When people think about Ramadan, they always focus on spirituality, and how to utilize the holy month to renew hopes and to reach the highest goals represented in gaining Allah’s mercy and forgiveness.
However, there is another angle to the holy month, in this piece Entrepreneurship KSA research the possibility of a relationship between the holy month and the nature of entrepreneurial work, we found that it is also the golden opportunity for the birth of a new entrepreneur in the financial and business market.
The month of Ramadan opens new horizons for entrepreneurs to contribute to their effective and influential role in establishing small projects or enhancing the role of startups in providing what the market needs.
Especially in light of the increasing need of customers for many products and services during this month, in addition to playing the role of social responsibility to the fullest to complete the good work in the month of goodness.
There are many opportunities for entrepreneurs in the holy month of Ramadan. Especially with customers needing products such as food, beverages, dates, incense, perfumes, and other projects in which a potential entrepreneur may find his interest.
If the franchise is a guarantee of success by exploiting the name of a famous brand, then the most famous brand in the Islamic world is the month of “Ramadan”; Not only does it carry a lot of good, but it also carries many seasonal opportunities, which go beyond the 30 days of the month.
The percentage of Saudis spending in Ramadan reaches hundreds of billions, and dates are one of the most profitable trades in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, especially in the city of Riyadh, Makkah, Jeddah, and other regions of the Kingdom. During the holy month of Ramadan, profits increase. This comes as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is working to raise its share of global date exports to 20% before the end of 2025. This guarantees its position in first place among the countries exporting dates globally.
Saudis consume about 30% to 45% (approximately 300,000 to 400,000 tons) of the total dates produced in Saudi Arabia during the holy month of Ramadan. The rest is distributed over 11 months during the year, according to statistics made by investment agencies in the field of dates.
According to a study entitled Dates Market – Growth, Trends, and Prospects (2023-2028), the global dates market will witness a compound annual growth rate of 5.1% until 2027.
In the long term, the increasing consumption of dates worldwide, along with the increasing awareness about the health benefits, and the increasing demand for dates from the manufacturing industries, is expected to drive the growth of the market over the study period.
The Middle East and Africa region is the largest market for dates in the world, as several countries, led by Saudi Arabia, dominate the volume of data consumption. Due to the increasing demand for dates, their consumption is expected to grow significantly during the forecast period.
Therefore, dates are the engine fuel for the idea of a successful project. Especially in light of its increasing consumption during the month of Ramadan, it can be started immediately.
The Hajj and Umrah sector.. a way for entrepreneurs to invest in a safe and sustainable way
The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah is working to develop the sector in line with the status of Makkah Al-Mukarramah and Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah and to work to increase the number of pilgrims and Umrah pilgrims in the future and to improve the services provided to them to keep pace with the goals and vision of the Kingdom 2030.
The Ministry receives creative ideas, and is keen to develop the Hajj and Umrah services industry, ensure quality in it, explore new services, activate complementary services, and enrich the experience of pilgrims and Umrah performers, bearing in mind that the month of Ramadan is a golden seasonal opportunity; Due to the influx of many pilgrims to perform the rituals of Umrah.
The Hajj and Umrah sector constitutes about 60% of the tourism revenues of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which is equivalent to at least about $15 billion annually – according to official data issued by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics – which is approximately 55% of the revenues of the tourism sector in the Kingdom. The sector provides nearly a million jobs, of which Saudi citizens account for about a third, which means that Hajj and Umrah here represent one of the largest and most important investments in Saudi Arabia.
This is what we can see through the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which is based on diversifying sources of national income, rather than relying on oil revenues only so that the Hajj and Umrah sector occupies the first axis in that future vision.
This confirms that investment in this sector will probably be the Kingdom’s first concern during the coming period. Despite Saudi Arabia suffering from a significant decline in its budget in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, after canceling the Hajj and Umrah seasons for two consecutive years, bringing its total losses in its budget for the fiscal year 2021 AD to the equivalent of SAR 455 billion; This made the opportunity flourish for technical investment in that sector, and opened the door wide for religious and educational applications, as well as technological innovations about investment in the Hajj and Umrah sector.
The percentage of Saudi pilgrims represents 46.7% of the total number of internal pilgrims, while the percentage of external pilgrims reached 0.19%, the percentage of internal pilgrims reached 99.81%, and the number of pilgrims for the year 2022 reached 895,499.
Because of the vast number of Umrah pilgrims in the seasons, the need for huge efforts to serve the guests of Rahman increases, and the huge number of visitors increases the rate of spending, and the urgent need for various private sector resources and services.
The investment in this field accrues to the owner of the profit, as transportation and communications are among the things that the pilgrims and pilgrims cannot do without to move between the rituals of Umrah. Transport includes 6 areas, all of which are ready for the entrepreneur to invest in, including research and studies, support and training, development, operation and maintenance, except for two areas in which direct investment is difficult, which are infrastructure and means of transportation.
This comes in addition to the possibility of investing in tourist guidance. The Entrepreneurship Committee of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah limited entrepreneurial opportunities, including tourist guidance inside and outside the bus, and transporting pilgrims’ luggage – which is a problem facing the guests of Rahman during their movements between the cities of Hajj.
The Ministry sought, through signing an agreement with the National Bank of Saudi Arabia, to find business accelerators that would embrace pioneering facilities and projects in the Hajj and Umrah system, which would contribute to completing the appropriate infrastructure to provide high-quality religious hospitality, in pursuit of achieving the goals of the system and the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, and as an extension of the efforts made through Entrepreneurship Center of the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Technology investment in Umrah
Due to the increase in the number of Umrah pilgrims during Ramadan, the rituals need to be simplified for first-time guests of Rahman, so the idea of a virtual museum emerged. Which presents Islamic development in the engineering, scientific, and cultural fields, and everything related to Islamic culture, Hajj, and Umrah.
In a study entitled “An Analytical Study of Hajj and Umrah Applications”, published by the research journal Applied Computing and Informatics, in Issue 14, Issue 1 of 2018, the results showed that the “Rites of Hajj” service has the largest share, compared to other services provided by mobile applications. The “Hajj rituals” service is present in 68.7% of the targeted applications, followed by “Umrah rituals” and “Adhkar” with 47.5% and 32.5%, respectively.
Wadi Makkah Technology Company is one of the largest investment capital companies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, with 3 leading companies branching out from it; are Wadi Makkah Investment, Technology, and Knowledge.
It invested in 40 startup companies, and these companies achieved sales of more than SAR 45 million. Wadi Makkah also established the first fund to invest in emerging companies that are based on advanced technologies and operate in the Hajj and Umrah sector, at a value of SAR 40 million.
A report entitled “Hajj and Umrah: Developments and Opportunities”, issued by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard, in January 2017, indicated that there are many investment opportunities in the Hajj and Umrah sector in front of hospitality platforms, to provide distinguished accommodation according to the needs of pilgrims, Umrah performers and guests of the Kingdom, and there is also a promising market. Regarding the “smart clothing” trade.