There are 1.8 million small and medium businesses in the Kingdom yet only 71% of which are actually operating. About 48 percent of these businesses are working in trading, 11% in manufacturing and 10% in services said a specialist, while adding that 25 percent of small businesses in the Kingdom are concentrated in Riyadh region, followed by 24% operating in Makkah region.
According to Osama Al-Bar, Chairman of Kafala program, starting in 2006 and all the way to 2013, their program has provided 5,253 guarantees.
The participation of banks in their program has increase from 2011 to 2012 by 38% with a total bank financing of SR1768 millions. Kafala he said can finance up to 80 percent of a project with an amount that shall not exceed 1.6 million.
Rania Salama, head of the young businesswomen committee at the JCCI, said that they have worked on examining the small businesses run by women. She said they have came to the conclusion that young women starting up their own businesses are lacking general personal skills that can help them convince others to finance their projects, especially banks.
Based on their report, she told Saudi Gazette, they realized that girls who graduate from public schools and universities are not equipped to work in a competitive environment, cannot work in groups, lack self-confidence and dealing with risks and challenges. The absence of these characteristics she said along with weakness of projects make banks uncertain about providing loans to young Saudi businesses.
She added that they provide training and financing to the young businesswomen as well as an assessment of their project for one year. However, she believes that more training should be provided to young women and also some guides should be provided to banks.
Young women, she said are ready to quit their jobs the moment their husbands or families shift from one city to another. Therefore, she said, convincing women to have partnerships among each other is necessary so the businesses will not collapse.
Abdullah Al-Ghahtani, Sales Manager of the government- run Human Resource Development Fund, said that their participation at the exhibition was to introduce to the public their role in supporting small businesses through providing staff and training them as well as providing government support that can reach SR3,000 for employing each Saudi.
Saleh Al-Turki, a pioneer businessmen said, "We need leaders and entrepreneurs to increase the income of individuals."
The Saudi Gazette