By: Dr. Abdullah I. Al Sultan
The world celebrates the Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), in nearly 190 countries around the world, through thousands of entrepreneurial events, which offer training courses, workshops, and review distinctive and inspiring success stories for young people and youth.
Governments have paid attention to entrepreneurship because of its vital role in providing job opportunities and supporting national economies, diversifying sources of income, achieving economic and social development, advancing local communities, and finding innovative solutions to the challenges they face.
Hence the interest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in entrepreneurship, as Vision 2030 launched by His Royal Highness Prince Mohammed bin Salman – may God protect him – under the directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques – may God protect him – aims to rais the contribution of small and medium enterprises to the GDP from 20% to 35% by 2030.
Due to its great support, the Kingdom ranked first globally in four worldwide indicators of entrepreneurship. This is according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Index, which measures the different levels of entrepreneurship motivation in the countries and its activities around the world and then ranks their performance. These four indicators are:
(1) “Availability of good opportunities to start a business”.
(2) “Ease to start a business”.
(3) “Entrepreneurs response to the pandemic”.
(4) “The government’s response to the pandemic”.
The Kingdom also ranked second in:
(1) “Owning skills and knowledge of individuals” indicator.
(2) The “infrastructure”, which is concerned with easy access of project owners to roads and airports, as well as service facilities, such as electricity, internet, etc.
KSA also ranked third in:
(1) “Easy access to Financing for Companies and Entrepreneurs” indicator.
(2) “Ease of Entry and Market Dynamics” indicator, which measures the presence of free, open, and growing markets.
KSA also ranked fourth globally in the following indexes:
(1) “Government Support for Business.”
(2) “Removal of barriers and easy regulations for entering the markets.”
This great success did not come out of anywhere, but rather as a result of great efforts backed by a real belief in the importance of entrepreneurship by our wise leadership, which endeavored to:
• Establishing the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises “Monsha’at” as an umbrella that works to enhance the business ecosystem through:
- Spreading the culture of self-employment and freelance and the spirit of entrepreneurship, taking initiatives and innovation.
- Diversifying sources of financial support for enterprises, stimulating venture capital sector initiatives, setting policies and standards for financing small and medium enterprises, providing administrative and technical support to enterprises, and supporting them in developing their administrative, technical, financial, marketing, human resources, and other capabilities.
-Establishing companies specialized in the financing, activating the role of banks in lending funds, and motivating them to play a greater and more effective role in financing and investing in enterprises.
-Establishing comprehensive service centers to issue all required legal documents for enterprises.
- Removing all administrative, organizational, technical, procedural, information and marketing barriers facing the enterprises.
- Establishing and organizing accelerators and incubators for technology and business.
- Developing programs and initiatives to find investment opportunities for enterprises and make them known.
- Working on transferring and localizing relevant technology to develop the performance and productivity of these facilities, including supply chains.
• Introducing a package of legislative and regulatory reforms that made the establishment and practice of business more flexible, time and effort saving, and contributed to attracting local and foreign investments.
• Supporting and subsidizing small and medium enterprises, especially during the (Covid-19) crisis, when the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques gave his directions to support the private sector through several initiatives. The most important of which was provided by the Arab Monetary Agency, which allocated about 50 billion riyals to support the private sector and small and medium enterprises, to mitigate the effects of the precautionary measures, alleviating the effects of fluctuating cash flows, supporting the working capital of this sector, enabling it to grow, and contributing to supporting economic growth and maintaining employment in the private sector.
In addition to the initiative of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to provide about 9 billion riyals to subsidize the salaries of Saudi workers in the private sector to support these enterprises to keep their workers and employees.