Tuesday 21 November 2017
 
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STRATEGIC INITIATIVE

John Kerr and Dr Ghassan Al Sulaiman

New hub to drive SME, start-up growth in Saudi

RIYADH, May 22, 2017

The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority of Saudi Arabia has announced the establishment of HUB1006, an operating entity for a series of entrepreneurial hubs focused on growing the SME and start-up sectors across the Kingdom.

HUB1006 was launched during the Impact to Innovation (i2i) Roundtable, organiaed as part of the US presidential visit, in order to realise the goals of Vision 2030 and the National Transformation Programme (NTP) led by Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

HUB1006 will be established as an operating body with strategic relationships with CIC-Venture Café Global Institute, a public benefit corporation with an international network focused on promoting entrepreneurship, and Deloitte, the largest professional services firm in the world.

MTA Holdings, an investment company, is a founder of the initiative. The partner organizations will provide their expertise and know-how to help ensure that the Hub offers the necessary resources to help SMEs and start-ups succeed.

The SME Authority will launch its first entrepreneurial Hub as a pilot project in King Abdullah Economic City in partnership with Emaar Economic City, Economic Cities Authority and Mohammed Bin Salman College. The hub will actively encourage Saudi and international entrepreneurs & SME owners to locate their new ventures in HUB1006 by providing a creative ecosystem that offers a range of physical and digital solutions necessary to stimulate growth, remove bureaucratic barriers associated with growing a business in Saudi Arabia, drive innovation and overcome obstacles associated with starting a new business.

Designed to be a launch pad for SMEs and start-ups in the Middle East, HUB1006 will serve as the physical and virtual exchange between Saudi Arabia and the world, creating an environment that facilitates access to professional and legal services, affordable office space, venture capital, learning and development, as well as government services.

The SME Authority has plans to grow the Hub by establishing additional network offices in other parts of the Kingdom, such as Riyadh and Jeddah, with an ultimate goal to expand its reach and scalability across the whole of the Middle East.

Currently, there are approximately two million SMEs in Saudi Arabia, which contribute 20% to the Kingdom’s GDP; the introduction of HUB1006 will help increase this to 35% by 2030, in line with Vision 2030 and NTP goals. SMEs and start-ups in Saudi Arabia face slow and complex legal and administrative procedures and struggle to attract the necessary skills, capabilities and funding. This is a common problem facing many emerging countries.

As part of the Vision 2030, the SME Authority’s task is to remove such obstacles by facilitating access to funding and enabling youth and entrepreneurs to grow and market their ideas and products.

Dr Ghassan Al Sulaiman, governor of the SME Authority, said: “We are launching HUB1006 to facilitate the growth of the entrepreneurship sector and to drive innovation across a wide range of industries. The new operating platform will adopt an inclusive approach, bringing together men and women from across the Kingdom and other parts of the world to grow the collective value proposition of the entrepreneurial community. By establishing HUB1006 the government will boost employment, especially amongst the younger Saudi population, and create a more sustainable economic model that allows all citizens to thrive.”

Travis Sheridan, president of CIC Venture Cafe Global Institute, said: “Every large, multi-national company was once a start-up. More importantly, innovators are the ones who will continue to improve the world. We look forward to seeing the next generation of world-changing companies scaling within the Kingdom. The mission of Venture Cafe is to connect innovators to make things happen. As we build out a global network of innovation communities, we are pleased to establish a strategic relationship with MTA Holdings.”

John Kerr, vice-chairman, Global Consulting at Deloitte, added: “There is global excitement about Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, and as the largest professional services firm in the world, we are deeply committed to bringing our best in class capabilities to this initiative.  Leveraging the digital platform to enable SMEs in the Kingdom could be a game changer and we are delighted to be a part of this with the SME Authority and MTA Holdings.”

Rajeev Lalwani, Middle East leader Deloitte Digital, said: “In what is perhaps a unique example of public-private partnership in the digital space, we are co-creating a platform in Saudi Arabia to enable SMEs transition from an analogue to digital economy.” – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Saudi Arabia | SME | Start-ups | Deloitte |

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