SR2 billion fund to support SMEs in Saudi healthcare sector

A Saudi nurse checks a patient at a mobile clinic catering for the residents of Ajyad Almasafi district in the holy city of Mecca, on April 7, 2020. (File/AFP)
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Updated 09 April 2020

SR2 billion fund to support SMEs in Saudi healthcare sector

  • Social Development Bank initiative is part of SR12bn support program to mitigate the financial and economic effects of coronavirus crisis

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Social Development Bank has launched a SR2 billion ($530 million) “healthcare portfolio” to support established and new small and medium enterprises in the Kingdom’s healthcare sector.

The fund forms part of a recently announced SR12 billion support program designed to mitigate the financial and economic effects of COVID-19 crisis.

Under the new initiative SDB will offer swift financing solutions, with flexible funding tailored to the requirements of each beneficiary, to help SMEs in this vital sector continue to provide their services to the public, and maintain and enhance their contribution to economic growth and employment. It also supports the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 Quality of Life Program, and its long-term goals of improving medical services in the country and enhancing the global ranking of the nation’s healthcare system.

SDB CEO Ibrahim Al-Rashid said that healthcare SMEs that previously received funding from the bank experienced strong growth, while benefiting from concessional financing and business services available at 27 SDB branches across the country.

He added that the new healthcare portfolio is in line with the bank’s strategic goal of supporting the healthcare sector through the funding SMEs in 12 fields licensed by Ministry of Health: medical complexes, medical factories, specialized clinics, consultation clinics, radiology centers, one-day clinics, medical laboratories, home medical care centers, emergency medicine, rehabilitation, preventive health, and medical services).

The SR2 billion fund will help more than 1,000 new and existing SMEs to maintain essential services during this critical time, while contributing to the Kingdom’s long-term strategic objectives, Al-Rashid said.

SDB, which was established in 1971, has supported more than 2.7 million Saudi citizens by providing funding of SR107 billion to individuals and SMEs, and delivering a wide range of business-support services.

Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

Updated 23 October 2020

Nvidia deal for Arm will drive computing power growth, says SoftBank’s CEO

  • Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF) is an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund

TOKYO/DUBAI: SoftBank Group Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said on Thursday the sale of chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp. will drive growth in computing power, in his first public comments since the $40 billion deal was announced in September.
Son made the comments at a virtual summit about artificial intelligence hosted by Saudi Arabia, an anchor investor in the $100 billion Vision Fund, at which he reiterated his belief that AI would transform society.
The Nvidia deal, part of a series of asset sales by Son, whose group has been shaken by soured investments and the COVID-19 pandemic, has raised concerns it will threaten Arm’s role as a neutral supplier in the industry.
Son is set to speak next week with Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang at SoftBank World, the group’s annual event for customers and suppliers that is being retooled as it focuses on investing.
SoftBank’s growing cash pile is driving speculation about future investment plans, with the Vision Fund targeting external funding for a blank-check company, a source said, in a sign the group is regaining its mojo.
“I am a risk taker,” Son said on Thursday.
Rajeev Misra, CEO of SoftBank Investment Advisers which oversees the Vision Fund, said the market share gained by online commerce companies in the last six to eight months is more than what they gained in the previous four years put together.
“COVID has accelerated the acceleration of AI even further,” Misra told the same conference, adding in the 105 companies Vision Fund 1 and 2 have invested in, artificial intelligence is the core of their businesses.