Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can create between three and four million jobs for Saudis, provided they have access to finance and face less government bureaucracy, said Tariq Abu Ouf, assistant professor of Entrepreneurship at Jeddah’s University of Business and Technology.
He said that SMEs around the world create more jobs than major multinationals.
Abu Ouf said the Kingdom has 980,000 registered commercial establishments and companies, with a total of 70 percent, or about 630,000 establishments, categorized as SMEs. If each of these companies employs five Saudis, then three to four million jobs will be created, representing about 60 percent of the Saudi work force.
“We cannot ignore the significant role SMEs play in terms of creating jobs for young Saudis. However, for them to provide jobs they have to take their time and have to be motivated."
He said SMEs face many obstacles including lack of access to finance, training for entrepreneurs and "long government procedures."
He said 80 percent of more than 600 male and female entrepreneurs involved in a survey conducted by his university said they could not complete their projects because of government bureaucracy.