Arab News, Tuesday, Aug 30, 2022 | Safar 3, 1444
Monsha’at offered over 200 training programs to Saudi entrepreneurs as Kingdom bets on SMEs
Saudi Arabia: The Small and Medium
Enterprises General Authority, or Monsha’at, has been offering training programs
to entrepreneurs to enhance the sector’s contribution to the gross domestic
Monsha’at established an online academy in 2020 to
support aspiring entrepreneurs and business owners by improving their ability to
access markets, manage established enterprises and explore options to grow their
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 resource, franchise, e-commerce and retail business.
“The circumstances of COVID-19 in the lockdown
accelerated the need to have such a platform. So we started as a learning
management system, where we get all of our training services in one place,” said
Abdulrahman Alotaibi, director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at
Alotaibi explained in an interview with Arab News
that businesses at the time needed support to survive during the pandemic
“We have a group of experts coming into research
and identifying the course’s objectives. Then we start to develop the
educational content. We do the research; we rely on good references,” he added.
According to Alotaibi, startups face challenges in
accessing finance and generating customers.
“Some challenges are related to human resources
and finding the right team, and some have difficulties when it comes to managing
the operation. I believe the main challenges are accessing finance and reaching
out to customers,” he added.
Saif Alshammari is one of the thousands of
beneficiaries of this academy. He enrolled with around 20 other participants
earlier this year in courses involving contract formulations, project budgeting
“The program developed the capability of
entrepreneurs. It elaborated the concept of financial management, which is the
heart of any business. We were taught about the types of commercial 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 managing my company, but
Monsha’at gave me a theoretical aspect of management and added a new wave of
operation,” he said.
Monsha’at enabled him to register his
establishment as a vendor for a leading company in the sector called Thabat.
“Other participants and I were brought up on an
open discussion with Thabat, and eventually we got approved vendors, and
hopefully we will be rewarded with some projects soon,” Alshammari said.
Increasing roles for women
According to Monsha’at’s 2022 quarterly report,
the Kingdom’s private sector has been a major beneficiary of the influx of
dynamic female workers, with many female entrepreneurs grabbing new
opportunities in the accommodation and food, wholesale and retail, and health
and professional support service industries.
Monsha’at works to develop policies and programs
that empower women entrepreneurs across different industries.
A group of female college entrepreneurs spoke to
Arab News about their experience with Monsha’at regarding their next project.
Moodhy Aljouali and her colleagues are currently
launching a grammar and spelling error detection and correction system for the
Arabic language named Mubeen.
“It uses artificial intelligence techniques such
as deep learning and natural language processing for editing and correcting any
mistakes in the text. It will produce high quality and error-free text,” Moodhy,
co-founder of Mubeen, told Arab News.
Majoring in artificial intelligence, Moodhy is in
her final semester at the Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University in Riyadh.
“We are working on improving what we have, and
then create the website and publish it in two months,” she said.
Moodhy and four of her colleagues were part of a
program run by Monsha’at called the University Entrepreneurship Camps, a
competition where the participants get to pitch their projects.
According to Moodhy, their project was awarded the
first prize, and Monsha’at offered them a workspace and a consultation from
“We are planning to have courses in business from
Monsha’at since all the team members only have technology backgrounds,” she
Kingdom’s vision for SMEs
Established in 2016 under the Vision 2030
blueprint, Monsha’at’s objective is to create an inspiring environment for SMEs
to grow, unlock their potential and create a supportive entrepreneurial
Its SME Monitor follows an ecosystem that observes
the ongoing progress of the Kingdom’s SME sector, issuing 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,” said the Vision 2030 document.
The Saudi vision is to create suitable job
opportunities for its citizens by supporting SME entrepreneurship, privatization
and investments in new industries.
SMEs will play a significant role in achieving
Saudi Arabia’s objectives of lowering the unemployment rate from 11.6 percent to
7 percent, increasing women’s participation in the workforce from 22 percent to
30 percent and expanding SME contribution to 35 percent of the GDP by 2030.