SBJBC hosted over 100 delegates at Level39 in Canary Wharf on 27 October for our first SME Forum for Saudi and British digital and creative entrepreneurs.
Following presentations (see below) on Saudi ICT and ecommerce developments, delegates took part in a lively panel session on SME development and challenges to growth led by the heads of Level39, Cambridge Enterprise and Qotuf. A second panel session with investors discussed SME access to finance and mentoring.
A number of potential partnerships were discussed in business-to-business roundtables in the afternoon, and the Saudi delegates visited Southampton University Science Park the next day.
The forum coincided with an announcement by the Saudi government on the formation of a new SME Authority chaired by the Minister of Commerce, which will coordinate initiatives to develop the sector.
Delegates suggested that the SBJBC consider the possibility of twinning leading Saudi and British university science parks and business incubators, and arranging short term exchange secondments for young entrepreneurs. These and other suggestions will be followed up at the SBJBC’s next biannual meeting in Riyadh on 1 December, to which SME representatives will be invited.
Presentation by Hashim AlAwadi titled ‘The Business Gateway to the Middle East‘
Presentation by Rashid AlBallaa titled ‘The Saudi ICT Market and E-Commerce potential’