SMEs authority reviews regulations to enhance women empowerment


Saudi Gazette

— The General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises is offering chances to join women business networks that link women together to allow them to exchange business experiences, build relations and find jobs.

Malik Al-Ghanmi, the head of social entrepreneurship at the SMEs authority, said they offer number of initiatives that give training, finance and connections to youth willing to start up businesses. Among the initiatives is the Social Entrepreneurship Challenge Competition. The initiative gives a chance to five winning ideas and offers them a one year support in terms of training, offering work locations for one year and a monthly salary for a year for each winner. Other initiatives are Fikra, Fanar, Tomoh and Momaken which are different initiatives that offer various supporting methods for young investors.

According to Al-Ghanmi, who was speaking at Sayidaty Seminar on “Women in Saudi Vision 2030”, there are some challenges that still face women and so they are restudying regulations for startup businesses “the support for women empowerment is at its peak now, women enjoy governmental support and they are encouraged to contribute to the GDP.” He added that they are reviewing the different regulations and are working on easing them.

Meanwhile, Nuha Al-Yusuf, a businesswoman, said that work challenges that women face tend to different from one region to the other. She added that based on their studies women in Qasim for example face a social stigma if they work. While in Jeddah women face different challenges such as competition, seeking to get high positions and finding jobs that are suitable for their specializations. She called on Saudi chambers of industry to work on increasing the women work and investment culture and find ways to increase women participation.

Khalid Al-Khudair, founder of Glowork, said over the past six years they have recognized a great change in the labor market. Initially he said 80% of people who work in human resources departments at different companies are not qualified, similarly up to 64% of women hire someone to write their CVs. In addition, many companies seek to find women who are not married and have no children to reduce the cost. He highlighted that there is a great gap between education and jobs offered in the market and students are not offered any job guide before graduation. He called on authorities to look into these issues to make women empowerment achievable.

Commenting on this, Samar Khan, Dean of Effat College of Business, suggested that students get both theory and practice at their courses. This is the only way that students will get hand on experience about jobs needed in the market. She added that “by getting this practical side in each course students will be able to answer the very first question that each employer asks to each jobseeker which is: do you have experience?”