Saleh Al-Afaliq's Team-Centric Leadership Takes Saudi Arabia-Based Tamweel Aloula To Greater Heights

"We will continue in the digital path and develop more digital products and services as we aspire to be our customers first choice."

learn more about Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed • Dec 12, 2022 Originally published Dec 12, 2022

Tamweel Aloula
Saleh Al-Afaliq, Managing Director, Tamweel Aloula

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When Saudi Arabia-based Tamweel Aloula was launched in 2006 as a small company providing auto leasing for new and used vehicles, it quickly cemented its place as one of the first financing companies in the Kingdom. But ever since Saleh Al-Afaliq took on the reins as its Managing Director in 2019, the company has witnessed growth much higher than it has in the past.

Today, Tamweel Aloula's financial services include retail personal financing, as well as corporate and SME financing. "With a large client base and one of the largest portfolios among financing companies in Saudi Arabia, Tamweel Aloula is truly a rising star in Saudi finance," Al-Afaliq says. "And with its unshakeable strategy, it is now one of the top financing companies in Saudi Arabia with products that serve two main categories; retail and corporate. We also have multiple partnerships with key industry players of several industries and governmental entities."

Now although Al-Afaliq has been credited with driving Tamweel Aloula's growth, the man himself is adamant that it has been the result of a collective effort. "There are several factors contributing to Tamweel Aloula's success, [but] the single most important factor is its team," Al-Afaliq says. "Each member of this team is the reason we are where we are today. Having the right talent is a key factor as each member of Tamweel Aloula's family is a positive contributor to its success."

But Al-Afaliq pinpoints that it is in the firm's "well-crafted strategy" that Tamweel Aloula's unique selling point lies. "Focusing on customer needs is the solid foundation to our growth strategy, and with that in mind, we constantly aim to design products that attract, retain and grow our customer's base," he explains. "Each product in Tamweel Aloula has been designed carefully to satisfy the needs of our customers."

Accredited by the Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) and compliant with Shari'ah laws, Tamweel Aloula's personal financing requests are responded to -whether by accepting or rejecting the transaction- within one working day. This particular financing solution is available only for Saudi nationals. But the company's other offerings -such as auto lease financing (which allows users to own a new or used vehicle via flexible installments owing to Tamweel Aloula's partnerships with showrooms and agencies) and corporate financing for companies, SMEs and startups- are available to both Saudi nationals as well as residents.

And while Al-Afaliq remains proud of the services his enterprise provides, he says partaking in SAMA's Private Sector Financing Support Program in 2020 has been one of the greatest recent milestones in Tamweel Aloula's journey. "We saw tremendous success in SAMA programs which were created with the purpose to help SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs throughout the pandemic and we have been so far, one of the top financing companies to utilize this program with its suitable prospects," Al-Afaliq says. "Another significant milestone is the fact that we are one of the first financing companies in Saudi Arabia to launch digital auto lease which provides a completely paperless digital experience."

Related: The Recap: Tech Innovation Awards 2022

Saleh Al-Afaliq, Manging Director, Tamweel Aloula. Source: Tamweel Aloula

Al-Afaliq is however quick to point out that amid narrating such achievements, credit must be given to Saudi Arabia's ecosystem. "Having a business in Saudi Arabia means operating in one of the strongest and fastest growing economies in the world," he says. "It is also an advantage that the e-government has been a huge factor of success to how businesses run operations seamlessly and effortlessly." And one sector that has reaped the benefits of the country's booming business ecosystem is the finance sector, Al-Afaliq notes.

"Today, it is much easier to find funding in the form of lending or equity and there's a noticeable abundance of venture capital companies," he says. "Lenders have also shifted their attention towards SME's now more than ever. Digitization and the rise of fintech is offering many great opportunities that never existed before."

But while such trends have certainly aided Tamweel Aloula's cause, the company does face its fair share of hurdles too. "Finding and retaining the right talent is a challenge in this competitive market," Al-Afaliq laments. "This is why we constantly invest in improving our work environment along with training and development of our employees to ensure that we can motivate them and bring out the best of them. Another challenge that is faced today, is the lack of highly operational information technology (IT) companies based in Saudi Arabia. I believe there is an opportunity to improve in this sector."

Notwithstanding the pit stops, Al-Afaliq remains confident in his leadership skills and his wider team to keep forging forward. "Decentralized leadership is what I believe works best for us here at Tamweel Aloula- delegating top management and senior executives to make decisions within their teams," he says. "I also believe in creating an attractive and healthy working environment supported by providing them with rewards and incentives. And we will continue in the digital path and develop more digital products and services as we aspire to be our customers first choice."

'TREP TALK: Saleh Al-Afaliq, Managing Director, Tamweel Aloula shares his tips for budding entrepreneurs looking to make it big in the finance sector

Understand the market dynamics "This includes deeply understanding the forces that could impact the value chain, and the behaviors of producers and consumers."

Understand the economies of scale "This also includes learning how to have the right size of overhead cost that fits the size of your operation."

Understanding credit risk is equally important "This truly can make or break a financing company."

Digitization is the future "When looking at your business operations, if it can't be digitized, then it will not work in the future."

Related: Khaled Bin Alwaleed's KBW Ventures Joins Series A Round For American Foodtech Startup Black Sheep Farms

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Writer, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Writer at Entrepreneur Middle East. She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and is also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program. A self-proclaimed bibliophile, she has a penchant for chai, cricket, and all things BTS. 

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