The Evolution of the Entrepreneurship Ecosystem in Saudi Arabia

Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia has evolved over the years, and with the introduction of Vision 2030 the government has taken many steps to improve the market for foreign investors and open doors for startups and SMEs in the Kingdom. As the value of entrepreneurship is realized and the benefits it provides to the economy and society, the government has initiated actions to boost the entrepreneurship ecosystem

Creating the right ecosystem for entrepreneurs to thrive in the Kingdom has been a key objective for the government. This means creating enabling policies, providing appropriate opportunities for funding, creating a positive culture, support mechanisms and a venture-friendly market. This requires support from other stakeholders such as corporations, risk capitals, universities, and other entrepreneurs, who help enable the growth of startups and SMEs in the Kingdom.

The government’s commitment to entrepreneurship has been further displayed through the fueling of the entrepreneurship and SME sector. They have introduced initiatives and funding boosts to assist new entrepreneurs entering the market. This includes a SAR 72 billion (US $19.2 billion) stimulus package to boost the private sector with a large focus on different programs and initiatives supporting SMEs, such as government fee reimbursements, a government VC fund, indirect financing to SMEs and export financing.

Continuing, the government launched the Meras program which provides all the public and private sector services required by an entrepreneur to set up a business in a day. Then, the General Authority for SMEs, also known as Monsha’at, was established which pledges to remove the barriers to entry, access to funding, supporting SMEs with marketing and exporting products and services.

These positive changes to improve the entrepreneurship ecosystem and create ease for those looking to enter the market has grown the Saudi Arabia entrepreneurship ecosystem rapidly. The government is now focusing their efforts on increasing innovative and technologically advanced startups in the Kingdom to put Saudi ahead in the region.