Saudi Arabia’s support of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) is transforming the Kingdom’s economy and having a major impact for entrepreneurs.
There are now more than 1.14m SMEs in the country and it is becoming recognised as a major hub for businesses.
Saudi Arabia’s Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at) has developed 23 initiatives related to seven of the Saudi Vision 2030 strategic objectives through five of its programmes:
SMEs in Saudi Arabia
Some of the most prominent achievements attained by Monsha’at in relation to the National Transformation Programme include increasing the numbers of small and medium enterprises in Saudi Arabia from 429,026 in 2016 to 1,141,733 in 2022, a 166% growth rate since the launch of Vision 2030 in 2016.
As a result of its endeavours, Saudi Arabia ranked 2nd in the 2022 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor’s National Entrepreneurship Context Index (GEM NECI), considerably higher than its 41st place in 2018.
In the Fiscal Stability Programme, Monsha’at has contributed to establishing the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank, and raising the lending quota from 5.4% in 2018 to 8.3% in 2022, a growth rate of 54%.
In addition, a funding portal was launched to connect public and private sector financiers with small and medium enterprises seeking finance; the funding provided through the portal has reached more than SR18bn ($4.8bn).
Monsha’at also established the Saudi Venture Capital Company to promote the concept of venture capital and direct investment in startups and stimulate the private sector’s investment.
The value of venture capital in Saudi Arabia amounts to SR3.7bn ($986m).
Regarding the Financial Sustainability Programme, the authority launched in 2018 the Government Fee Refunding Initiative Estrdad, which has encouraged SMEs to enter the market by supporting them to achieve growth during the first years of operation.
The total refunds since the launch of the initiative until 2021 amounted to SR3.5bn ($934m).
As part of the National Industrial Development and Logistics Programme, Monsha’at launched the “Jadeer” service that aims to capacitate and empower SMEs in the market by facilitating procurement opportunities offered by the public sector and enterprises in the private sector.
The number of enterprises qualified through the service reached more than 2,300.
Monsha’at launched the University Startups Initiative to spread the entrepreneurial culture.
Monsha’at offers many programmes as part of this initiative, which supported more than 65,000 university students, contributing to the Kingdom’s advancement in the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor report over the past two years from the 23rd to the 5th rank in the entrepreneurship index in higher education, as part of the Human Capability Development Programme.
In continuation of the achievements of the Saudi Vision 2030, Monsha’at has launched several SMEs support centres in four different regions in the Kingdom to upskill small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, through public-private sector cooperation, and to build a regional competitive economic system that aims to achieve sustainability and prosperity in various sectors and boost its contributions to the GDP.
The number of beneficiaries of the centres reached more than 66,000.