A: It is too early to have the specific details of everything down. But we’re definitely looking to hold it annually, and when doing so, we’ll make sure we learn all that we could form our first time

After all, The Creative Industry Summit / Riyadh Edition was indeed an incredible one, an edition we are proud of and we believe the merge between Egyptian & Saudi talent was remarkable. I would have to say that we would love to continue with bridging the creative scene between both  countries.


We’ll be looking forward to it, then! And what can we expect from the Creative Industry Summit next?

M.S: We just finished working on the Creative Industry Summit’s “Cairo Design Week” Edition. It was exhilarating to contribute to such an enormous celebration of design. Our edition lasted for four days and featured a diverse line-up of impressive speakers from the design world. 

Now, however, we’ll be recovering from all of these editions. Then, we’ll get back to working on the Creative Industry Summit’s year-round products. 

These include C—S Studio, She Strikes, Networking Nights, University Popups, and workshops.

Our ultimate purpose is still to bolster the Creative Economy in MENA through connecting its humans and enabling their development. We realize the responsibility of being the region’s leading Creative Economy platform, and hence our commitment to this purpose will never wane.