Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) hold vast potential to drive economic growth and prosperity. Supporting these enterprises in Saudi Arabia so they can continue to thrive and grow will help nurture a more diverse and vibrant economy. Their development can help create the next-generation of skilled workforces in our industry and beyond.
This is where the Aramco Taleed program comes in. It is the third stage in Aramco’s four-stage venture life-cycle support initiative — coming after the pre-seed (LAB7) and start-up (Wa’ed Ventures) stages. It is designed to support Saudi SMEs to grow from being a viable business to becoming a well-established SME or major corporation, by nurturing the SME ecosystem that can accelerate their growth and with it their ability to create jobs.
The following and final stage is the Namaat program, which will nurture trailblazing organizations with the potential to become National Champions — those who are able to lead and shape their industry, and create impact on a national or even global scale.
The name Taleed is derived from Arabic and means ‘innate’, ‘rooted’, and ‘original’. It also carries the meaning of ‘to be born’, ‘birth’, and ‘reproduce’. This range of meanings captures the breadth of this initiative, which has been crafted to nurture Saudi talent and enterprise.
Taleed is designed to be a catalyst for change — it is well positioned to help unlock capital, support the development of commercial ecosystems, enable new SME growth, and nurture scalable and sustainable job creation. By helping and supporting Saudi SME founders and employees, Taleed aims to support them to realize more of their potential.
Portfolio of support
SMEs often need support in multiple areas, from planning and strategy development to training and capability building. They require help, too, in gaining access to markets and finance.
The program aims to deliver funding and financial solutions to existing and new SME businesses through multiple major national funds, with a combined capital exceeding SAR 3 billion ($800 million).
Some of these national funds include the Saudi Development Bank and the Saudi Industrial Development Fund. Others have a particular specialty including: the Aramco Entrepreneurship Center covering sustainability, and the digital and social innovation domains; Al-Rajhi Holding covering social innovation; Lamar Holding covering sustainability; and Energy Capital Group covering the energy sector.
The Taleed program has launched more than 20 initiatives that address particular needs — while also constructing a network of public and private-sector partners. These initiatives combine a striking diversity of approach, bringing together specialists from different fields, in different ways, to help SMEs succeed. Some look to boost human resources, or offer business development and training. Others deliver business services, or support market access. Here are some of the programs:
- Tailored to the needs of each individual company, the SME Excellence Program aims to provide support in all areas of running a business, ranging from strategy and planning to attraction and retention of talent, from leadership and management skills to accessing technology and developing digital operations. The initial cohort consists of 150 local SMEs that will be supported, growing to a target of 15,000 enterprises per year.
- Entrepreneurs can benefit from coaching and mentoring to support them in developing their abilities and businesses through the SME Mentorship Program, run in collaboration with local specialists.
- The annual SME Business Hackathon is designed to identify innovative SME business opportunities and address challenges in the wider business ecosystem.
- Successes will be recognized and promoted by the SME of the Year Awards initiative, which has been created to recognize exceptional progress in areas including job creation and creating sustainable businesses.
Improving market access
In one of several initiatives aimed at improving access to markets, nine cities across Saudi Arabia have been selected to be part of the Integrated Parks Program, which aims to bring local farmers, artisans and cloud kitchens together in world-class integrated markets and help them expand their reach across Saudi Arabia, as well as refine their product offerings.
Improved access to markets across Saudi Arabia
In a bid to boost available talent, both employees and entrepreneurs, the National Vocational Apprenticeship Program enrolls Saudi candidates in specialized courses at technical colleges, institutes, and academies. It aims to create jobs in construction, offshore services, and other areas. Building on Aramco’s decades of experience in running apprenticeship schemes, this program is designed to equip graduates with the skills, on-the-job training, and certification needed to work in emerging fields, or start their own businesses.
Other initiatives include the National Freelancing Program, an on-demand workforce platform that matches skilled providers with work opportunities and is set to create thousands of jobs in partnership with public and private-sector bodies.
The National Vocational Apprenticeship Program enrolls Saudi candidates in specialized courses
Join Taleed on its journey
Aramco Taleed is designed to help SMEs accelerate their growth, creating more jobs and making a lasting impact to benefit the national economy.
To be part of this initiative — either as an SME or a partner — or find out more, contact us at Taleed@aramco.com