As mentioned before, three strategic objectives to develop SMEs and entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. First, nurture and support the innovation and entrepreneurship culture by providing all kind of support to young generation. The main target here is increase the number of SMEs number in Saudi from 50,000 to 104,000, where the global standard is 347,015. Second, grow SME contribution to the economy by providing and enhancing the support of SMEs and entrepreneurship. The main targets here are: 1) increase SMEs contribution to non-oil national production from 30% to 60%; 2) increase SMEs contribution to GDP from 20% to 36%, where the global standard is 51%; and 3) decrease SMEs failure rate during the first three years, where the global standard is 82.5%, yet there are no available statistics. Third, increase SMEs contribution in generating more job opportunities through providing all necessary institutional support in the private and government sector to support entrepreneurs and develop the workforce as well. The main target here is to increase the workforce in SMEs from 51% to 53%.
To enhance entrepreneurship ecosystem in Saudi Arabia different supportive institutions were built in the government and privet sectors to support entrepreneurship and SMEs. These institutions include business incubator, business speeding, investors, financing programs, and joint work. The support from these institutions varies. Some of these institutions provide business incubators program such as Wa’ed and 9/10ths; and others provide business speeding programs such as Wadi Makkah. Other institutions provide investment opportunities in techno sector such as STC program; or financing programs such as banks. Finally, other institutions provide a support to entrepreneurs through joint work programs, namely supporting talented students, organising networking and meeting events for business cooperation and support from other investors and entrepreneurs. Table (4-9) summaries different institutional support in Saudi Arabia that are available in government and private sector.
As mentioned before, Small and Medium Enterprises Authority (SMEA) was established recently in 2016 to review laws and regulations thoroughly, remove obstacles, facilitate access to funding, and enable youth and entrepreneurs to market their ideas and products. This authority has organised different events since it was established. As an example, it organised different forums and meetings:
1. Economic Forum in Riyadh and Jeddah;
2. Arab Net Riyadh Forum;
3. Family Business Forum;
4. National forum for creative industries;
5. Fast Forward Investor Day 2017;
6. Investment opportunities Forum in Qatif Governorate;
7. Launch your Business Meeting;
8. Saudi Start-ups Meeting;
9. SMEs Meeting;
10. Opportunity Meeting;
11. Innovation Award and Exhibition; and
12. Islamic Entrepreneurship Competition for women.