Nealy forty percent of startups launched in Saudi Arabia in 2016 are owned by women, according to a government SME official
The figures show the central role played by women in the Saudi economy and “how the role of women in economic development has flourished,” the Governor of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), Ghassan Al-Sulaiman told Arab News.
Since its founding, the General Authority for SMEs has conducted workshops for 2,000 enterprises to identify the challenges they face in the local ecosystem, he said.
Al Sulaiman pointed out the importance of SMEs in catering to new emerging sectors in Saudi’s developing economy in areas such as mining, sports and tourism - that need the services and products of SMEs.
“There are also large projects looking for a greater contribution from SMEs,” Al Sulaiman said.
In addition he said that a new project for financing SMEs will be rolled out by the authority soon.
“There are different ideas for the financing mechanism as well as a few new proposals, and I expect the strategy to be submitted to the Council of Economic and Development Affairs and to the Cabinet within 45 days,” he said.
The Minister of Commerce and Investment, Majid Al-Qasabi, said it has been focussed on developing the infrastructure to encourage local businesses to set up in the Kingdom and to ensure legal protection for their interests, operations and investments.
“SMEs are an engine of economic growth, and thus the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 aims to develop this sector and raise its participation in the macro economy from 20 percent to 35 percent, which is expected to provide 500,000 to 700,000 job opportunities by 2030," Al-Qasabi said.
"Measures have also been taken to amend the bankruptcy, commercial mortgage and commercial franchise systems which will allow SMEs to expand across the Kingdom. Such measures are in their final stages of approval and are waiting to be issued.”
Al-Qasabi said the ministry was keen on tackling bureaucratic obstacles to SMEs operating in the region, and has launched the ‘Tayseer’ initiative with members from the Council of Economic and Development to improve the business environment.
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