RIYADH: KPMG Professional Services and Al-Mashtal Community House and Creative Incubator recently announced a strategic partnership, marking a new era of collaboration between two industry leaders that signals a promising future for Saudi Arabia’s creative sector.
The nature of KPMG’s involvement is to provide professional support for Al-Mashtal in growing their business not only creatively but sustainably. Al-Mashtal will also act as a liaison between entrepreneurs and KPMG specialists and mentors to transform their passion into a viable and actionable business.
Ebrahim Baeshen, office managing partner at KPMG, told Arab News: “Our role here comes to ensure that they (Al-Mashtal) succeed not only by introducing a great idea, or a great product, but by making it sustainable.”
As a creative and community house, Al-Mashtal is dedicated to nurturing the talents of young and emerging Saudi creatives to harness a sustainable creative economy within the region.
Sohaib Zafir, CEO of Al-Mashtal, told Arab News: “Corporations aren’t generally concerned with creative ventures, but KPMG have a great interest in creating social impact within communities.”
The partnership with Al-Mashtal is just one of the initiatives under KPMG’s IMPACT plan, which aims to maximize the influence of environmental, social, and governance on communities to maintain a culture of support and progress.
“Through that program, we have different initiatives … at times we fund, we give money to charity, at times we help by giving lectures, by building materials similar to (Al-Mashtal) and help them by bringing our experts to educate entrepreneurs, to teach them and let them know how to manage a business and do all these things,” Baeshen said.
The incubator has slowly become a hub for local creatives to gather, share ideas, and present various creative initiatives through their hosting of consistent panel discussions, networking sessions, music performances, and more.
It also recently partnered with the Saudi Design Festival to bring the “Brand Your Neighborhood” design challenge. The initiative allowed local creatives to build urban branding and design concepts in Riyadh, Jeddah, and the Eastern Province.
Through Al-Mashtal’s incubation programs that take an educational approach to helping entrepreneurs develop their startups, KPMG will be providing consultations on professional skills, like financing and accounting, and personal soft skills, such as negotiation and pitching.
Al-Mashtal strives to impact not just the community, but the creative economy as a whole in leading incubations and programs on a national level and beyond.
“Our goal isn’t to become legends or be the best, but rather move the sector along. Al-Mashtal will become more than happy if we have competitors, because that creates sustainability within the industry,” Zafir said.
The creative house has been gradually setting the blueprint for drafting the infrastructure of creative incubation within the Kingdom. It acquired the first creative incubation business license in the Kingdom.
KPMG and Al-Mashtal first collaborated in 2021 on a project that proved fruitful for both parties. Baeshan said: “We know great things about Al-Mashtal because we started with them … it’s a great success story even for us to see them succeeding in what they're doing.”