Strengthening and diversifying the Saudi economy entails developing an ecosystem of small-and medium-sized enterprises that can capitalize on innovations and opportunities.
Small- to medium-sized enterprises are key components of economic growth. Our support for Saudi entrepreneurs is designed to nurture new technologies and businesses of potential value to our business as well as strengthen the health of the Kingdom’s innovation ecosystem.
A key enabler of such ecosystem is our wholly owned subsidiary Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center (Wa’ed), located in Dhahran Techno Valley Company (DTVC) on the campus of the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM). Wa’ed is a business incubator that offers entrepreneurship training and mentorship programs, non-collateralized loans or venture capital partnering, and assistance in forging alliances with key stakeholders to foster human capital development, funding, and access to markets.
In 2017, Wa’ed, screened 238 new loan and equity applications. A new advisory program was launched that provided 15 consulting sessions for 300 potential entrepreneurs in three cities. Since its inception in 2011, Wa’ed has provided support for 100 companies.
Wa'ed: Aramco's enterpreneurship arm
By combining deep sector knowledge and a collaborative team that is diligent, dynamic, and engaging, Wa'ed is harnessing potential business ideas and cultivating a great atmosphere that empowers every new generation of entrepreneurs.
In 2016, we helped inaugurate the Kingdom’s first all-women business and technology park. In 2017, we and our original partner, Princess Nora bint Abdulrahman University in Riyadh, signed a joint venture agreement with Wipro, a global IT and business process services provider.
The park, which provides business support services to leading companies in the Kingdom, including Saudi Aramco, is envisioned to generate greater opportunities for Saudi women to join the workforce, ultimately targeting the creation of up to 20,000 jobs.