Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

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US envoy honors Arabia500 winners

US Ambassador to the Kingdom James B. Smith receives a copy of Arabia500 winners magazine from Anne Habiby, co-CEO and co-founder of Allword Network and the Arabia500 winners.

                                                                                                 By ABDUL HANNAN TAGO | ARAB NEWS

Published: Feb  19, 2012 23:50                Updated: Feb  19, 2012 23:50

RIYADH: Building stability in the region is the common goal of both the United States and Saudi Arabia and this is being pursued with a long term common interest policy of creating jobs, US Ambassador to the Kingdom James B. Smith said recently. He said the Saudi entrepreneurs are complementing the government efforts in job creation.

He observed that Arabia500 has created 25,000 jobs already in the last five years. These entrepreneurial ventures, small or medium, are part of stability.

The envoy made his comment during a high-profile occasion he hosted at his residence to honor the Saudi winners of AllWorld’s Arabia Fast Growth 500 (Arabia500). The Arabia500 is a ranking of some of the fastest growing entrepreneurial companies from the Middle East, North Africa, Turkey and Pakistan. 41 Saudi companies made the Arabia 500, marking a 41 percent increase.

“We came together today because of what we share together to live in dignity, give education and to live healthy and in peace so that our children would have a better future,” he said. “If you need stability you need to create jobs.”

Addressing the winners, Smith said: “You are not only leaders in business but you are also leaders in stability in the region. Saudi Arabia is responsive to the needs of its people and heading toward a more transparent attitude. If you need job creation, you have to focus on entrepreneurial companies, small or medium,” he reaffirmed.

The Ambassador said that in his role he was deeply committed to their relationship, both in terms of people to people and also in terms of relations with the business community. “So I say part of my job is to make those connections, and one of the most important issues for both governments is to build long term stability in the region. And that would be possible with stable economy and jobs creation.”

He said the United States is proud to be a leading partner in Saudi Arabia’s economic growth and reform efforts. The US and Saudi Arabia enjoy a broad, deep and robust bilateral relationship, with cooperation spanning many of the economic and security issues confronting the Middle East and the world.

The Kingdom is currently the US’ 12th largest trading partner with $55 billion in total (two-way) goods trade in 2011. That year US exports to Saudi Arabia totaled $13 billion; US imports from Saudi Arabia stood at $42 billion.

Companies for a position based on their sales growth rates must show audited statements to confirm their revenues. Four hundred winners from 15 countries attended the Arabia500 announcement on Dec. 5 at the Global Summit on Entrepreneurship in Istanbul.

Joining the Ambassador in celebrating the Saudi winners is Anne Habiby, co-CEO and co-founder of Allword Network and key partners including Arcapita, Eastgate Capital, Monitor Group, Potential, RED Abraaj Capital, Zawya and well-known investor Ghassan Sulaiman of Saudi Arabia.

“I salute these entrepreneurs for their enthusiasm and sheer determination to connect our world together through growth and success for all,” said Smith.

The Arabia500 is not a ranking of the largest players on the stock exchange, but the new dynamic players emerging on the scene and the Saudi winners are some of the best we have seen,” said Habiby. “While most companies were hit hard by the global downturn, the Saudi businesses were defying economic gravity, growing 41 percent a year. These companies build new economic capacity, fill gaps in the market, and generate inward investment and productive local employment.”

AllWorld was co-founded by Deirdre Coyle, Anne Habiby and Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, AllWorld systematically identifies private growth companies and ranks the fastest growing for the Arabia500, Africa500, Asia 500, Eurasia 500, and Latin America 500.


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