In the recent few years, especially after the announcement of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 Plan in 2016, the perceived image of Saudi young people, as a generation with all the prerequisite for success but almost without any productive works, has changed significantly.
We can say that the Saudi young people had never been granted an integrated and real chance to seize their potentials and optimize their capacities. Most of them used to get prestigious jobs with competitive salaries upon graduation.
Such society changes and conditions, young people were put as a top priority among Vision 2030’s reform programs and policies with a focus on increasing and encouraging better employment for them.
With Saudi Arabia’s young people under the age of 25 making up around 60% of the kingdom’s population, they are the real treasure that hasn’t been fully employed yet.
“Our country is rich in its natural resources; we are not dependent solely on oil for our energy needs. Gold, phosphate, uranium, and many other valuable minerals are found beneath our lands.
But our real wealth lies in the ambition of our people and the potential of our younger generation. They are our nation’s pride and the architects of our future.” Mohammed bin Salman stated.
Saudi Young People deserves a better life
The Saudi Government strives to enhance the life of Saudi young people through improving the cost of living, providing affordable housing, increasing the safety of communities, creating opportunities for education and training, driving healthier employment opportunities, and ensuring long-term prosperity.
According to the Saudi Government’s ambitious plan, approximately 1.9 million Saudis will enter the workforce over the next ten years, increasing the size of the current workforce by more than one-third. Simply, empowering the young people is the fuel of the sustainable development, and the key of the social change, the economic growth, and the promising technological initiatives.
Considering young people as partners in achieving development, adopting the supportive programs, and formulating the necessary policies, the Saudi Government has been taking actual strides to empower young people.
As a renewed drive towards engaging the young people in public life, revitalizing their role in promoting the development, and preparing them to take over their future roles and responsibilities, the Government has established Units of Intellectual Awareness in the Saudi universities.
and Centers of Creativity and Excellence. It works on promoting their knowledge, creativity and innovation through notable cultural establishments like the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture.
The Reap of Outcomes achieved to date
According to Asdaa Burson-Marsteller’s survey, 36% of Arab young people claim they intend to start their own business within the next five years.
Saudi young people takes a significant portion of this share with a massive support of different governmental and private institutions.
A lot of initiatives were launched to stimulate entrepreneurship and encourage local SMEs and startups and raise their contribution to Kingdom’s gross domestic product including, “Launch Your Project”; a series of 15 workshops held by The King Abdullah Center for Petroleum Research and Studies (“KACPRS”) in line with the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 and the objectives of Vision 2030.
The event, supported by King Abdul Aziz City for Science and Technology (“KACST”), covered four domains in relation to Vision 2030: Promising economies, innovation, competitiveness, and leadership.
KACST created the BADIR innovation and technology program for technology incubators and accelerators to enhance and strengthen technical entrepreneurship throughout the Kingdom by helping incubators in cooperation with the government agencies, universities and the private sector.
One of its graduates is the Middle East’s leading EdTech startup Noon Academy; a social learning platform, the winner of the prestigious Real Innovation Award at the London Business School 2018, with more than 1.6 million students and 1,500 certified tutors in Saudi Arabia alone.
KACST together with BADIR have recently hosted one of the massive technology events in Saudi Arabia “Rise of the Innovation Kingdom.”
This event has gathered thousands of digital business leaders, entrepreneurs and investors in Riyadh, to share their related experiences to technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
One of the most supporting institutions is Misk Nonprofit Foundation, founded by Mohammad Bin Salman in 2011, under the slogan of “We Make Leaders,”.
with the aim of building incubators to identify, develop, and empower young people to promote the knowledge economy and achieve progress in businesses through forming partnerships and attracting high-level institutions.
Lately, Misk and UN have joined forces to promote young people empowerment through a pioneering initiative to empower young people worldwide.
This agreement is chiefly interested in encouraging young people to participate in the Global Sustainable Development program in alignment with Saudi Arabia’s vision 2030.
Sultan Al-Musallam, global ambassador of the Misk Foundation, commented on this collbaoration: The core belief held by youth, that our problems can only be solved together, in a way that is blind to race, religion or region, is also the bedrock of the UN.
Another step towards empowering young people was establishing The Business Incubators and Accelerators Company (“BIAC”) in 2016
as a government subsidiary of Saudi Technology Development and Investment Company (TAQNIA) in consolidating the vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 2030 with the aim of establishing, operating, and managing incubators and business accelerators
developing business-support platforms and innovation and technology transfer programs, and providing project management and specialized consultancy services to reinforce human resources capabilities.
BIAC is primarily interested in motivating Saudi tech ecosystem and provide the necessary support for emerging technology companies, which in turn led to the desirable non-oil revolution.
For the purpose of developing a new generation of game-changers and transformative leaders with the ability to think out of the box and initiate a process of change, Prince Mohammad Bin Salman College (“MBSC”) of Business & Entrepreneurship college was established in 2016.
It works on fulfilling the Kingdom’s need to turn a large number of job consumers into job creators through delivering a world-class and high-quality educational service in conformity with the international standards.
What increases the effectiveness of MBSC is the Employer Advisory Board (“EAB”) that serves to strengthen the relationship between the College and industry leaders.
All of these initiatives and events, launched over the past couple of years, stem from the belief in young people as the engines of positive changes with the target of driving Saudi economic development through empowering young people to initiate their own projects.
They also aimed at sharpening the skills of leadership, creativity, communication, planning, innovation, organization, and prioritization.
From the above, such initiatives are taking effect and collaborative entrepreneurship is getting significantly thriven and advanced.