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

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.”

KSRelief medics’ timely intervention saves Yemeni infant’s life

Updated 44 min ago

KSRelief medics’ timely intervention saves Yemeni infant’s life

  • Jana’s father thanked the medical team for saving his daughter’s life. 

MUKALLA: A volunteer medical team from the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief) has saved the life of a Yemeni girl who was suffering from a severe lack of oxygen in the blood, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Jana Basheaib was born with a blockage in the pulmonary valve and a constriction of the tricuspid valve in her heart that prevented the delivery of blood to her lungs, leading to a severe lack of oxygen in her body that required urgent intervention.

Her father Adnan said he had noticed her dark blue color days after she was born, but had not been able to find treatment for her in Yemen. She was also too sick to be moved abroad. 

His brother connected him with a KSRelief team so that the 10-day-old infant could get the help she needed. 


•KSRelief is working in Yemen with comprehensive plans to alleviate people’s suffering.

•The center has implemented 363 projects across the country at a cost of $2.26 billion.

•The projects cover various sectors including food security, health and education.

Basheaib filed a report describing her condition and received an immediate response from KSRelief, saying it would send a medical team to Yemen and an appointment for surgery was made.

Basheaib took his daughter from Tarim to Mukalla, a six-hour drive. Upon arrival at the Pulse of Life Center for Cardiology, Jana was immediately admitted to the intensive care unit. The medical team arrived in time to successfully perform the surgery.

He thanked the medical team for saving his daughter’s life. 

The head of the KSRelief medical team, Prof. Jameel Ata, said: “The medical campaign comes within the framework of the voluntary campaigns to treat difficult and critical cases. This is KSRelief’s third campaign for open-heart surgeries and catheterizations for Yemeni children in less than six months.”

The medical campaigns have covered the treatment of more than 20 children from Yemen’s low-income families to alleviate their suffering.