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Roll Call: Meet The Key Stakeholders And Supporters Of Entrepreneurship In Saudi Arabia To provide an overview of some of the most important stakeholders in Saudi Arabia's startup ecosystem, here's a non-exhaustive list of 11 organizations and institutions.

By Erika Masako Welch

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Saudi Arabia's startup ecosystem is rapidly evolving, and several key stakeholders are driving the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship in the Kingdom. To provide an overview of some of the most important stakeholders in Saudi Arabia's startup ecosystem, here's a non-exhaustive list of 11 organizations and institutions. This list is not ranked in any particular order, and it is intended to give you an idea of the diversity and breadth of the stakeholders involved in supporting the growth of SMEs and startups in Saudi Arabia.

1. The Public Investment Fund The Public Investment Fund (PIF) is Saudi Arabia's Sovereign Wealth Fund (SWF). It is one of the largest SWFs in the world, and PIF is playing a critical catalyst role in driving Vision 2030 as well as the growth of new sectors in the Kingdom to create new companies and jobs. A few key stats:

  • Over US$620 billion assets under management (AUM) as of 2022
  • Developing 13 strategic sectors
  • 71 PIF companies created
  • 500,000+ direct and indirect jobs created

2. The Ministry of Investment Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Investment (MISA) is in charge of regulating, developing, and promoting domestic and foreign investment in the Kingdom, and protecting the rights of all investors. The agency is in charge of preparing the Kingdom's national investment strategy, and it aims to develop Saudi's investment ecosystem that supports it to become a world-class investment destination.

3. The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology The Ministry of Communication and Information Technology (MCIT) is responsible for building a solid digital foundation that can help foster and sustain the advanced digital economy Saudi Arabia is currently developing.

4. Monsha'at Monsha'at, also known as the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority, was established in 2016 with the aim of regulating, supporting, developing, and sponsoring the SME sector in order to increase productivity of SMEs and their contribution to the national gross domestic product (GDP) from 20% to 35% by 2030.

5. Tayseer Tayseer, or the National Competitiveness Center (NCC), was established in 2019 as an independent government center that works to develop the competitive environment in the Kingdom and improve its position globally. It proposes initiatives and solutions to help eliminate obstacles facing the public and private sectors. It has implemented reforms to improve the business environment such as launching the private sector feedback platforms, which links investors with government entities and has reduced requirements for investment licenses by 54%. It has also helped to implement regulatory reforms such as in the case of raising foreign ownership rates to 100% in specific sectors.

6. The Central Bank The Saudi Central Bank, also known as SAMA, is leading the development of the fintech sector, helping to regulate the sector, hosting regulatory sandboxes, and issuing fintech licences along with the Capital Markets Authority (CMA).

7. The Capital Market Authority The Capital Market Authority (CMA) is responsible for regulating and developing a healthy investment environment and resilient capital markets ecosystem.

8. Saudi Venture Capital Company Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC) is a government fund of funds that seeds venture capital (VC) and private equity (PE) funds, while also participating in some direct investments in startups by co-investing with other investors in the market. So far, SVC has backed more than 30 funds, five angel groups, and supported 401 startups and SMEs with $1 billion in AUM.

9. Jada Jada is a fund of funds company established by PIF in 2018 to develop the VC and PE ecosystem in the Kingdom. It has an investment capital of $1 billion. It has supported about 385 SMEs, and it has 23 funds under its management. Jada has also developed initiatives to educate and engage the stakeholders in the VC and PE ecosystem.

10. The Saudi Venture Capital and Private Equity Association The Saudi Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SVCPEA) is an industry body created by a resolution made by the Saudi Council of Ministers with the objective of stimulating the VC and PE ecosystem in the Kingdom.

11. Fintech Saudi Fintech Saudi was established in 2018 by the Saudi Central Bank, in partnership with CMA, to act as a catalyst for the development of the Saudi fintech industry. Saudi Fintech works alongside fintechs in the Kingdom to act as an intermediary between government and the startup ecosystem, to understand what needs and challenges need to be addressed to help the sector flourish in the Kingdom.

Learn more about the KSA startup ecosystem by checking out the report, The Evolution of Saudi Arabia's Startup Ecosystem 2010-2022.

This article was originally published on Lucidity Insights, a partner of Entrepreneur Middle East in developing special reports on the Middle East and Africa's tech and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

Erika Masako Welch

Chief Content Officer, Lucidity Insights

Erika Masako Welch is the Chief Content Officer of Lucidity Insights.
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