BRJ creates 78,249 local and regional jobs

Updated 16 January 2013
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BRJ creates 78,249 local and regional jobs

Bab Rizq Jameel (BRJ), an initiative of ALJ Community Initiatives (ALJCI), created 78,249 jobs in the Kingdom and the Arab world in 2012, its most successful year since it started the program in 2003.
BRJ achieved this with the support and cooperation of the Ministry of Labor, represented by the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF); the Ministry of Social Affairs represented by the Social Charity Fund; the Saudi Credit and Savings Bank; National Commercial Bank (NCB) and other government authorities.
A breakdown shows that 58,478 jobs were created in the Kingdom, and 19,771 jobs — unverified by the external auditor — by its international branches in Egypt, Turkey and Morocco.
The ambitious plan is to create 65,000 new jobs in the Kingdom in 2013. An independent auditor will verify and approve results on a quarterly basis.
BRJ has now created 266,587 jobs since 2003. 
Mr. Abdulrahman Al-Fihaid, Executive Director of BRJ Saudi Arabia, confirmed that BRJ achieved record results during 2012 in its endeavor to provide jobs for young males and females. According to Al-Fihaid, BRJ created 28,495 jobs through its productive household program during 2012, a figure that represents 49 percent of total job opportunities created in the year. 
According to Norah Al-Dosary, BRJ's female division director in Riyadh, the productive household program is one of the BRJ's most successful initiatives. It is based on the microfinance concept to provide interest-free loans starting from SR 3,000 to a group of 3 – 5 females. The program empowers group members to start their own micro projects, such as producing and selling wedding and other accessories, gift-wrapping, embroidery, perfumes and perfume mixtures, makeup and other practical businesses from home. At the end of 2012, the loan collection ratio had reached 98 percent.
According to Ahmed Muqalam, BRJ General Director in Madinah, Hail, Al-Ghazala, Tabuk and Al-Jouf areas, the small projects finance program created 4,726 jobs in 2012 by supporting 4,726 projects. The program financed 1,316 small projects for males and 3,410 for females. The program provides young males and females, who have creative ideas but lack financial resources, with interest-free loans up to SR 200,000 to implement their new or existing projects. Muqalam added that BRJ branches in the Northern region created 1,793 small projects during 2012, followed by the Western region with 1,357, Southern region 773, Eastern region 548, and Central region with 255.
During 2011, the direct employment program created 24,214 jobs throughout the Kingdom — 13,530 for men and 10,674 for women, stated Tariq Al-Magfouri, BRJ General Director for Assir, Jazan, Najran, Baha and Al-Qunfudha areas. This program matches qualified job seekers with jobs available in the private sector through the BRJ database. Most jobs created were for production workers, salespersons, security guards and female sales representatives. 
Companies that cooperated with BRJ during 2012 were Al-Hukair, Tadharis Najd Security Services, SAS International, Avon, Al-Hajri and Al-Rajhi Contracting. The available job opportunities were approved after obtaining an official statement from employers. 
According to Al-Maghfouri, BRJ in the Western region came first by creating 7,309 jobs, including 3,384 for males and 3,925 for females; followed by the Central region with 6,382 jobs, including 4,131 for males and 2,131 for females. The Northern region came third with 5,189 jobs, including 3,378 for males and 1,811 for females; then the Eastern region with 1,156 jobs, including 1,254 for males and 1,902 for females; and the Southern region with 2,178 jobs, including 1,263 for males and 915 for females. 
Rola Basamed, of the Female Employment Center at BRJ, announced that the center has so created 10,684 jobs for several cooperating companies. More females are approaching BRJ everyday for employment interviews, after which they are nominated for employment based on the job descriptions provided by companies.
Yousuf Jastiniya, General Director of BRJ in Riyadh, said that the program provided on-the-job training opportunities, where young males and females sharpened skills in areas required by the labor market. All training courses organized through this program end with jobs in the private sector. Training courses conducted during 2012 included mechanical, electrical and welding engineering. Several companies participated in the program including Al-Hajri in the Eastern Province and Al-Taif Center.
Ahmed Al-Zahrani, BRJ director in the Eastern Region, said that BRJ created 563 jobs during the year through the taxi ownership programs. In this program, young Saudi males eventually own their vehicles after participating in an easy payment plan.
In addition, 441 young Saudi males benefited from the truck ownership program during 2012, to transport goods, vegetables, equipment and passengers.
As part of BRJ's activities and programs, Nafisa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts provided training for 752 female trainees during 2012 in different fields. Jawaher Al-Zahrani, General Director of Nafisa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts stated that the academy organized diversified training courses, based on the nature of the labor market. The academy organized courses in the fields of tailoring, fashion design, cooking, photography, carpet production and secretarial works.
In addition, jobs were created for 205 females through the "Work from Home" program, which is supervised by Nafisa Shams Academy for Arts and Crafts. Beneficiaries produced approximately 89,922 prayer rugs sold to Toyota and Lexus.
Al-Fihaid said that various non-traditional jobs were created to provide a reasonable income for beneficiaries. This included long-term, fixed compensation, part-time, small business, self-employment such as owning a taxi, and sales based on commission.
"Through BRJ, we are seeking to create job opportunities for Saudis in cooperation with several government bodies, such as the Human Resources Development Fund, Saudi Credit and Savings Bank, Ministry of Labor offices, Social Charity Fund, Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC) and other public organizations that support our programs. We are also seeking to develop our mechanisms and procedures to be more flexible, so that we can create the maximum number of job opportunities," Al-Fihaid added.
BRJ also created 19,771 jobs (unverified by the external auditor) through its international branches in Egypt, Turkey and Morocco in 2012. Dr. Maaz Al-Faramawi, BRJ International Branches Executive Director, said that BRJ's international operation was highly successful. He added that the 2012 results were achieved through five branches in Egypt, one in Turkey and four in Morocco.
“BRJ created 25,862 jobs in Egypt, 1,753 in Turkey and 6,970 in Morocco, totaling 34,585 job opportunities, with a non-repayment ratio of only 1 percent. We are seeking to expand to all Middle Eastern countries,” Al-Faramawi added.

