As a business support organization, The Small and Medium Enterprises General Authority “Monshaat” were established to organize, support and develop the Saudi SMEs sector to increase their productivity and their contribution to the GDP from 20% to 35% by 2030. The authority support SMEs via programs and projects that promote entrepreneurship and innovation with an array of financial and technical services aimed to strengthen this crucial sector of the national economy.
In addition to its wide range of services and initiatives, Monshaat provides capacity building solutions to develop Saudi SMEs in their administrative, technical, financial, marketing, HR and other capabilities. The provided capacity building solutions includes training, workshops, mentorship, consulting and service providers’ discount vouchers. These solutions are available to Saudi SMEs at the stage of growing their businesses as well as aspiring entrepreneurs.
From an early stage, Monshaat has recognized the importance of utilizing technology to ensure the accessibility of the services to its beneficiaries across the Kingdom in the most efficient manner. Thus, the authority introduced online capacity building services in parallel with the existing activities and events that normally take place in physical venues. The initial introduction of online solutions was welcomed by the business community who may not always have the time to attend every advertised event in physical venues.
With the growing demand on the capacity building services, Monshaat developed and launched Monshaat Academy which offers a collection of on-demand and live e-Learning business courses. In addition to the free online training, “Nawafith” mobile App were developed to offer SMEs owners with live, virtual and one to one business consulting with industry experts. Furthermore, Monshaat has launched “Mazaya” portal which offers Saudi SMEs discounted business services to help businesses optimize costs and efficiency.
By March 2020, the spread of coronavirus necessitates social distancing and the implementation of partial curfews to control the spread of the pandemic. With these circumstances, Monshaat accelerated the development of these digital solutions, converted all activities that used to be done in physical venues to online alternatives to ensure the continuous accessibility of these services by the Saudi business community.
The leap to online with all of Monshaat capacity building services showcased its commitment in aiding the Saudi SMEs through these challenging times while maintaining adequate quality. With a few clicks from the beneficiaries, the online capacity building services witnessed a surge in the usage since March 2020. In this period, more than 46,000 business people benefited from Monshaat Academy’s programs. Furthermore, SMEs owners have attended more than 11,000 Virtual advisory and consulting sessions.
Commenting on these activities, the governor of Monshaat, Eng. Saleh Alrasheed, emphasized that the authority is keen to ensure that its support services are accessible to all Saudi SMEs. On the complete shift of the capacity building services, Eng. Alrasheed praised the dedication of the staff who are working from homes to support businesses via available channels in these exceptional times. “There will be a learning curve for Monshaat’s team as well as their beneficiaries on the utilization of technology to create value and efficiency”, said Mr. Alrasheed. He also indicated that Monshaat will further seek feedback from its beneficiaries and will capitalize on its online solutions as needed to improve its services to the current and prospective Saudi businesses.