Jeddah panel studies challenges facing women entrepreneurs

Updated 27 March 2013
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Jeddah panel studies challenges facing women entrepreneurs

The steering committee of Jeddah Entrepreneurs Meet (JEM) and its related competition presented their 2nd report for the first of its kind program supporting women entrepreneurs and small businesses.
The program aims to develop and promote understanding of the spirit of enterprise through mentorship, seed money funding and initiatives presented by the public and private sector to further open doors for their business development.
The report, presented during a media event and coinciding with the Jeddah Economic Forum 2013, featured the action plan of the entrepreneurs program and the initiatives. The media event was attended by Fahad Abu Al-Nasr, CEO of Al-Aghar Group; Ziad Al-Bassam, board member of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Sarah Al-Ayed, co-chair of the JEM, member of the Jeddah Young Business Women’s Committee and board member of TRACCS; and Rania Salamah, head of the Young Business Women’s Committee and also co-chair of the JEM.
The Jeddah Entrepreneurs Competition witnessed over 1,000 online registrations and upon initial screening the number of eligible entrepreneurial projects and candidates was filtered down to 300 participants, from which 25 finalists were then selected to take part in the business plan and development training program.
Prior to the Jeddah Entrepreneurs Meet in May 2012, the judging committee met with all the 25 finalists and rated their businesses and plans to select the top winners, awarding seven the title of the JEM 2012 entrepreneurial winners.
The report featured the key challenges facing the growth of small businesses for women and their ability to turn a small business into a medium enterprise. The report also featured key solutions that are under study or implementation in cooperation with various entities that support entrepreneurial ventures to overcome such challenges.
“JEM is an important program that had all of its phases planned out in order for us to register any challenges that face women entrepreneurs in the Kingdom, while at the same time assessing the means of tackling such challenges,” stated Al-Nasr.
“The mentorship and follow-up of the entrepreneurial initiatives of the seven winners is in cooperation with leading businessmen based on their expertise and industry they are in. Key performance indicators and level of progress per winner were set within specified criteria during a workshop that was conducted by the JEM steering committee, mentors and winners,” he added.

“JEM is unique with the number of benefits that are open for entrepreneurs in the Kingdom, especially with the first-hand expertise and mentorship they are gaining from leading business men and women in the various fields,” said Rida Islam, CEO of Future Waves and head of the JEM steering committee.
Recognizing the efforts and support from both the public and private sectors and their reflection on the positive cooperation aspect required Al-Bassam stated: “The idea of the program and what it has achieved in its first cycle to date is within the vision set for the program. We look forward to seeing it further expand to be implemented on a larger scale to further serve our key audiences. I laud the efforts of the Al-Ahgar Group, the Jeddah Young Business Women’s Committee, and all partners and supporters in setting such a program in place with attention to evghy detail to achieve the targets.”
Al-Ayed said: “Education and skills development is a key for us to witness growth and sustainability in enterprise creation and development,” commented Al-Ayed. “We found there’s a need for students to participate in training and internship programs that expose them to the business community and give them hands-on experience that helps not only develop their skills but their character, attitude and work personality. This will give them the means for dealing with challenges on all fronts and identifying their potential and growth factor.”


SABIC prepares to meet investors to offer bond

Updated 2 min 53 sec ago
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SABIC prepares to meet investors to offer bond

LONDON: Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (SABIC) is preparing to offer its dollar-denominated unsecured bond to the global market with investor meetings due to start this week.
The Kingdom’s petrochemical giant will be meeting investors in London, New York, Los Angeles and Boston from Sept. 25, according to a filing on the Saudi stock exchange on Tuesday.
The Saudi company is likely to be keen to tap into the heightened international interest in the Kingdom’s financial markets following the lifting of some restrictions on foreign investors’ activities at the start of the year.
SABIC has also confirmed the appointment of BNP Paribas and Citigroup as global coordinators on the sale, alongside HSBC Bank, Mitsubishi UFG Securities EMEA and Standard Chartered Bank acting as joint lead managers, in its Tadawul note.
The proposed issuance has been well-received so far by analysts with ratings agency Moody’s Investor Service assigning an ‘A1’ rating to the proposed senior unsecured notes to be issued by the financial vehicle, referred to as SABIC Capital II, and guaranteed by SABIC itself.
“SABIC’s A1 rating reflects its strong business position in the chemical sector and its ability to weather industry volatility, particularly given its healthy operational cash flows and conservative liquidity profile,” said Rehan Akbar, a senior analyst at Moody’s, in a note on Monday.

 

The bond is anticipated to be used in part to refinance an existing SR11.3 billion ($3 billion) one-year bridge loan raised in January this year to fund the company’s 24.99 percent stake in the Swiss chemical company Clariant, according to the Moody’s note. All regulatory requirements were completed on this acquisition earlier this month.
Cash proceeds from the bond may also be used to repay a $1 billion bond due on Oct. 3, according to Moody’s.
On Tuesday SABIC confirmed that the bond will be used mainly to refinance “outstanding financial obligations” of the company and its subsidiaries.
Analysts at rating agency S&P Global were also upbeat about SABIC’s outlook, with research published on Monday stating that the company has “strong profitability” via its KSA operations and a “strong” liquidity position.
“The debt issuance is helpful for the credit profile in the sense that it extends the company’s debt maturity profile and strengthens its liquidity position,” said Tommy Trask, corporate and infrastructure credit analyst at S&P Global.
The agency currently assigns the petrochemical firm an ‘A Minus’ rating, with a “stable outlook,” which it said reflects its “view on the sovereign as well as its expectations that SABIC will maintain high profitability under current benign industry conditions.”
S&P Global’s report said margins in the global chemical industry will “largely stabilize in 2018 following several years of improvement, attributable to the increase in commodity chemical capacity.”
However, it also warned that a key risk to credit quality is
the trend for mergers and acquisitions within the sector and the “potential negative impact on credit metrics from funding them with debt.”

FACTOID

SABIC operates in more than 50 countries across the world.