Saturday, 13 April 2024

Monsha’at Reports 3.1% Quarterly Increase in SMEs

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The General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at) has released its latest quarterly SME Monitor, which showed a 3.1% growth in the number of SMEs in the Kingdom in Q4, bringing their total number to 1.3 million. The report revealed that 43.7% of SMEs were in the capital of Riyadh, totalling over 570,000.

Highlighting trends across the broader Saudi economy, the SME Monitor also contained sections on Riyadh Expo 2030, the country’s dynamic young gaming and Esports sector, and a special chapter on SME growth in Riyadh and Diriyah, a PIF-owned masterplan to transform the UNESCO World Heritage site outside Riyadh into a global hub for culture, heritage, and tourism.

Group CEO of Diriyah Gate Development Authority Jerry Inzerillo said in the report: “The Kingdom’s bold policymaking and visionary leadership have enabled it to transform its economy, empower society, and diversify away from oil at an unprecedented scale. This remarkable transformation is reinvesting the country’s bountiful resources into smart initiatives, historic giga-projects, and people-centric policies that are helping to boost employment, open new sectors, and empower individuals.”

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The report indicated that the Kingdom’s broader economic dynamism has helped the country secure its first World Expo. This will be hosted in 2030, the same year that many of Vision 2030’s targets are scheduled to come to fruition, $7.8 billion has been allocated for Riyadh Expo 2030, which is expected to attract 40 million visitors to a 6-million square meter exhibition site north of the capital.

The report’s chapter on gaming and Esports shed light on one of the fastest-growing sectors in Saudi Arabia. With over 23.5 million gaming enthusiasts in the Kingdom, the demographics are ripe to develop an indigenous game publishing ecosystem. In the coming years, according to the report, the industry is expected to create more than 30,000 jobs and contribute an additional $13+ billion to GDP by 2030.

Poised at the centre of the Kingdom’s economic transformation, Riyadh fostered significant growth in the SME sector in Q4, the report showed in a chapter devoted to Riyadh and Diriyah. With over three million people employed in the capital’s SME ecosystem, Riyadh now accounts for an ever-growing share of GDP mainly driven by growing female labour force participation, the report said.

According to the report, the capital has also benefitted from the relocation of more than 500 multinationals to Riyadh since the implementation of the Regional Headquarters Program (RHP), an incentive program that went into effect on January 1, 2024.

In Diriyah, where historic investments complement the UNESCO World Heritage site of At-Turaif, new events and venues such as JAX District, Diriyah Season, and Diriyah Biennale are turning the historic site into a leading cultural hub. The SME Monitor showed that the Diriyah Season alone is expected to generate 178,000 local jobs catering to over a million visitors.

In addition to interviews with innovative SMEs in Diriyah’s fashion and culinary spaces, the report also highlighted key Monsha’at initiatives, such as the Diriyah Entrepreneurship Initiative (DEI), to empower local entrepreneurs. Divided between entrepreneurial sessions and a 12-week accelerator program, DEI has employed key Monsha’at services such as Nawafth and Mazaya to upskill over 150 entrepreneurs and nearly 20 companies, according to the report.

As a result of these and other initiatives, added the report, the private sector continued to propel the Saudi economy in Q4 2023. As the latest SME Monitor highlighted in detail, this growth shows the strength and resilience of Saudi Arabia’s booming private sector, which now employs more than 11 million people working to diversify the Kingdom’s $1 trillion+ economy.

The full report is available at https://www.monshaat.gov.sa/sites/default/files/2024-02/SME%20Monitor%20-%20Q4%202023%20EN_0.pdf

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