The U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council, in collaboration with leading Strategic Partners Saudi Aramco and SABIC, as well as sponsor Raytheon, has announced the launch of the U.S.-Saudi SME Forum: Accelerating Growth and International Partnerships. Collaborative organizations of the Forum also include the Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority (Monsha’at), U.S. Small Business Administration, U.S. Commercial Service, and Saudi Arabian Airlines.
Taking place from October 1-2, 2018 at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE in California, the SME Forum will offer a high level perspective on the roles of SMEs in boosting bilateral trade, sharing of know-how, and co-innovating solutions to benefit the U.S. and Saudi markets.
Former CEO of Saudi Aramco and Council Co-Chairman Abdallah Jum’ah, said estimates show that SMEs comprise 90 percent of businesses in Saudi Arabia and account for 60 percent of total employment.
“As part of its Vision 2030 strategic plan, Saudi Arabia’s national attention has turned to the small & medium-sized sector as a fundamental source of economic dynamism whose growth and progress would benefit the country as a whole. With this pivotal focus in mind, the U.S.-Saudi SME Forum will provide a venue where Saudi and American SMEs network and share their experiences as serious entrepreneurs operating in complex environments,” said Jum’ah.
U.S. and Saudi speakers will discuss the main focus areas of the SME ecosystem, including improving procurement opportunities, regulation and financing, business management skills and financial literacy, and workforce technical skills and subject matter expertise.
Council Co-Chairmen Abdallah Jum’ah, and Steve Demetriou, Chairman and CEO of Jacobs Engineering, will speak on the role of SMEs in local and global trade. Other speakers include Nadhmi Al-Nasr, CEO of Neom; Paddy Padmanathan, President and CEO of ACWA Power; and Jim Breyer, Founder and CEO of Breyer Capital.
The Forum’s sidelines will offer in-depth case study workshops with selected Saudi and U.S. SMEs, who will collaborate in small groups to identify solutions for real-world business challenges.
In conjunction with the Forum, the U.S.-Saudi Arabian Business Council released its latest report Small & Medium-Sized Enterprise Development in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The report aims to support the goals of Vision 2030 by focusing on issues which, if addressed, will contribute to Saudi SMEs playing a greater and more effective role in creating a new economic environment in the Kingdom. In developing the report, the Council partnered with AccountAbility, a renowned global research and advisory firm.