Wamda Research Lab has issued a report about the Saudi Entrepreneurship Ecosystem called “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: Status of the entrepreneurship ecosystem” which highlights stakeholders of the ecosystem, initiatives taken by government to support entrepreneurship in the country, challenges faced by entrepreneurs, success stories and many other great insights.
Wamda conducted interviews with different entrepreneurs and stakeholders form the country who suggested that access to talent is the biggest challenged faced by entrepreneurs in the Kingdom. The interviewees believe that talent is available but its access is a big challenge.
Khlid Alkhudair, founder of Glowork; Kingdom’s first recruitment website for Women is quoted in the report saying:
“There is lack in HR practices and startups are not willing to invest money in hiring qualified HR personnel that can identify the skills required for specific jobs. They think that qualified individuals do not exist, when in fact, they do not have the right processes in place to find who they are looking for.”
Ibrahim Bamehriz, cofounder & CEO of Kitch; a breakfast delivery startup also thinks that access to talent remains a big challenge.
“Hiring talent in the KSA is very tough-it’s not easy to find qualified talent with both soft and technical skills. Talent is available in the Kingdom but access to employment channels is not very organized.”
Report notes that it could be because of undeveloped HR processes, insufficient hiring channels or competition with the large organizations who obviously have more resources to attract the talent. The report also offered some recommendations to address this challenge.
“Universities are encourages to partner with startups and offer internship programs to promote entrepreneurship and working in a startup. Moreover, the education system should focus on nurturing and developing soft skills for students to graduate with the necessary skills demanded by the private sector. Finally, to lure talent, startups need to create better HR processes to acquire and retain talent, and focus on creating competitive non-wage benefit packages for employees.”
The other two top challenges faced by Saudi Entrepreneurs as shared in the report are access to early stage funding and legal and bureaucratic hurdles. You may read more about them and other great insights by downloading the report from here.