Entrepreneurship in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Home » Posts tagged 'high-growth SME'

Tag Archives: high-growth SME

Saudi SMEs ‘have key role in GE supply chain’




Published — Tuesday 1 October 2013

Last update 1 October 2013 1:13 am

Underlining the significant role that local enterprises play in contributing to a robust supply chain, Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center (Wa’ed) and GE organized a Saudi Supplier Conference to strengthen the participation of local entities in the Kingdom’s manufacturing and service sectors, and to create jobs for skilled and enterprising Saudi youth.

With local suppliers to benefit from Wa’ed’s support program, the conference follows an agreement between Saudi Aramco’s Wa’ed and GE last year to support Saudi small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and engage them in the domestic manufacturing and service sector.
At the conference, GE showcased the requirements of its diverse business portfolio in the Kingdom, particularly in power and water, oil and gas, and energy management, which can be supported by domestic manufacturers, and the role that its initiatives, including the GE Manufacturing Technology Center in Dammam, plays in promoting localized manufacturing and boosting exports. The company also highlighted the role that Saudi SMEs can play in boosting GE’s global supply chain through a focus on localized innovation.
Inaugurating the Saudi Supplier Conference, Motassim Masshouq, chairman of Wa’ed, said: “The Saudi economy is one of the most booming economies in the world that offers great business opportunities in vital sectors such as manufacturing. This creates the need to establish a strong and diversified supplier base, which is an opportunity for local companies to develop the necessary capabilities that enables them to become important parts of this supplier base.” He spoke about the strategic partnership between Wa’ed and GE that focuses on the support of SMEs, and underlined that the conference is one of the positive outcomes of the partnership. He welcomed and introduced GE’s Chairman and CEO, Jeffery Immelt.
Immelt and Wa’ed’s Managing Director Jamal Naboulsi addressed a gathering of more than 200 SMEs from the Kingdom, representing diverse economic sectors, including manufacturing, energy, power, aviation, transport and health care, among others.
Naboulsi said: “The mission of Wa’ed is to support the Kingdom’s effort to transform into a knowledge-based economy, and to significantly contribute to the creation of quality and sustainable jobs for Saudi nationals.
This mission is accomplished through four comprehensive and unique programs. The first involves supporting the creation or expansion of SMEs through loans, the second involves supporting through venture capital investment, the third program provides specific support to SMEs active in the energy sector and the fourth one focuses on enhancing the entrepreneurship eco-system through collaboration with other relevant entities in the Kingdom.” He emphasized the importance of the strategic partnership with GE that involves several programs and activities aimed to support SMEs, stating that the conference is an outcome of the relationship.
Immelt, in his keynote address, stressed the importance of localization. “Everything we produce — from aircraft engines to health care equipment, locomotives, aircraft engines and water treatment solutions — are the results of elaborate, carefully integrated networks of suppliers and sub-suppliers. Our suppliers are therefore our integral partners and we devote our resources to strengthening the value chain consistently. This is particularly relevant for Saudi Arabia, where we have a strong heritage.”
He added: “Through our partnership with Wa’ed, we are driving a result-oriented development strategy that will encourage the youth to be involved in the manufacturing and service sector. It is also a natural fit to our growth in the Kingdom, where we are currently rolling out a $1 billion investment, including the GE Manufacturing Technology Center. GE’s businesses are integrally linked to the Saudi economy with each business requiring raw materials that can be procured locally. Our focus on working with local partners will further contribute to boosting the economy by creating new jobs and promoting new enterprises, which can potentially be part of our global supply chain.”
Since supplying Saudi Arabia with turbo-machinery for its first oil expedition in 1942, GE has been a growth technology partner to the Kingdom and has over 80 years of long-term partnerships in the Kingdom.
Local manufacturing units stand to benefit from multimillion business deals by providing timely supplies to organizations such as GE, particularly for its GE Manufacturing Technology Center. There is tremendous potential for local supplies in areas such as steel structures, fixtures, turbine casings, tanks, wind generator frames, exhaust stacks, flex hoses, valves, air coolers, control cabinets, cabling power distribution panels, medium voltage switchgear, for fabrication works, piping, fluid systems and electrical work, among others.
Several projects in the power, infrastructure, industrial and metal sectors, water and waste water, oil and gas and petrochemicals/refining sectors are ongoing in the Kingdom, presenting a robust opportunity for local suppliers to benefit by providing different components needed for seamless project execution.
GE’s business experts presented detailed overviews of the business strategy, outlook and key expectations from the suppliers, emphasizing on the standards in quality expected and the supplier approval process. Wa’ed experts discussed the role that the entity plays in supporting the growth of suppliers through its finance schemes. The discussion also covered nuclear energy certification guidelines and requirements, and the role that local suppliers can play by providing nuclear-certified products.
The conference highlighted the growing role that the private sector and SMEs play today in boosting the growth of the Saudi economy. Their growth is also in line with the vision of the Kingdom to diversify the economy and promote exports. A study by the International Finance Corporation estimates that there are over 1.8 million SME and micro enterprises in the Kingdom.
The event, organized by GE and Wa’ed, followed the strategic partnership agreement signed by the two companies to serve as a major partner and incubator of new businesses, especially in the small and medium enterprises sector, in the Kingdom. GE will also partner with the SMEs, nurtured by Wa’ed, to develop their competencies as potential suppliers of the company in the energy sector.
As part of its program, Wa’ed provides entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia with debt financing, and provides local and foreign SMEs with financing in the form of loans and equity participation. In addition, Wa’ed provides training, networking and other support services.


