Kafala approves guarantees worth SR 4.8 bn for SMEs

Updated 21 March 2013

Kafala approves guarantees worth SR 4.8 bn for SMEs

The Kafala program has approved 670 guarantees for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in 2012 valued at SR 4.8 billion, a senior official of the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF) said.
The Kafala program is run by SIDF, an affiliate of the Ministry of Finance, in coordination with a group of Saudi banks. Their major concern is to fund small and medium sized enterprises in the Kingdom.
Director of SIDF Ali bin Abdullah Al-Aid said some 918 firms benefited from the program in 2012 compared to 742 firms in 2011, an increase of 24 percent.
Meanwhile, the volume of funding offered by the participating banks in the program stood at SR 1.78 billion in 2012 compared to SR 1.28 billion in 2011, an increase of 38 percent, he said.
Since the launch of the program in 2006 until the end of 2012, the program has approved 765 guarantees for 909 SMEs valued at SR 2.30 billion, where banks and other financing institutions provided funding facilities worth SR 4.83 billion, he pointed out.
He said the program has recently launched intensive awareness campaigns destined for the owners of SMEs, especially in the least developed areas, by explaining funding facilities guaranteed by the program.
The program has effectively contributed in the creation of an appropriate funding instrument for SME owners where it used to guarantee 80 percent of the funds offered by the participating banks, the value of a guarantee sometimes going up to SR 1.6 million, he said.
The SIDF chief said that an investor who owns and runs more than one business could obtain more guarantees at a value exceeding SR 5 million. For legally-established companies, they can also get more than one guarantee of no more than SR 10 million, he said. Firm owners could repeatedly obtain guarantees but must conditionally re-pay pending funds, with the possibility of giving them a grace period for repayment depending on the nature of business, he said.
According to program officials, the role of the program is not limited to the issuance of guarantees but extends to covering other areas such as training and launching of awareness campaigns and workshops for young entrepreneurs in cooperation with World Bank (WB), Institute of Banking, Saudi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and other banking institutions.

 


On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2020

On the go with Saudi Arabia’s first professionally trained cycling club

  • Saudi Arabia’s female population is enjoying the new wave of opportunities to live a healthy lifestyle

RIYADH: As sports and other activities continue to gain popularity in Saudi Arabia, residents are seeking out exciting ways to get moving.
The Kingdom’s female population are enjoying the new wave of opportunities that have been made available to them in recent years to live a healthy lifestyle.
Hiking, outdoor yoga and football are all popular choices, but one less familiar pastime on the increase is cycling.
Events such as the annual Saudi Tour and the General Sports Authority’s highly successful all-women’s cycling race in Jeddah in 2018 have fostered a growing interest in the sport.
Studies have shown that cycling improves overall health, more specifically improving mental health, strengthening the immune system, promoting weight loss, reducing heart disease and cancer and more.
Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists. The group offers lessons that can help any beginner ride a bike safely. (Supplied)

A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.
Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally. Shahd Alturki, Doves Ride’s founder and a professional cycling trainer, spoke to Arab News about why she set up the team.

HIGHLIGHTS

• A group of bike enthusiasts from Riyadh intend to spread the word and make people more aware of the healthy advantages of cycling and the joy that can be had on the back of a bicycle.

• Doves Ride is Saudi Arabia’s first professional cycling team, licensed both locally and internationally.

• Riding a bike can be one of the easiest forms of returning to fitness when you are bouncing back from an injury or illness.

“I founded Doves Ride to create an environment for women and families where they could get into sports,” Alturki said.
Based in Riyadh, Doves Ride’s goal is to create an environment where Saudis can discover what biking is like and meet others with similar interests.
“The idea was to create a team that would motivate Saudi society to start biking, and to raise awareness in general about sport and movement. We also wanted to help teach Saudis to cycle by creating a program to teach people in all categories,” she said.
Doves Ride organizes rides for all levels, from the gentle trails suitable for beginners to the more challenging routes for hardened cyclists.
“We welcome participants at any level, whether they are looking for a long-term membership or just to try it out,” said Alturki.
She also spoke about the benefits of the sport and hopes to encourage people to try it out for themselves.
“Biking is more than just a fun sport; it raises your fitness levels and can also boost your mental health,” she said.
For the more hesitant, Alturki reassures them that she is well-equipped to train them and get them on the path to biking like a pro.
“We have bike-riding lessons for zero-experience learners, licensed by the British Cycling Federation. Children, men and women are all welcome to take them. These lessons can help any beginner ride a bike safely, and teaches them all the necessary skills and basics,” she said.
Doves Ride can be contacted via their Twitter or Instagram accounts, @dovesride.