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Saudi Arabia’s thriving entrepreneurial culture is on the rise

Saudi Arabia sees a 6% growth in SMEs.

Saudi Arabia’s thriving entrepreneurial culture is on the rise
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

These are exciting times to be an entrepreneur in Saudi Arabia. The country has about 1.14 million small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which increased by 6% in the fourth quarter of 2022, according to the SME Monitor report published by Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Small and Medium Companies, known as Monsha’at.

The survey, made public before the Biban 2023 SME conference, noted that Riyadh is home to 40% of the kingdom’s SMEs, providing compelling evidence of the quickly growing startup ecosystem there.

Monsha’at Governor Sami Ibrahim Alhussaini called the release of the latest SME Monitor ahead of Biban 23 “an important development.”  

Monsha’at, the state-run authority, is fueling the growth of SMEs. It has incubators, accelerators, coworking spaces, and direct and indirect lending programs for small businesses to thrive.

Regulatory reforms have also played a part in increasing the number of SMEs and boosting entrepreneurship in the kingdom. 

Last November, Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet approved the Small and Medium Enterprises Bank System, aimed at providing all its products and services in digital form without the need to establish branches.

Biban 23, the largest startup, SMEs, and entrepreneurship conference, will take place from March 9 to 19, and is anticipated to draw 105,000 participants from the kingdom and overseas.

“As the flagship event for startups and SMEs, the opportunities at Biban 23 are further proof of the entrepreneurial progress of the kingdom that is so amply documented in the latest quarterly report,” Alhussaini said. 

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