Saudi Unveils New Entrepreneur Licence

Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) has launched a entrepreneur licence allowing new companies to benefit from small and medium enterprise services and incentives.

The scheme comes follows the unveiling of a $19.2bn stimulus package for the private sector in December which includes $426.6m for indirect lending to SMEs, $746.5m for an SME investment fund and $1.86bn to refund government fees paid by new SMEs.

SAGIA said the licence would incentivise and support entrepreneurs with Saudi projects approved by universities or business incubators inside the kingdom.

To meet the criteria entrepreneurs have to submit articles of association of the company and an acceptance letter from a Saudi university or one of the approved business incubators. The licence is also open to residents in the kingdom provided they receive a no objection letter from their employer or sponsor.

The authority will work with the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority to support projects in the kingdom and reduce obstacles faced by entrepreneurs. In October, the kingdom’s sovereign wealth fund launched a SAR4bn ($1.07bn) “fund of funds” to support the growth of SMEs. This aims to boost access to capital with the goal of creating 2,600 jobs and contributing SAR400m ($106.7m) to GDP by the end of 2020.