More Saudi adults have become interested in entrepreneurship over last year: 2018/19 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Saudi Arabia National Report

At present, about one third of Saudi working age adults (aged 18-64) intend to start a business within the next three years, said the 2018/19 Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Saudi Arabia National Report. According to the report, 83% of the Saudi adult population express high confidence in their capabilities of becoming entrepreneurs.

These findings were discussed thoroughly at a forum held at Bay La Sun Hotel and Marina in King Abdullah Economic City, organized by Babson Global Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership (BGCEL) and Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College (MBSC).


“The latest GEM study has revealed an increasingly positive culture for entrepreneurship within the Kingdom, and continues to demonstrate promising growth over the past three years. The strengthening of entrepreneurial activity within the Kingdom is an important pillar of Vision 2030, and the 2018/19 Saudi Arabia Report offers unique insights into how the nation can foster the entrepreneurial drive of Saudi youth,” Fahad Al-Rasheed, Vice Chairman of MBSC’s Board of Trustees, said at the forum.

The report has also mentioned that Saudi entrepreneurs were comparatively more competitive in 2018, as more than twice as many entrepreneurs reported that they have little to no competitors compared to 2016.

The gender disparity among entrepreneurs has increased in this time period, with 14.7% percent of men and 8.5% of women branding themselves as entrepreneurs. Women don’t find entrepreneurship that much attractive yet, compared to their male counterparts.

The average age of Saudi entrepreneurs is 37 years, showing the dominance of older age groups who have gathered the resources, networks and experience to leverage on.

The speakers discussed the reasons behind these numbers and stats at the forum gave valuable insights to make the scene even better.

Asma Siddiki, Interim Dean of MBSC, noted that “with Saudis exhibiting the highest levels of confidence in their abilities to start a business among the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, organizations such as Monsha’at play an ever-crucial part in augmenting the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).” She added that “the role of academia has significantly evolved in its capacity as an entrepreneurial facilitator. With nearly three-quarters of entrepreneurs and business owners having at least some form of postgraduate qualification, the need to cater our educational pedagogy towards ideation, implementation, and scalability is now more important than ever.”

Ahmed Linjway, Group CEO of King Abdullah Economic City, said “the GEM report continues to inspire confidence in the advancement of the Saudi entrepreneurial ecosystem. For our part, we are proud to be building a unique entrepreneurship ecosystem that inspires creativity and innovation, designed for businesses and startups to invest and experiment within the Kingdom.”

“KAEC is a key enabler for the entrepreneurship sector and a major contributor to the successful outcome of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030. Entrepreneurship is at the core of KAEC and we are deeply engaged in helping people build and develop the skills they need for their future enterprises to be successful,” he added.


Donna Kelley, professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College and Member of the GEM Board of Directors, stated that “governments can play a key role in fostering entrepreneurship nationally. This includes eliminating barriers for potential entrepreneurs and implementing policies and programs that can facilitate their efforts. With Vision 2030, it is clear that the Saudi Arabian government views entrepreneurship as a key contributor to economic growth, industry diversification, job creation, and global competitiveness in the Kingdom. Saudi Arabia has the potential to take a leadership position in growing entrepreneurship in the MENA region and globally.”


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