Opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs are ‘extraordinary’ in Saudi Arabia

Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majid Al-Qassabi hands the copy of a license to a foreign entrepreneur on the sidelines of the Second Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday. (AN photo)
Updated 16 November 2017
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Opportunities for foreign entrepreneurs are ‘extraordinary’ in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: New licenses were issued on Wednesday to encourage the world’s entrepreneurs and inventors to start up in the Kingdom and boost growth of the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.
Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majid Al-Qassabi issued 11 new licenses on the sidelines of the Second Misk Global Forum, which was inaugurated on Wednesday.
Senior officials from the Monsha’at, Saudi Arabia’s SME Authority, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority, King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology and the Economic Cities Authority were present during the launch of the new program.
Before handing over the licenses to 11 entrepreneurs, Al-Qassabi said the effort was to promote the SME sector as well as to diversify the economy of the country in line with Saudi Vision 2030.
Knowledge industries represent a particularly high-growth sector: Saudi Arabia’s young and educated population has one of the world’s highest digital adoption rates, and the knowledge sector is characterized by small and medium, innovative companies.
“Saudi Arabia offers extraordinary opportunities for foreign innovators and investors. This is an incredibly dynamic market with a young, entrepreneurially inclined population and significant latent demand in high-growth industries. We know we have the talent — our job now is to match-make and help provide the opportunities,” said Dr. Ghassan Al-Sulaiman, governor of Monsha’at, stressing that foreign entrepreneurs would bring with them innovation and expertise and help local youths to get to know their operations.
“The new licensing initiative is designed to help build up the private sector and move away from an over-reliance on oil revenues,” said Al-Sulaiman. This initiative, he said, was inspired by the Vision 2030, which will help Saudi Arabia to attract the best minds in the world, transferring knowledge, expanding the economy, increasing the contribution of small and medium-sized companies to GDP and creating jobs for Saudis.”
Fahad Al-Rashid, CEO of KAEC, said the new regulations enabled entrepreneurs to establish a business in the city. The Kingdom has given several incentives such as free housing, transportation and education for children to attract foreign investors.


Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

Updated 23 April 2019
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Two Saudis among 31 foreigners killed in Easter Day attacks in Sri Lanka

  • Mohamed Jafar and Hany Osman, cabin crew with Saudi Arabian Airlines, were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels targeted
  • Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi says officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests

COLOMBO: Two Saudis were among 31 foreigners killed in a string of Easter Sunday suicide bombings in Sri Lanka, the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry said on Monday, a day after the devastating attacks on hotels and churches killed at least 290 people and wounded nearly 500.

The extent of the carnage began to emerge as information from government officials, relatives and media reports offered the first details of those who had died. Citizens from at least eight countries, including the United States, were killed, officials said.

Among them were Saudis Mohammed Jafar and Hany Osman. They worked as cabin crew on Saudi Arabian Airlines, and were in transit and staying at one of the three hotels that were hit.

Saudi Ambassador Abdulnasser Al-Harthi said that officials are awaiting the results of DNA tests on the two Saudi victims, and only after these are received will their names be confirmed.

Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said the Sri Lankan government believes the vast scale of the attacks, which clearly targeted the minority Christian community and outsiders, suggested the involvement of an international terrorism network.

“We don’t think a small organization can do all that,” he said. “We are now investigating international support for them and their other links — how they produced the suicide bombers and bombs like this.”

The attacks mostly took place during church services or when hotel guests were sitting down to breakfast. In addition to the two Saudis, officials said the foreign victims included one person from Bangladesh, two from China, eight from India, one from France, one from Japan, one from The Netherlands, one from Portugal, one from Spain, two from Turkey, six from the UK, two people with US and UK dual nationalities, and two with Australian and Sri Lankan dual nationalities.

Three of Danish billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen’s four children were among the foreigners who were killed, a spokesman for the family confirmed. Povlsen is the wealthiest man in Denmark, the largest landowner in Scotland and owns the largest share of British online fashion and cosmetics retailer Asos.

Two Turkish engineers working on a project in Sri Lanka also died in the attacks, the English-language Daily Sabah newspaper reported. Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu gave their names as Serhan Selcuk Narici and Yigit Ali Cavus.

Fourteen foreign nationals remain unaccounted for, the Sri Lankan foreign ministry said, adding that they might be among unidentified victims at the Colombo Judicial Medical Officer’s morgue.

Seventeen foreigners injured in the attacks were still being treated at the Colombo National Hospital and a private hospital in the city, while others had been discharged after treatment.