DAMMAM – The Young Saudi Businesswomen Forum, organized here by the Asharqia Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Eastern Province, has strongly recommended the establishment of women’s sections in all agencies of the Saudi government.
Delegates at the recently concluded two-day forum said the setting up of women’s departments in government bodies will encourage and lead businesswomen in the right direction while organizing their business enterprises or when following support programs from the public sectors.
“We stressed in this forum the implementation of the Council of Ministers’ decision which states that all government agencies that provide services related to businesswomen must establish women’s units and sections,” said Munira Al-Zamil, one of the forum organizers, concluding the forum.
Al-Zamil said women’s sections in government ministries and agencies would help fast track the processing and documentation of the papers of businesswomen seeking support and assistance from the government. “Women’s sections would be the channels for follow up with government departments whose work relates to our needs as businesswomen,” she added.
The forum, which was attended by leading businesswomen from the Eastern Province, also recommended that businesswomen engaged in small and medium enterprises (SMEs) be provided with more incentives and support programs, such as access to capital, training programs, market information, and computer links, through established websites that support businesswomen.
The businesswomen also asked that business development organizations, like the Dhahran Techno Valley which has business incubation facilities, set up business incubation services for small businesses for a period not exceeding two years, including logistical services, training and business development.
The forum also recommended the holding of continuing training programs and round-table discussions and exchanges of information to update women entrepreneurs on current market developments. “It is essential that increasing and diversifying women’s training be attuned to current market requirements,” Al-Zamil said. Participation of more and more Saudi women in business and industries will contribute further to the development of the private sector if these women are given adequate government support, Al-Zamil said.
Statistics released by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry show that Saudi businesswomen own approximately 20,000 small and medium businesses. Saudi women entrepreneurs also have unused funds now estimated at around SR60 billion, which are stashed in local banks.
The JCCI study revealed that investments by businesswomen represent about 21 percent of the total investment in the Kingdom’s private sector, while there are over 43,000 registered companies owned by businesswomen in the various regions of the country, including SMEs.
The number of women graduated from institutions of higher education, who will fill the jobs established by businesswomen, has also increased, reaching 56.5 percent of the total number of graduates.
The forum was sponsored by Princess Jawahir Bint Naif Bin Abdul Aziz. – SG