SABIC, Mawhiba join forces to empower youth

IT'S A DEAL: Khaled Al-Sabti, Mawhiba secretary-general, with Yousef Al-Binyan, SABIC vice chairman and executive president, at the signing ceremony.
Updated 30 July 2016
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SABIC, Mawhiba join forces to empower youth

RIYADH: SABIC and Mawhiba have signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation to support and empower talented Saudi students in the Kingdom.
In its statement released on Thursday, Mawhiba said that in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 to upgrade social capital through investment in education and training, SABIC and the Foundation of King Abdul Aziz and his Companions for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) on Wednesday inked a cooperation memorandum to empower creative Saudis with the right skills, through a joint program.
The program will provide comprehensive care for talented students, among many projects for national and strategic initiatives in the field of innovation.
Khaled Al-Sabti, Mawhiba secretary-general, signed the memorandum with Yousef Al-Binyan, SABIC vice chairman and executive president.
Speaking on the occasion, Al-Sabti said that such a deal will upgrade the partnership to a strategic level to achieve common goals. It also seeks to face economic cognitive challenges, and raise the quality of national competencies in the fields of science and technology, as well as in international scientific competitions.
He stressed the importance of the deal to realize the goals identified in Vision 2030. It will also support relevant national plans and rehabilitation of human resources and creative excellence. It will ensure strategic functions to support the needs and priorities of the national plans.
According to Al-Binyan, such cooperation is part of SABIC’s social responsibility toward citizens that focuses on the principles of sustainability in several areas, especially the field of education in science and technology. He also underlined the importance of investing in talent and creativity, and its eagerness to reflect this support on the ground.
He said this cooperation reflects part of the leadership’s vision in the field of investment in human resources in the Kingdom, to nurture talent and develop their knowledge and skills, and will embody the company’s comprehensive and strategic corporate social responsibility.


Saudi startups win big with business incubator Oqal

Updated 1 min 31 sec ago
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Saudi startups win big with business incubator Oqal

  • Currently, financial institutions only provide a 5 percent rate of funding to startups
  • SMEs in the Kingdom continue to bear the brunt of complex administrative procedures and funding challenges
RIYADH: An up-and-coming Saudi business incubator recently launched a new incentive program aimed at keeping the young and budding entrepreneurs it supports and advises focused “on the prize.”
Oqal, which merges the Arabic word “aqel” (mind) with the Arabic word “amwal” (financial resources), helps youth with business plans and capital make the most of their resources by creating economically viable startups.
The jury on the panel of this latest competition, which was for the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, narrowed down 10 emerging projects to three finalists. Five Saudi judges with experience in the business sector were tasked with selecting the finalists.
Educa, an education-related initiative, won SR50,000 ($13,329) and a car. Qosoor, which rents out wedding and events venues, also won SR50,000. The third-place prize went to a real estate valuation company, which won SR25,000. The winners will also have their businesses accredited.
Since its inception in 2011, Oqal, a not-for-profit online platform, has helped foster the talent and resources of more than 50 entrepreneurs whose companies are now thriving in the Saudi market.
Oqal is working with Monsha’at, Arabic for startups, a government initiative attempting to empower small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to contribute more significantly to the country’s national economy.
“These prizes are a motivating tool and big form of exposure for these businesses, which will need to keep up momentum on this huge initial boost,” said Yaser Al-Ahmed, one of the judges on the panel.
“These businesses will continue to be guided by Monsha’at, which recently announced that the financial pledges made by young owners will be matched by other high-net-worth individuals in order to encourage future investments in startups.”
The latest initiatives come amid efforts to increase the contribution of SMEs to the gross domestic product (GDP). SMEs only account for 20 percent of Saudi Arabia’s GDP, a weak figure compared with first world countries, some of which enjoy an up to 70 percent SME contribution rate.
SMEs in the Kingdom continue to bear the brunt of complex administrative procedures and funding challenges. Currently, financial institutions only provide a 5 percent rate of funding to startups. Monsha’at is trying to increase funding to 20 percent by 2030.
The authority responsible for SME performance is reviewing cumbersome regulations and increasing access to finance methods, as well as introducing more business incubators and helping local businesses export their products.