جنرال إلكتريك تعقد سلسلة محاضرات تثقيفية في جامعة الملك فهد لتشجيع ثقافة الابتكار

Screen Shot 2013-09-28 at 12.49.25 PM

جانب من الفعاليات

الرياض – الرياض

    أكدت شركة “جنرال إلكتريك”، المسجلة في بورصة نيويورك بالرمز (GE)، التزامها بتعزيز بناء القدرات البشرية ونقل المهارات في المملكة العربية السعودية من خلال تنظيمها فعالية “يوم جنرال إلكتريك” في “جامعة الملك فهد للبترول والمعادن” يوم الأحد الماضي. وركزت هذه الفعالية على تنمية القدرات القيادية للطلاب والأكاديميين، وتشجيع ثقافة الابتكار والبحث عبر سلسلة من المحاضرات التي ألقاها عدد من قادة “جنرال إلكتريك” في برامج التمويل، والقيادة، والمبيعات والتسويق، والهندسة، وبرامج الجودة ومنهجية الإدارة “6 سيجما”، فضلاً عن “برامج جنرال إلكتريك للقيادة”.

وبهذه المناسبة، قال المهندس هشام البهكلي، الرئيس والمدير التنفيذي لشركة “جنرال إلكتريك” في المملكة العربية السعودية والبحرين: “أود الإعراب عن شكرنا العميق ل جامعة الملك فهد للبترول والمعادن على استضافة ودعم فعالية يوم جنرال إلكتريك التي حظيت بردود أفعال طيبة من جانب الطلاب والأكاديميين، وسهلت عملية التفاعل مع مجتمع الطلاب ذوي الكفاءة في الجامعة. وتمحورت أهداف هذه الفعالية حول تعزيز الروابط مع مجتمع الطلبة، وتبادل المعلومات والخبرات الجديدة المتعلقة بخيارات العمل المختلفة في جنرال إلكتريك، وإتاحة الفرصة أمامهم للعمل في واحدة من أبرز الشركات الرائدة في المملكة العربية السعودية والعالم”.

وترتكز “جنرال إلكتريك” في نموذج عملها على مبدأ تكافؤ الفرص، وقد تم تصنيفها كواحدة من الشركات ال 25 الأكثر ابتكاراً في العالم من قبل مجلة “بزنس ويك”، وإحدى الشركات ال50 الأكثر إبداعاً في العالم من قبل مجلة “فاست كومباني”. وانطلاقاً من اعتبارها واحدة من أفضل جهات التوظيف في منطقة الشرق الأوسط، تؤكد “جنرال إلكتريك” التزامها بسياسة التوطين عبر إقامة برامج تدريب مكثفة لتطوير الكفاءات المهنية لموظفيها السعوديين.

واستعرض البهكلي أمام المشاركين في “يوم جنرال إلكتريك” لمحة موجزة عن أعمال الشركة في المملكة العربية السعودية، وسلط الضوء على إرث الشركة في المملكة على مدى نحو 80 عاماً، فضلاً عن شراكاتها الواسعة في قطاعات الطاقة، والنفط والغاز، والطيران، والرعاية الصحية؛ وأعقب ذلك عرض تقديمي حول القيادة للدكتور عزيز محمد، المدير العام لوحدة خدمات توليد الطاقة في شركة “جنرال إلكتريك للطاقة والمياه في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وإفريقيا”.

وتضمنت فعالية “يوم جنرال إلكتريك” عدداً آخر من المناقشات ومنها: ندوة بحثية عن المهندسين الميدانيين (ديفيد تالماج، مدير خدمات خط الإنتاج في شركة “جنرال إلكتريك للطاقة والمياه في الشرق الأوسط وإفريقيا”)؛ وندوة عن منهجية الإدارة “6 سيجما” (طاهر أبوجودة، الحائز على شهادة الحزام الأسود في 6 سيجما – شركة “جنرال إلكتريك للطاقة والمياه في الشرق الأوسط وإفريقيا”)؛ وندوة عن المبيعات والتسويق (رأفت سندي، المدير التنفيذي للمبيعات في وحدة الآليات التوربينية في شركة “جنرال إلكتريك للنفط والغاز” في المملكة العربية السعودية وشمال الخليج العربي)؛ وبرامج القيادة في “جنرال إلكتريك” (جو شالوحي، مدير وحدة التنمية المؤسسية والكفاءات في “جنرال إلكتريك للعمليات الدولية” بمنطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا وتركيا)؛ وعالم المال (خزيمة شيبشاندلر، المدير المالي في “جنرال إلكتريك للعمليات الدولية” بمنطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال إفريقيا وتركيا). واختتمت الدورة فعالياتها بتكريم عدد من الطلاب.

