Start-up of the Week: Young Saudi impresarios put reputation before earnings

Bukhari said the Saudi General Entertainment Authority (GEA) was very cooperative.
Updated 01 May 2018
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Start-up of the Week: Young Saudi impresarios put reputation before earnings

  • Bukhari said that the main goal is not to make money but to bring the name of their company to the frontline
  • Bukhari and his partner allocated SR200,000 ($53,333) for this three-day event in Jeddah's Al-Rawdah neighborhood

JEDDAH: Two young Saudi men have set up an event management business with a philosophy of gaining credibility before thinking of making money. For the next 10 years, they just want to make their company a brand name in the growing local event-organizing industry.

First result of the partnership between Feras Bukhari, a 21-year-old industrial engineering student, and his electrical engineering student co-partner, Abdul-Majeed Al-Mazroui, was a success but not on the revenue level, despite the 600-700 visitors who attended the first day of the event they recently organized.

Bukhari and his partner allocated SR200,000 ($53,333) for this three-day event in Al-Rawdah neighborhood, where they hired a venue of 1,200 square meters for about SR30,000.

“This is a big amount for an event like this, but the market is inflated. The wages designers, photographers and performers demands are sky-high. We can say that the wages are high and the quality is below expectations,” he said.

Bukhari added that an organizer could bring a professional performer from abroad for nearly a quarter of the money they pay here for a local performer. He said that airfares and lodgings might cost him much more. “If he were living in the UK, for instance, he would have hired 10 times better-quality performers dirt cheap.” 

Bukhari told Arab News that he tried to reduce the entrance fees as much as he could. Consequently, he found himself losing money. “But it is not a loss in the long run,” he said.

“The event is inspired by the American carnival theme with red and white. We developed it and added the musical part to it. Moreover, we were able to provide different music such as classical, traditional and electric guitar and Oud (lute).”

Bukhari added that they also provided visitors with an indoor Arabic song platform along with outdoor space for musical performance.

“In addition, we made seven carnival games available, with a thousand gifts to be given out to contestants. Our main idea was to look different from any other event in the city. We believe that a good event is not only where food trucks and rented booths exist,” he said.

Bukhari, who supervised the whole event so that every single activity was in compliance with organizing policy, pointed out that the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) was very cooperative with them.

“We had to apply for an organization license to run this event a month before holding it,” he said. “The GEA gave us the initial permission. After that we had to go through long processes, beginning with having permits from the local departments of civil defense, police and many others,” he said, adding that a GEA staffer was in contact with them to make sure that everything went in accordance with the official procedures.

Bukhari said that the main goal is not to make money but to bring the name of their company to the frontline to gain credibility.

“We want people to realize that whenever we announce certain events and activities, they see that in reality in front of them,” he said. 

“We insist on being honest with our visitors. For that reason, we are hoping we can make a big name in the field of organizing entertainment events.”


Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

A photo taken on July 5, 2018, shows Bader al-Ajmi, 38,(L) owner of "One Way Burger" serving customers from his truck at a main street in the capital Riyadh. (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2018
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Major projects, investments worth over $685bn unveiled on Saudi National Day

  • The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017

JEDDAH: A major economic boost in the form of 10 major projects and investments exceeding SR685 billion ($183 billion) were unveiled as celebrations of the 88th Saudi National Day got under way.
The Council of Saudi Chambers released a report focusing on great economic achievements in 2017.
These projects reflect the Kingdom’s vision under the wise leadership of King Salman and that of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to provide a brighter future through diversifying sources of national income, tackling environmental challenges and increasing investment and prosperity.
The report summarized the most important events and economic developments in the Kingdom over the past year. These include the lifting of the ban on women driving in June, and the establishment of the General Authority for Cyber Security, in addition to the numerous royal decrees providing financial support to Saudis.
It also noted the important decisions related to the Saudi business sector. These include the launch of a private sector incentive program with a value of SR72 billion, the privatization of 10 government sectors and the establishment of the General Authority for Real Estate. The private sector is still showing a strong performance as an efficient partner in the inclusive development process and in the achievement of the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision, the report noted, as it contributes 39 percent to the Saudi gross domestic product (GDP).
The private sector’s contribution to the GDP at constant prices doubled to around SR1236.6 million in 2017. There has been increased contribution to GDP from non-oil private sector streams.
The private sector also witnessed an increase in the number of workers, in its capital, in the number of shares on the Saudi market, in the cumulative number of establishments operating in the Kingdom, and in non-oil exports.
Continued growth of the private sector was attributed by the report to the Saudi government’s support. This support comes through initiatives such as the removal of obstacles to financial development, improvements to the working environment and policies adopted to boost investment.
It also reviewed the private sector’s efforts to support diversification of the economy and lower unemployment rates.
The importance of the measures taken to prioritize the employment of qualified Saudi workers over the employment of expatriates in the private sector were stressed, as well as the sector’s role in providing education and health services.