Lockheed Martin and Babson Global of the US have agreed to establish a new college for entrepreneurship at King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia through a public-private partnership (PPP) under the Saudi Economic Offset Programme.

The College for Business and Entrepreneurship is intended to support the aim of transforming the kingdom into a knowledge-based economy.

Under the agreement, Lockheed Martin, which is active in the defence and aerospace sectors, will provide funding over a 10-year period to establish the college. The investment will produce credits towards fulfilling the firm’s industrial participation or offset obligations tied to its business in Saudi Arabia.

The new college will enroll up to 1,400 students in graduate, undergraduate and entrepreneurship development programmes, beginning in 2017.

Babson Global is a wholly owned subsidiary of Babson College, which ranks among the leading schools for entrepreneurship education in the world.

The masterplanner of Kaec is Emaar, The Economic City, which is listed on the Saudi Stock Exchange. StrateSphere of the US was the development partner in establishing the PPP.                           

The economic offset programme aims to redirect some of the government’s funds spent on foreign procurement contracts to promote social and economic development, and technology transfer. The winners of the deals enter into agreements to invest defined amounts in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia was the world’s third biggest military spender in 2015, with an outlay of $87.2bn.