Saudi business leaders discuss SME funding initiatives

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Updated 28 June 2020

Saudi business leaders discuss SME funding initiatives

  • SMEs and entrepreneurs can go online to be linked to funding agencies, including banks and companies

MAKKAH: Funding initiatives aimed at supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) topped the agenda at a virtual meeting of Saudi business leaders.

Organized by the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monshaat), conference delegates reviewed a range of business support programs and discussed ways to identify potential obstacles to the funding of SMEs.

Addressing the meeting titled “The financial solutions for SMEs,” Monshaat’s director of corporate finance, Badr Al-Radhan, said the authority had completed the first phase of a study into the establishment of a bank dedicated to giving financial backing to SMEs, an initiative announced last year by the Saudi commerce minister.

Work was ongoing to obtain the necessary approvals as part of a package of programs, initiatives, and niche products, he said.

Al-Radhan pointed out that the indirect-lending scheme would have limits ranging between a minimum of SR50,000 ($13,300) and a maximum SR7.5 million. Amounts to be granted would be based on the scale, revenues, and sales of individual projects. The Kafalah program would guarantee up to SR15 million of the total amount granted by funding agencies.

“The funding portal on the authority’s website covers the indirect-funding initiatives, the guaranteed funding program, and general funding,” added Al-Radhan.

Eighteen companies have now been authorized by the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) as partners in the indirect-lending initiatives. SMEs and entrepreneurs can go online to be linked to funding agencies, including banks and companies.


New agreement for green hydrogen production plant in NEOM

Updated 07 July 2020

New agreement for green hydrogen production plant in NEOM

  • The joint venture project is the first partnership for NEOM with international and national partners in the renewable energy field

JEDDAH: A $5 billion production facility powered by renewable energy to supply 650 tons of carbon-free hydrogen daily for export to global markets is to be built at the main NEOM site under a new agreement.

Air Products, a world-leading industrial gases company, and ACWA Power, a developer and operator of power generation and desalinated water production plants, signed the agreement with NEOM to build the hydrogen-based ammonia production facility, which will be equally owned by the three partners. It aims to produce green ammonia for export to global markets by 2025.

The joint venture project is the first partnership for NEOM, a new model for sustainable living located in the north west corner of the Saudi Arabia, with international and national partners in the renewable energy field. It will include the innovative integration of more than four gigawatts of renewable power from solar and wind power and storage using various methods of production.

“This partnership reflects our deep commitment to developing a carbon-positive society that will be a beacon for sustainable living and a solution to many of the environmental challenges facing the world,” said Nadhmi Al Nasr, NEOM CEO.

“NEOM’s Board of Directors, headed by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and the company’s executive team are delighted to announce this significant milestone, the world’s largest renewable hydrogen project, for NEOM to make it a global leader in green hydrogen production and green fuels. We are also excited that two world-class organizations, Air Products and ACWA Power, have joined us in developing this major project, the first of many developments at this scale that will put NEOM at the heart of a new future society.”

“We are honored and proud to partner with ACWA Power and NEOM and use proven technologies to make the world’s dream of 100 percent green energy a reality,” said Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer for Air Products.

Ghasemi went on to say that harnessing the unique profile of NEOM’s sun and wind to convert water to hydrogen will yield a clean source of energy on a massive scale and will rid the world of over 3 million tons of CO2 emissions annually and eliminate smog-forming emissions and other pollutants from the equivalent of over 700,000 cars.

Air Products will be the exclusive off-taker of the green ammonia and intends to transport it around the world to be turned into green hydrogen for the transportation market.

ACWA Power chairman Mohammed A. Abunayyan said that “based in NEOM’s Industrial Cluster and enabled by its unique mandate, this investment will integrate and localize cutting-edge technologies that will harness solar and wind power to produce sustainable and globally accessible green energy.”

“ACWA Power has a proven track record of leveraging pioneering renewable technologies to deliver carbon-free power at the lowest cost. With our global experience, we are confident that our collaboration with an industry-leading company like Air Products will create significant opportunities in the production of green hydrogen, and further us in our goal to help countries meet their clean energy targets and unlock significant socio-economic benefits.”