Saudi program for SMEs attracts 140K people

Updated 28 May 2019

Saudi program for SMEs attracts 140K people

  • The program is one of HADAF’s initiatives to achieve goals in the Vision 2030 reform plan

RIYADH: The Human Resources Development Fund (HADAF) said 140,000 people have registered in an e-services program for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the Saudi Press Agency reported. 

The 9/10ths Program, which was launched in August 2016, offers online platforms to change the Kingdom’s work culture by promoting and supporting entrepreneurship and SMEs as well as helping to create new jobs in innovative ways.

Services provided by the online platforms are an interactive guide for entrepreneurs at all stages of their startup projects, financing solutions that serve viable enterprises, services and applications for managing, developing, and operating SMEs, and data and information that help entrepreneurs and enterprises in making important business decisions. 

The program is one of HADAF’s initiatives to achieve goals in the Vision 2030 reform plan, and the National Transformation Program 2020. Vision 2030 says that SMEs contribute only 20 percent of the Kingdom’s gross domestic product (GDP), whereas in advanced economies this contribution can reach up to 70 percent.  

Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019

Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.