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

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

Monsha’at established 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 offered more than 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 business.

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

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Abdulrahman Alotaibi, Director of SME Training for Capacity Development in 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 come to investigate and identify the objectives of the course. Then we started developing the educational content. We do the research; we have good references,” she added.

According to Alotaibi, startups face challenges in accessing financing and generating clients.

“Some challenges are related to human resources and finding the right team, and some struggle when it comes to managing the operation. I think the main challenges are accessing finance and reaching customers,” she added.

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

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Saif Alshammari, Founder and General Manager of RAK Construction

“The program developed the capacity of entrepreneurs. He elaborated the concept of financial management, which is the heart of any business. They taught us about the types of business contracts, the differences between them and which one 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 managing my company, 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 supplier to a leading company in the sector called Thabat.

“Me and other participants had an open conversation with Thabat and eventually we got vendors approved and hopefully we will be rewarded with some projects soon,” Alshammari said.

Increasing roles for women

According to the 2022 Monsha’at 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 hospitality and food service, wholesale and retail industries, and professional and health support services. .

Monsha’at works to develop policies and programs that empower women entrepreneurs in different industries.

A group of college businesswomen 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.

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Moodhy Aljouali, co-founder of Mubeen

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

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

“We are working to improve what we have and then create the website and publish it in two months,” he said.

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

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

“We are planning to have Monsha’at business courses as all team members only have technology backgrounds,” he added.

Kingdom’s vision for SMEs

Established in 2016 under the Vision 2030 plan, Monsha’at’s goal is to create an inspiring environment for SMEs to grow, unleash their potential and create a supportive business community.

Its SME Monitor follows an ecosystem that looks at the continued progress of the Kingdom’s SME sector, issuing new statistics and case studies to back up its observations.

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

The Saudi vision is to create adequate job opportunities for its citizens by supporting SME entrepreneurship, privatization and investments 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 the participation of women in the labor force from 22% to 30%, and expanding the contribution of SMEs to 35% of GDP by 2030.

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