Saudi SMEs urged to adopt innovation to stay competitive

Roberto Wyszkowski said Some companies, such as Netflix, Google and General Electric, have achieved resounding success by adopting innovation. (AN photo)
Updated 01 June 2018
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Saudi SMEs urged to adopt innovation to stay competitive

  • Innovation does not just involve changing products and services, but also considering new business models, partners, customer experiences and markets: Roberto Wyszkowski

JEDDAH: A workshop organized by the Makkah Economic Forum has called on local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to embrace innovation across their business platforms to remain successful in a competitive market. 

Addressing the “Leadership through Innovation” workshop, Roberto Wyszkowski, partner at global management consulting firm Sia Partners Middle East, said even giant companies have ended up declaring bankruptcy or losing market share because they did not take innovation seriously. 

Some companies, such as Netflix, Google and General Electric, have achieved resounding success by adopting innovation, he added. 

Innovation does not just involve changing products and services, but also considering new business models, partners, customer experiences and markets, he said. 

Studies by Sia show that some companies, such as Apple, YouTube and Enterprise, have achieved success by changing their business model and the way they manage services and products, he added.

Others have remained successful by adopting innovative technologies across production processes, Wyszkowski said. 

He urged local SMEs wishing to achieve innovation across services and products to adopt new business models, penetrate new markets and provide new customer experiences. 

He stressed the importance of choosing the right location and adopting the right technology for brand-enhancement. 

It is important to focus on a certain segment of customers to provide innovative services and products, Wyszkowski said.

He cited McDonald’s, which introduced innovative products targeting children, and services such as “Drive Thru,” to survive in a competitive market. 

Rana Bakhsh, certified innovation management ambassador for the Global Innovation Management Institute (GIMI), also emphasized the importance of innovation in taking a business to the next level and remaining relevant in a changing market. 

The workshop was part of a series of activities lined up by the Makkah Economic Forum throughout the year to involve the private sector as an active partner in the region’s development programs, and to help realize the objectives of the Vision 2030 reform plan.


MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

Updated 8 min 49 sec ago
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MiSK, Qiddiya team up for internship program 

  • Interns will work on entertainment mega-project
  • Program open to university seniors and new graduates

RIYADH: A new internship program for young Saudis has been launched in the Kingdom, following a partnership between Misk Foundation and the Qiddiya Investment Company (QIC).

The program runs from June 16 to Aug. 31, 2019, and provides an opportunity for university seniors and recent graduates to be part of Qiddiya, an entertainment mega-project located 40 minutes from Riyadh.

Interns will have the chance to work at Qiddiya’s corporate offices alongside professionals from around the world and will be placed across 12 departments.

They will learn and develop skills that are required to succeed in their professional lives.

They will also gain exposure to QIC’s culture and learn from executives with over 20 years of experience across several sectors. 

QIC CEO Mike Reininger said: “We are contributing directly to the Saudi Vision (2030 reform plan) by creating a richer lifestyle for Saudi citizens while spurring innovation in the creative, hospitality and entertainment sectors. This unique opportunity allows students and fresh graduates to experience what it takes to be part of the change in Saudi by giving them the chance to work alongside a group of both local and international seasoned professionals. Thanks to this partnership with MiSK, we will be training the next generation of industry leaders.” 

Application to the program is open for those with fewer than two years of professional experience. Candidates must show strong academic credentials and submit a short video as part of their application.

King Salman led the Qiddiya ground-breaking ceremony in front of a global audience last April.

The project is aimed at helping to stem the $30 billion a year which Saudis currently spend abroad on tourism, and has the backing of the Kingdom’s Public Investment Fund.

It targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s preeminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination.

It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km.