A flat tire and a six-hour night wait for roadside assistance inspired the creation of Saudi Arabia’s leading roadside technology app. Morni uses a network of over 33,000 service providers to offer roadside assistance to more than 1.2 million customers in the Kingdom and across the region.
“As the largest market in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia still has an undiscovered wealth of untapped potential, making it one of the most exciting startup markets in the region,” said Abdullah Al Yahya, Morni’s cofounder and CTO.
Despite the decline in entrepreneurial activity in other parts of the world, Saudi Arabia’s support for entrepreneurship and diverse business sectors fosters an expanding startup ecosystem. The fastest growing sectors include tech, fintech, and especially e-commerce, which is predicted to exceed $13 billion in value by 2025, according to a report produced by Boston Consulting Group and Meta.
One of the most successful tech startups in the Kingdom, MRSOOL, started with a conversation in a café between two friends, Naif Al-Samri and Ayman Al-Sanad, who thought there was a brother in each town to help with the tasks. MRSOOL pioneered the on-demand service-fulfillment model in Saudi Arabia and the region, establishing a major customer network through a chat-based ordering system that allows users to request even what kind of delivery service and then allow couriers to bid for jobs, ensuring a perfect way. scalable and self-regulating model.
“If I’ve learned one thing throughout my journey, it’s that you don’t have to give up on your business idea if it feels right and you’re truly passionate about it,” said Al-Sanad, cofounder and CEO. in MRSOOL. “Sometimes you’re just a second away from walking away and missing the opportunity – or moving on and seeing your dreams come true.”
A Supportive Startup Ecosystem
Saudi Arabia’s startup successes have resulted in many reforms in key economic sectors that have opened up new markets, boosted business ambitions, and opened avenues for innovation.
These reforms are driven by Saudi Vision 2030, the Kingdom’s long-term plan to diversify the economy, whose goals include increasing the contribution of small businesses to GDP from 20% to 35% and boosting foreign direct investment from 3.8% to 5.7%.
The Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) General Authority of Saudi Arabia, Monshaat, designs initiatives that promote entrepreneurship culture and sets policies and standards for the SME sector.
Monshaat also organizes the Kingdom’s global start-up and SME forum, Biban, which promotes tangible opportunities by bringing together local and international entrepreneurs, investors, and government officials to collaborate and share insights.
Among the opportunities this year at Biban 23 is the Entrepreneurship World Cup (EWC), one of the largest and most diverse startup pitch competitions and support programs. Since its inception, more than 400,000 entrepreneurs from 200 countries have registered.
Development of Global Trends
Saudi Arabia bucks global trends in business investment. The level of venture capital funding has increased every year, with investment in Saudi startups growing by 72% by 2022 to a record high of $987 million.
The small business sector of the Kingdom acquired by 2022 also corresponds to a development of the startup ecosystem in the region. The expansion of the SME sector in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region reflects growing talent, technological infrastructure improvements, consumer adoption, and macroeconomic and regulatory reforms.
The 50 most funded startups in MENA raised $3.2 billion in 2022, up 6.7% from 2021. In 2021, entrepreneurs won three “mega-deals,” worth more than $5 million; in 2022, there will be seven.
Where Your Business Needs
This evolution overcomes the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in other innovation hot spots, such as troubleshooting market problems, gaining access to capital, hiring the right talent, and building brand awareness.
“The unique combination of Vision 2030, the role of the public sector in creating a more supportive business environment, and a thriving entrepreneurial culture that encourages a community mindset is developing a scene where the initial difficulties of starting a business can be overcome,” said Saud Al-Sabhan, Deputy Governor for Entrepreneurship at Monshaat.
“Starting a new business in Saudi Arabia today,” he says, “means having good access to the guidance, mentoring, and financial support you need to help your company succeed.”
Learn more about Biban and how your organization can invest, partner, and establish itself in the Kingdom.