RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Social Development Bank financed over 30,000 small enterprises, startups and self-employed business owners with over SR2.9 billion ($770 million) in the first quarter of 2023 in its bid to strengthen the Kingdom’s non-oil private sector in line with the goals outlined in Vision 2030.
According to the bank’s board report, 2,000 small enterprises and startups were provided finance worth SR1 billion for the first quarter, while over 9,000 individuals received social financing valued at SR538 million.
The report further noted that the bank offered loans worth SR1.4 billion to over 23,000 self-employed business owners and productive families.
Last month, during an exclusive interview with Arab News, Sultan Al-Hamidi, the chief business officer of SDB, said that the bank aims to infuse SR24 billion into small and medium-sized enterprises over the next three years.
He added that the bank provided SR5 billion in financing to some 9,000 SMEs in 2022 alone.
Al-Hamidi noted that Saudi Arabia is offering a strong growth opportunity for SMEs and pointed out that the Kingdom has a higher success rate average among entrepreneurs compared to global figures.
Since setting up a dedicated segment for SMEs and micro-SMEs in 2008, the bank has lent around SR16 billion to 40,000 such institutions.
Al-Hamidi added that the institution funds SMEs after a thorough screening process. The bank also releases money in installments, ensuring entrepreneurs execute business plans properly.
“We start with them from the idea. We interview them, and we make sure that they have very good training for two weeks to make sure that they can do a feasibility study,” said Al-Hamidi.
As the feasibility study completes, the bank disburses the loan partially.
“We give the entrepreneur and then we visit. Then we deploy another 25 percent after six months. So, over two years, we have four interactions with the entrepreneur to make sure that the plan which was submitted is really executed,” explained the bank executive.
SDB is considered to be one of the leading government pillars for economic and social development funding to the citizens.