Riyadh: Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Monsha’at said in its latest SME Monitor, a detailed quarterly report, that Biban 23, Saudi Arabia's global SME and entrepreneurship forum it hosted in Riyadh in March attracted over 145,000 attendees and helped generate $13.8 billion in agreements.
It also said that the number of SMEs in the Kingdom increased by 4.8% quarter-on-quarter in Q1 2023, to 1.2 million.
Spurred by strong private sector growth, 88,858 new SMEs were launched in Q1 2023, the latest monitor reports. With over 41% of the Kingdom’s total SMEs in Riyadh, the Saudi capital is nurturing a booming business-friendly economy that IMF predicts will grow over 3.1% this year.
As a snapshot of wider developments across the Kingdom’s economy, the report includes special sections on key Monsha’at partners and services, the impact of Biban 23 in March, and an economic survey of Madinah Munawwarah Province.
In its focus on the SME Bank, which commenced operations in December 2022, the report covers the bank’s efforts to work with subsidiaries such as Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) and the Kafalah loan guarantee program to bring new financing opportunities to SMEs. It also details key Monsha’at services such as SME Support Centers and the Nawafth Mobile App, in addition to new partnerships between Monsha’at Academy and Abdul Latif Jameel Finance, GoDaddy, and SEDCO Holding.
The report has a section devoted to Biban 23. Since the forum hosted the final round of this year’s Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC), a global startup pitch competition with participants from over 200 countries, the report also contains key insights into this year’s winner, the Riyadh-based construction startup WhiteHelmet.
The report is released within a broader context of business growth in the Kingdom, with thousands of Saudi entrepreneurs benefitting from a host of new initiatives and enablement policies designed to help SMEs account for 35% of GDP by 2030.