New trading licenses launched at Misk Global Forum 2017
Saudi Arabia is encouraging the world’s entrepreneurs and budding inventors to start up in the Kingdom, with the introduction of new entrepreneurship licenses aimed at encouraging growth in the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sector.
The new licenses, which will allow overseas entrepreneurs to establish a business in Saudi Arabia for the first time, were announced by Monsha’at, Saudi Arabia’s SME authority, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA), King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) and the Economic Cities Authority (ECA).
Dr Ghassan Ahmed Al Sulaiman, Governor of Monsha’at, said:
“The new licensing initiative is designed to help build up the private sector, particularly SMEs, and move away from an over-reliance on oil revenues. This initiative, inspired by Vision 2030, will help Saudi Arabia attract the best minds in the world, transferring knowledge, expanding the economy, increasing the contribution of small and medium sized companies to GDP and creating jobs for Saudis.”
The new regulations enable entrepreneurs to establish a business in KAEC, the new city developed as a socio-economic enabler for Saudi Arabia. KAEC is strategically located on the Red Sea coast less than an hour north of Jeddah. Its combination of world-class infrastructure, a pro-business single regulator, and state of the art facilities is expected to be especially attractive to domestic and international innovators.
Licensees will benefit from KAEC’s many supporting services, including a simplified, facilitated process for starting and operating a business, fee exemptions, discounts and incentives to stimulate business growth. Businesses will also enjoy the advantages of participating in the Middle East’s biggest and most robust economy as well as KAEC’s regional trade and logistics links.
Preference will be given to applicants holding patents, providing innovative services, representing a business activity new to Saudi Arabia, and who support one of the Kingdom’s strategic sectors.
The new license category has been introduced in the context of Saudi Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy, increase the role of the private sector and SMEs, and create job opportunities for young Saudis. Knowledge industries represent a particularly high-growth sector: Saudi Arabia’s young and educated population has one of the world’s highest digital adoption rates, and the knowledge sector is characterized by small and medium, innovative companies.
Al Sulaiman added:
“Saudi Arabia offers extraordinary opportunities for foreign innovators and investors. This is an incredibly dynamic market with a young, entrepreneurially inclined population and significant latent demand in high-growth industries. We know we have the talent – our job now is to match-make and help provide the opportunities.”
The new entrepreneur licenses were announced and were immediately available at the Misk Global Forum 2017, ‘Meeting the Challenge of Change’ held in Riyadh this week. The Misk Global Forum is the flagship event of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit philanthropic foundation established by HRH Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman to develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the knowledge economy.
The aim of Monsha’at, the Saudi Arabia SME Authority, is to make small and medium sized enterprises a key driver of the country’s economic development in achieving Saudi Vision 2030 and beyond. Its mission is to develop, enable and advocate for SMEs so they can thrive, in collaboration with strategic partners in the public, private and non-profit sectors.