BRJ Egypt
Bab Rizq Jameel inaugurated the first BRJ branch in Egypt in 2009, and created 6,910 jobs in the same year. In 2012, the branch was successfully upgraded, resulting in 25,862 jobs, representing 75 percent of the overall jobs created internationally. 
Sayed Al-Ghol, BRJ's Egypt director, stated that at the beginning of 2012, BRJ expanded in Egypt to cover five more areas — Giza, Shobra, Banha, Shobra Al-Khaima and Bolaq Al-Dakror. More staff were employed to run the programs. The productive household program created 22,256 jobs, small projects finance created 2,614, truck ownership created 981 and the direct employment program created 10 jobs. 
In addition, BRJ Egypt provided support for the first case in the "broken expatriate Saudi family support program," which is implemented in cooperation with the Saudi embassy in Cairo. 
Al-Ghol added that the repayment ratio in BRJ Egypt for all programs reached 99.32 percent by the end of 2012. Examples of small projects financed by BRJ Egypt include tricycle ownership, production of leather products, aluminum products, mechanics and turnery workshops, tailor workshops, jewelry, mobile phones, herbs, accessories and gifts, warehouses, supermarket and dairy products, honey, fruits and vegetables, confectioneries, and furnishings.

BRJ Turkey
Dr. Fatih Ghul, BRJ Turkey director, said that BRJ Turkey was inaugurated in Istanbul in October 2010. The branch created 1,753 jobs through its diversified programs, including 544 through the productive household program, 701 through the direct employment program, and 508 through the training and employment program. According to Ghul, the Turkey branch is in a prominent location and staffed with job creation specialists.

BRJ Morocco
BRJ Morocco started operating in Casablanca in September 2011. Nabil Shaban revealed that four branches became operational in 2012 — in Casablanca, Lisasfa, Al-Mohammadiya and Al-Barnosi. The four BRJ branches in Morocco created 6,970 jobs through the household support and small projects finance programs.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.