Saudi Arabia's Social Development Bank allocates $53.3m in funds for tech SMEs

Lender signs a financing agreement for the tech sector with the National Technology Development Programme

The Kingdom Tower, operated by Kingdom Holding Co., left, stands alongside the King Fahd highway, illuminated by the light trails of passing traffic, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2016. Saudi Arabian stocks led Gulf Arab markets lower after oil extended its slump from the lowest close since 2004. Photographer: Waseem Obaidi/Bloomberg
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Saudi Arabia's Social Development Bank has signed an agreement with the National Technology Development Programme (NTDP) to allocate funding for the kingdom's small businesses operating in the tech sector.

The Social Development Bank agreed with the NTDP to operate a financing portfolio of 200 million Saudi riyals ($53.3 million) that will be allocated to emerging, micro and small technology enterprises to boost their competitiveness and contribution to the national economy, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

"The agreement aims to bridge the financing gap in the technology sector by providing easy financing solutions for Saudi entrepreneurs wishing to invest in the information technology sector," the SPA said.

The move is part of the kingdom's wider strategy to unlock the capabilities of promising sectors locally that can help diversify the economy away from oil and support the transformation of the country's economy in line with the objectives of its Vision 2030 initiative.

Last month, Saudi Arabia launched a new National Industry Strategy that aims to triple industrial output and increase the value of the kingdom's industrial exports to about $149 billion by 2030.

The strategy, in partnership with the private sector, will help the kingdom transform into an industrial powerhouse, contributing to securing global supply chains and exporting high-tech products globally, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who launched the strategy, said at the time.

The strategy aims to attract investment into the sector, boost economic diversification, increase non-oil exports and grow the kingdom's gross national product.

The new programme identifies 800 investment opportunities worth $266.2bn to provide sustainable economic returns for Saudi Arabia by 2030.

Saudi Arabia's Social Development Bank and the NTDP, a programme under the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, signed the agreement on the sidelines of Rise Up, a large entrepreneurial summit being held at the King Abdullah Financial District.

The agreement is part of a series of deals recently signed by the bank to strengthen and build strategic partnerships with vital sectors in the kingdom, with the aim of empowering young people to become self-employed and take advantage of opportunities in promising markets, the SPA said.

The aim is to reach a wider consumer base, raise the contribution of projects to the GDP and help young entrepreneurs to reach financial sustainability by accessing new markets, it said.

Updated: November 20, 2022, 6:57 AM
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