SMEs comprise ‘99% of Saudi private sector’

Prince Faisal bin Muqrin, center, with government officials, businessmen and entrepreneurs at the annual meeting of the NEI on Tuesday. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 31 January 2019
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SMEs comprise ‘99% of Saudi private sector’

  • SMEs are absorbing some 70 percent of the country’s workforce

JEDDAH: Ninety-nine percent of the Saudi private sector consists of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the secretary-general of the National Entrepreneurship Initiative (NEI), Omar Bafeel, said at its annual meeting on Tuesday.

The meeting was attended by Prince Faisal bin Muqrin, businessmen, entrepreneurs, and officials from the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, and the General Authority of Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at).   

Bafeel said SMEs “are the backbone of the economy as they represent 99 percent of the private sector. Moreover, they’re absorbing some 70 percent of the country’s workforce.”

The NEI is “intended to be a platform for all entrepreneurs to exchange views and experiences, through holding regular meetings to benefit from the latest local, regional and global developments,” he added.

Such meetings will result in cooperation and partnerships between members of the initiative, he said.

The NEI conducted a meeting with the former minister of labor and social development, Ali Al-Ghafees, during which they discussed the challenges and difficulties facing young entrepreneurs in doing business, Bafeel added.

“We drew up a work plan with the then-minister and agreed to hold regular meetings to see how we, together, could put our views into practice,” he said.

“There will also be cooperation with other organizations in the coming period,” such as Monsha’at and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he added.

Abdulrahman Alim, NEI founder and executive officer of the Mubadara Business Development and Investment Co. Ltd., told Arab News: “As entrepreneurs are a big addition to the Saudi economy, we’re trying to help SMEs, small businesses in particular, compete globally.”

He said: “Commercial and marketing concepts now depend much more on … automation, digitalization, IT and technology communication, so we’re trying to introduce these new concepts. 

“Moreover, we’re trying to support young people to professionally manage their businesses in order to enhance performance.” 

The NEI came about when a number of entrepreneurs showed their desire to find an official entity where they could cooperate and exchange experiences, he added. 

“The initiative has developed to include commercial, financial, marketing, industrial, services and information fields,” Alim said, adding that it is nonprofit and was set up for a national purpose. 

“We’ve created a work environment where entrepreneurs and owners of SMEs can cooperate to make their businesses successful,” he said, adding that the NEI has conducted workshops to discuss obstacles facing entrepreneurs in the Kingdom.

“In 2018, we formed an advisory committee that reviewed some of the labor market-related issues in relation to SMEs,” he said. 

“The committee came up with some recommendations and suggestions that we submitted to the Labor Ministry,” he added. 

“We have to realize … changes and challenges, and prepare
to deal with them positively. We also need to have solutions to ensure continuation of commercial work.”


Saudi Crown Prince sends Modi letter of thanks after leaving India

Updated 21 February 2019
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Saudi Crown Prince sends Modi letter of thanks after leaving India

  • In the letter, the crown prince expressed “gratitude and appreciation” for Modi’s hospitality
  • After his visit to India, the crown prince arrived in China on Thursday

DUBAI: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent a letter of thanks to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi following his departure from India on Wednesday.

In the letter, the crown prince expressed “gratitude and appreciation” for Modi’s hospitality during his visit with the Saudi delegation.  

“The talks we had confirmed the strength of the strategic relations between our countries, and the importance of improving cooperation in all fields, in a way that would serve the best interests of our states and nations,” the letter said.

After his visit to India, the crown prince arrived in China on Thursday, on the third leg of his Asia tour that started in Pakistan.

Here is the letter in full:

Prime Minister of the Republic of India

Greetings,

I am pleased to express my gratitude and appreciation for your hospitality towards me and my delegation.

The talks we had confirmed the strength of the strategic relations between our countries, and the importance of improving cooperation in all fields, in a way that would serve the best interests of our states and nations.

Wishing health and happiness for your country, and progress and prosperity for your friendly nation, accept my sincerest greetings and appreciation.

Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud

Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister