By Neil King
Centennial Fund also signs deals to bring funding for new businesses to close to $667m
More than 6,000 new jobs have been created by Saudi Arabia’s The Centennial Fund (TCF), nearly a quarter of the 28,000 jobs targeted by 2020.
Director general of TCF, Abdulaziz Al Mutairi, said funding for the next round of projects would bring the initiative close to its $667m (SAR2.5bn) capacity, having started in 2004 in a bid to help young Saudi men and women start their own businesses.
To boost the chances of success for businesses established through the scheme, the TCF has signed a series of local and global deals, including Saudi Credit and Savings Bank, which will act as a major financier of SME projects.
Other deals included the Wa’id Programme, which will fund projects valued between SAR300,000 and SAR5m, and the I’mar Fund, which will finance projects valued between SAR300,000 and SAR500,000 at King Abdullah Economic City.
Agreements have also been made with seven Saudi universities to support the fund’s activities at the Centennial Valley – launched by TCF in 2011 to encourage young entrepreneurs – as well as King Abdullah Economic City.
Among the international partners are BlackBerry Academy, Microsoft and Intel.