Saudi fund to host SMEs forum
Riyadh, May 26, 2013
Saudi Industrial Development Fund has announced plans to organise a two-day forum for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) starting from May 28 in Riyadh.
The Saudi International SME Forum is being held under the patronage of Minister of Finance, Dr Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf in collaboration with Al-Iktissad Wal-Aamal Group at the Four Seasons Hotel.
Announcing this at a press conference, Ali bin Abdullah Al-Ayed, the director general of Saudi Industrial Development Fund, said the forum will be held to keep pace with the tireless efforts made by the government to support and develop the SME sector.
"It will also aim to increase its role in providing new business opportunities, achieve economic and social development in less developed areas, and broaden the base of the national economy, through the launch of several initiatives and development programs in support of this sector," he added.
"We are keen to complete the co-ordination with banks through the Kafala program to encourage them to provide more financing and banking services to this sector," said Al-Ayed.
He pointed out that since the start of the program in 2006 till the end of first quarter, the program management has adopted 5,253 Kafalah contracts, out of which 3,159 beneficiaries were SMEs, with the total value amounting SR2.561 million, compared to loans offered by banks participating in the program which is worth $5.284 million.
"The appetite for banks to finance SME’s in cooperation with the Kafala Program is growing steadily, especially after most banks decided to increase the resources allocated for this sector and establish departments and units specialized in serving SME," he said.
Dr Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al Hanichel, the director general of Saudi Credit and Savings, said the next phase in the bank's activities will experience growth in financing activities, and a continuous facilitation in its procedures, as well as enhancing the coordination with all concerned parties to support SME.
The bank, he stated, has a comprehensive and detailed executive list to regulate the financing of SME that includes a number of measures that facilitate the lending process, and meet the needs of those who are serious in partaking in the fight of self-employment.
Dr Al Hanichel also revealed that "the amount of funding provided and guaranteed by the bank for SME reached SR300 million for 1131 SMEs during the period, while the average amount for the past two years have reached SR344 million per year."
Osama bin Abdelrahman Al-Mubarak, the chairman in charge of the program to finance SMEs said the forum will focus in its meetings on key topics such as the role of SME in the creation of new job opportunities and how to enhance the contribution of these enterprises in the national economy, and the role of banks in financing this sector and the upcoming repercussion in the provision of bank financing on the development of these facilities with the participation of a number of executives from Saudi banks, who will talk about the experiences of the field of banking.
The second session will address the role of the private sector and major companies in the support and development of SME and initiatives provided by these companies to support this sector, in addition to emphasizing the importance of the partnership between the public and private sector in the support and development of SME.
The third session will discuss the non-traditional programs for supporting and financing SME, in which the financing risks programs and the new trends in the sector to ensure funding, will be evaluated to ensure.
"The role of business incubators in the development of the competitiveness ability of SME will be one of the key issues in the forum with a focus on the importance of training and educational programs in the development of skills and abilities of owners of SME," he added.-TradeArabia News Service