Monsha’at and UBT list SME consultants

The four-day program included 25 delegates from Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah, Yanbu and Jazan.
Updated 15 April 2018
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Monsha’at and UBT list SME consultants

The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at) partnered with the University of Business and Technology (UBT) in Jeddah to certify accredited small and medium enterprise consultants in line with Vision 2030.

Organized by UBT Continuing Education Center (CEC), and delivered by Dr. Richard Weinberger, CEO of the Association of Accredited Small Business Consultants (AASBC) based in the US, the four-day program included 25 delegates from the cities of Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam, Madinah, Yanbu and Jazan.

The professional training program covered 15 themes. They were small business and SME today; general financial statement review; revenue and expense review; asset and liability review; ratio analysis, SWOT analysis; operations management; strategic planning; budgets and forecasts; internal controls; marketing and branding; business organizations; financing; risk assessment and fraud deterrence; and marketing consulting practice.

In addition to the membership benefits of AASBC, the delegates who passed the online certification exam with success the certification exam online were awarded the title Accredited SME Consultant.

UBT CEC Director Dr. Amir Dhia said that the program, which was subsidized by Monsha’at, included a rich and diverse group of practitioners from the sectors of banking, finance, entrepreneurs, CEOs, and business consultants. 

Small and medium enterprises contribute only 20 percent to the GDP in the Kingdom compared to 70 percent of some economies. Despite the efforts to improve the quality of the business environment, small enterprises in the Kingdom continue to suffer from a complexity of regulatory and administrative procedures, slow capacity, poor capacity to attract talents, and difficulty in obtaining funding.  The proportion of funding for small and medium enterprises is only five percent of the total funding, which is a small proportion compared to global rates. 

The Monsha’at aims to develop, enable, and advocate for SMEs to thrive, in collaboration with strategic partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors.


Positive impact of Vision 2030 on hospitality: Report

Ascott has reported a decrease of 10 percent in expat families within the Kingdom.
Updated 16 December 2018
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Positive impact of Vision 2030 on hospitality: Report

The Ascott Limited has drawn up a report into the changing dynamics of guest profiles in Saudi Arabia. 

As the government’s Vision 2030 economic diversification strategy proves to have a positive effect on the hospitality industry, Ascott is witnessing a notable change in its guests across the Kingdom. This has been influenced by the swift introduction of various initiatives from the removal of ban on women driving, to the introduction of cinemas, concerts with mixed-gender admission and major events such as the Formula E that was held last week in Riyadh.

“Our guest profiles are changing in line with the changing dynamics of the country. We have seen a spike in female guests of 7 percent from 2017, influenced by guests traveling for both work and leisure,” said Vincent Miccolis, Ascott’s regional GM for the Middle East, Africa and Turkey. 

Female guests have increased considerably this year, as properties across Jeddah averaged a 9 percent growth, while Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh experienced a growth rate of 5 percent. 

“It means there is an opportunity for the serviced residence industry to tap in to the growing number of female travelers and provide tailored services specifically for women,” explained Miccolis.

Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh has a women’s only leisure floor consisting of an outdoor pool, gymnasium, lounge, children’s playroom and day spa. The property is receiving positive feedback from female business travelers about the facilities.

Ascott has reported a decrease of 10 percent in expat families within the Kingdom, attributed to the introduction of expat levies on dependents. Family occupants taking two and three-bedroom apartments have moved to single occupants in a one-bedroom apartment. Miccolis said: “If the announcement made last week on Bloomberg regarding a review of the expat levies being restructured comes to fruition, it will provide a positive outcome for our industry.” 

International guests have maintained a consistent average over the last two years of 25 percent across the Kingdom, however Jeddah and Riyadh are on opposite scales. Fifty-five percent of Ascott Rafal Olaya Riyadh’s guests are international, which is a growth of 15 percent from 2017. While the four properties in Jeddah have 15 percent international guests, this is a decline of 10 percent from 2017.

“With these changing dynamics of our guests in the Kingdom, a key focus is customer service training, with the goal of exceeding guest expectations. 

This year posed a credible 92 percent customer satisfaction score, a testament to the staff in the region,” said Miccolis.