Saudi Arabia’s General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monsha’at) has published its Q1 2023 SME Monitor, which releases new details on the country’s small and medium enterprise (SME) sector including statistics and case studies, new initiatives supporting SME growth, venture capital (VC) funding statistics, and key interviews from experts and entrepreneurs. Established in 2016, Monsha’at is responsible for organizing, supporting, developing, and sponsoring growth in the Saudi SME sector in support of Vision 2030’s objectives to increase the contribution of SMEs to GDP from 20 percent to 35 percent by 2035.
The report announced that 88,000 companies were launched in Saudi Arabia in the first quarter of 2023, bringing the number of Saudi SMEs to 1.2 million, a 4.8 percent increase from the previous quarter and a significant 179 percent increase from the same period in 2016. The growth of the Saudi SME ecosystem in this period is due to a combination of pro-business policies, favorable macroeconomic conditions, strategic investments, and innovative private-public partnerships across a diverse cross-section of industries such as e-commerce and retail, enterprise software, fintech, transport and logistics, agriculture, environment, and healthcare.
Monsha’at also reports that SME VC funding in this period totaled $359 million, with the entire SME sector employing 6.5 million people. In addition, Saudi Arabia was the destination for 44 percent of the Middle East region’s total venture capital funding as of Q1 2023.
The full report details the SME and startup environment in the Al Madinah region and provides other information useful for any U.S. or Saudi company interested or involved in the Saudi startup/VC ecosystem. To read the full report, click here.