وكانت “جنرال إلكتريك” قد قامت مؤخراً بتأسيس أكاديميّة تقنيّة بالتعاون مع “المؤسسة العامة للتدريب التقني والمهني” بهدف تنمية المواهب السعودية الشابة. كما تتبنى الشركة خطة سعودة مدعومة ببرامج تدريب شاملة للشباب السعودي. ويعتبر الالتزام الراسخ بتمكين القوة العاملة الوطنية من الجوانب المحوريّة لنهج “جنرال إلكتريك” في المملكة، ويتضمن ذلك التركيز على برامج تدريب الخبراء والمتخصصين ولاسيما بعد تدريب ما يزيد على 3 آلاف مختص في قطاعات الرعاية الصحيّة والطاقة والطيران، إضافةً إلى العمل على تعزيز سبل نقل المعرفة، والارتقاء بإمكانات البحوث والتطوير والابتكار.


The ability to power a dream

Every time we miss financing an idea it means a loss of potential growth for the economy or maybe a loss of a ‘Microsoft-like’ revolution

By Khalid M. Alkhazraji, Special to Gulf News
Published: 00:00 October 17, 2012

Microsoft maybe a software giant today, but it started from a small great idea by innovative entrepreneurship. Microsoft would not have become a multinational corporation if it was not funded by different sources of investment that were available to fund ideas and start-ups. Had Bill Gates not been able to secure the finances required, the brilliant ideas of Microsoft might have disappeared from our civilisation and the technology revolution that was empowered by Microsoft might never have happened. This could be the case with the GCC as well, where many young entrepreneurs hold brilliant ideas, but are short of funds. As time passes, these ideas go down the drain. Financing ideas? It is something new for the GCC market. Banks and investors want to finance something that they can see, touch and feel. They call it something concrete. Yes, indeed, they are ready to finance concrete.

Most of the prominent businesses which have flourished in the GCC from meagre beginnings have done so with traditional funding sources such as family money, supported by some sort of government subsidies, foreign capital which comes from foreign investors or from capital invested from outside GCC. There are limited modern sources of funding for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Most of the funds come from commercial banks in the form of loans with high interest rates and very few funds come from governments in the form of long-term and low interest rate loans. In the GCC, the concepts of venture capital and private equity as sources of funding are still new. Many traditional Arabic investors are not comfortable with the blind pool model of investing. Additionally, many family-owned businesses do not want to accept management intrusion, which would be placed upon them by accepting a private equity or venture capital investment. When a private equity firm takes a controlling stake, it is common to replace management that is not managing optimally. Thus, it can be imagined that it would not go over well if a private equity firm invested in a local/family business and wanted to replace the CEO who was the son of the father who started the business.

The limited availability of international investors to invest in local companies depends on the extent to which these companies line up with the interests of international investors. It is difficult to find multinational corporations that cut deals with small firms like the deals that were made in 2009 between Yahoo!, a US firm, and Maktoob.com, a Jordanian content portal. Yahoo! found its interest in this start-up firm that was innovative and growing.

The majority of funding is provided by commercial banks in the form of loans with a great deal of red tape that business owners have to cut through. Banks do not deal with small firms as strategic partners, but as borrowers. Thus, banks do not care about their situation and circumstances as long as they are paying their dues. If the borrower defaults, the banks are ready to end the relationship.

Article continues below

The GCC governments have created supporting institutions to help entrepreneurs and SMEs grow. Government initiatives such as Small and Medium Enterprises Authority in Saudi Arabia, Khalifa Funds in Abu Dhabi, Mohammad Bin Rashid Establishment for SMEs Development in Dubai, the Sanad programme in Oman have excellent missions to train and develop entrepreneurs and finance start-up. Since the services which these initiatives provide are still limited to a small number of start-ups, it is difficult to judge the role and effectiveness of these initiatives. Even if effective, these organisations do not possess the capital required to provide the financial assistance necessary for the number of small businesses in the region. Let alone the capital required for larger growth fuelled by innovation.

The entrepreneurs and SMEs owners must provide a credible case for their cause to acquire resources and funding. Entrepreneurs and SMEs owners must gain legitimacy to fit in the existing business culture. To fit in, they must be up to the expectation of the fund providers. First, on personal bases, they must show dedication towards their idea, gain trust from the stakeholders and demonstrate management and leadership qualities. Second, their business idea or venture must be feasible or innovative and must be presented in a convincing manner.

Although entrepreneurs and SMEs owners in the GCC have a lot of enthusiasm and dedication towards their causes, they typically require professional development as well as time to mature their business ideas and plans. The funding sources need to understand that the world is moving from material-based economy to idea-based economy. Failing to support this movement, means that they may be digging their own grave. Until both sides realise their potential, let me assert that every time we miss financing an idea it means a loss of potential growth for the economy or maybe a loss of a “Microsoft-like” revolution.

Dr Khalid M. Alkhazraji is a UAE academic and former undersecretary of labour. He is the chairman of Al Kawthar Investment. You can follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Dr Alkhazraji. This article is the last of a six-part series.