Saudi food and beverage sector shows 6.3% growth in first half of 2022 (Monsha’at)

Monsha’at has offered more than 200 training programs to Saudi entrepreneurs as the Kingdom bets on SMEs

RIYADH: The General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, or Monsha’at, offers training programs for entrepreneurs to improve the sector’s contribution to gross domestic product.

Monsha’at has created an online academy in 2020 to support aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners by improving their ability to access markets, manage established businesses and explore options to grow their businesses.

The academy has offered over 200 training events, including boot camps, workshops, and self-paced e-learning programs.

Its programs include technology and innovation, planning and strategy, sales and marketing, accounting and financial management, human resources, franchising, e-commerce and retail.

“The circumstances of COVID-19 in containment have accelerated the need for such a platform. So we started as a learning management system, where we get all our training services in one place,” said Abdulrahman Alotaibi, SME Training Manager for Capacity Building at Monsha’at.

Abdulrahman Alotaibi, SME Training Manager for Capacity Building at Monsha’at

Alotaibi explained in an interview with Arab News that businesses at the time needed support to survive during the pandemic outbreak.

“We have a group of experts who go into the research and identify the objectives of the course. Then we start to develop the educational content. We do the research; we rely on good references,” he added.

According to Alotaibi, startups struggle to access funding and generate customers.

“Some challenges are related to human resources and finding the right team, and some have difficulty managing the operation. I think the main challenges are access to finance and communication with customers,” he added.

Saif Alshammari is one of thousands of beneficiaries of this academy. He signed up with about 20 other participants earlier this year for courses in contract formulation, project budgeting and estimating.

Saif Alshammari, founder and managing director of RAK Construction

“The program has developed the capacities of entrepreneurs. He developed the concept of financial management, which is at the heart of any business. We were taught the types of business contracts, the differences between them and which of them you should accept,” he added in an interview with Arab News.

Alshammari founded RAK Construction in 2007 in the city of Al Jubail, the eastern province of the Kingdom.

“I have a long experience in running my business, but Monsha’at gave me a theoretical aspect of management and added a new wave of operation,” he said.

Monsha’at allowed him to register his establishment as a seller for a leading company in the sector called Thabat.

“I and other participants were brought into an open discussion with Thabat, and eventually we got approved vendors, and hopefully we will be rewarded with projects soon,” Alshammari said.

Increasing the roles of women

According to Monsha’at’s 2022 quarterly report, the Kingdom’s private sector has been one of the main beneficiaries of the influx of dynamic female workers, with many women entrepreneurs seizing new opportunities in the accommodation and catering sectors. , wholesale and retail trade, health and professional support services. .

Monsha’at strives to develop policies and programs that empower women entrepreneurs in different sectors.

A group of female university entrepreneurs spoke to Arab News about their experience with Monsha’at regarding their next project.

Moodhy Aljouali and his colleagues are currently launching a grammar and spelling error detection and correction system for the Arabic language called Mubeen.

Moodhy Aljouali, co-founder of Mubeen

“It uses artificial intelligence techniques such as deep learning and natural language processing to edit and correct errors in the text. It will produce high-quality, error-free text,” said Moodhy, co- founder of Mubeen, to Arab News.

Specializing in artificial intelligence, Moodhy is in her final semester at Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Riyadh.

“We’re working on improving what we have and then building the website and releasing it in two months,” she said.

Moodhy and four of his colleagues were part of a program run by Monsha’at called University Entrepreneurship Camps, a competition where participants can pitch their projects.

According to Moodhy, their project received the first prize, and Monsha’at offered them workspace and consultation from experts in the field.

“We are planning to have business lessons from Monsha’at since all team members are only tech savvy,” she added.

The Kingdom’s vision for SMEs

Created in 2016 as part of the Vision 2030 plan, Monsha’at’s goal is to create an inspiring environment for SMEs to grow, unlock their potential and create a supportive entrepreneurial community.

Its SME Monitor tracks an ecosystem that observes the continued progress of the Kingdom’s SME sector, releasing new statistics and case studies that support their observations.

“SMEs in the Kingdom are not yet major contributors to the country’s gross domestic product, especially compared to advanced economies,” the Vision 2030 document says.

The Saudi vision is to create suitable employment opportunities for its citizens by supporting SME entrepreneurship, privatization and investment in new industries.

SMEs will play an important role in achieving Saudi Arabia’s goals of reducing the unemployment rate from 11.6% to 7%, increasing women’s participation in the labor market from 22% to 30% and increase the contribution of SMEs to 35% of GDP by 2030.

Colin L. Johnson