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.