Saudi oil giant Aramco has announced the launch of a new programme, Taleed, aimed at accelerating the growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia, thus helping boost their contribution to economic development and support job creation.
Taleed targets sustainable SME growth across multiple sectors through a portfolio of 20 initiatives, providing a wide range of support from capability building and strategy development to training, market access, advisory services and business planning.
It also aims to deliver funding and financial solutions to existing and new businesses through five funds, with a combined capital exceeding SR3 billion ($800 million), said a statement from Aramco.
These funds are being established in collaboration with partners to support SME development in the sustainability, digital, manufacturing, industrial and social innovation domains.
Aramco said it is partnering with a wide range of entities to deliver Taleed initiatives, and the company has signed 30 MoUs with leading public and private partners to enable development of the SME ecosystem.
Aramco President and CEO Amin H. Nasser said: «We have long been committed to supporting the expansion of the Saudi Arabia’s SME ecosystem, which has a critical role to play in the kingdom’s economic development. Through Taleed, we are working with the public sector, as well as private companies and institutions, to further develop the SME ecosystem and promote entrepreneurship.»
«Our aim is to achieve high levels of excellence among SMEs, which in turn supports our own business and the national economy,» he stated.
Aramco Senior Vice President of Technical Services Ahmad A. Al Sa’adi said: «Our Taleed program is a catalyst for change that aims to elevate the contribution of both existing and new SMEs across multiple sectors, in turn promoting job creation and further enhancing the commercial operating environment.»
Taleed, he stated, will provide SMEs with targeted initiatives, complementing Aramco’s other major programs designed to enhance the company’s resilient supply chain and the domestic business landscape.
These include the company’s flagship localisation program “iktva”, as well as its industrial investments programme “Namaat”, advanced product development center LAB7, and entrepreneurship center Wa’ed. These interlinked programs aim to create a supportive environment in which businesses of all sizes can flourish.
The 20 initiatives being offered through Taleed are categorized into three groups:
The first focuses on job-matching upskilled local talent, including a National Vocational Apprenticeship Program and a National Freelancing Program, to provide manpower with relevant skills to companies across Saudi Arabia.
The initiative aims to enable thousands of jobs across multiple new or growing industries, including steel plate manufacturing, casting and forging, offshore and subsea diving.
The second focuses on creating business opportunities for SMEs, including the establishment of world-class integrated parks in nine cities across Saudi Arabia targeting untapped fields such as agriculture, artisans and cloud kitchens.
Other components include the establishment of a National Artisans Company to address challenges faced by artisans; a Smart Shared Services initiative; a Carbon Utilization National SME Program; Sustainable City Development initiative; Value Chain Services in Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries initiative; Home Construction Inspection initiative; and Industrial E-Marketplace initiative.
The third focuses on supporting SMEs and enabling the ecosystem. This includes an SME Excellence Program to help SMEs sustain and grow their business, and 150 SMEs have already been enrolled to mark the launch of Taleed.
Ultimately, Taleed’s sustainable growth program is expected to benefit as many as 15,000 SMEs annually.
Other components include an SME Mentorship program; SME Leadership Development Program; SME Net-Zero Carbon Program; National E-Commerce SME Support Platform; SME Digital Enterprise Solutions initiative; Customized Logistics Solutions for SMEs initiative; Regional SME Association; SME of the Year Awards; and SME Business Hackathon.