Shell LiveWIRE programmes worldwide understand the critical importance in helping aspiring entrepreneurs refine their business ideas, shape their business plans, and begin to scale. We also know that access to finance can be a significant barrier to growing a business.
Shell Intilaaqah KSA, LiveWIRE’s programme in Saudi Arabia, has worked to ensure its entrepreneur cohorts have access both to the classroom – where they gain invaluable skills and knowledge – and to capital often times needed to back those ideas. Key to this is Intilaaqah KSA’s partnership with the Deem Al-Manahal Fund and the Al-Rajahi Humanitarian Fund and its 100 Business Opportunities programme, a unique financing opportunity to help 100 entrepreneurs across the Kingdom to grow their businesses.
The Deem Al-Manahl Fund, an NGO working under the Al-Anoud charitable association, nominates candidates for the programme. The Deem Al-Manahal Fund is one of Saudi Arabia’s leading NGOs. Powered by Princess Madawi Bent Mesaad Bent Abdulaziz, the fund focuses primarily on empowering Saudi women to be entrepreneurs.
Those nominees then complete the Intilaaqah KSA training programme, which includes workshops on developing a business plan, refining their business model, and in-depth coaching sessions.
As entrepreneurs complete the programme, Intilaaqah KSA nominates 20 promising candidates to receive interest-free loans for up to seven years through the Al-Rajahi Humanitarian Association and the Deem Al-Manahal Fund. This year, seven nominees received funding valued at nearly 12 million SR.
Four pre-existing businesses – all led by women – each received an average of 300,000 SR and include:
- Boudoor Bashamil, Ba’a Bakery: An expert bakery, Boudoor Bashamil provides a wide range of cookies and baked goods
- Sara Al-Dossary, Koun Makerspace: Sara Al-Dossary was working in IT at the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology when she developed the idea for Koun MakerSpace, a makerspace focused solely on women in Saudi Arabia.
- Haifa Al-Muqran, Mummy Station: Haifa Al-Muqran’s online platform gives parents across Saudi Arabia an easy, affordable way to buy baby supplies from the comfort of their home.
- Ghada Al-Mudaihaish, PUZZLE: This business not only provides a curated selection of furniture but also offers interior decorator services for households looking for
Haifa Al-Muqran said she was grateful for Intilaaqah KSA’s support in helping her secure this funding.
“I believe this will be good start for my business,” she said. “Thank you, Intilaaqah, for enabling me to prepare a solid business plan. This business plan was necessary to get the fund and to help me to address the right road map for my business.”
Women’s empowerment is one of Intilaaqah KSA’s key objectives, and the programme is committed to helping Saudi women become entrepreneurs.
“I’m excited to see four Intilaaqah alumni funded by the Deem Al-Manahel Fund,” said Mohammed Abusaif, Shell Intilaaqah KSA programme manager. “ Intilaaqah is always keen to contribute to the empowerment of Saudi women.”
Additionally, three newly created business startups received a combined 9.8 million SR to help kickstart their businesses.
- Abdulaziz Qahtani, Bee Life: This startup uses white honey to produce candies and desserts without any artificial sugar.
- Khaled Alamroud, Entertainment Village: Khaled Alamroud’s entertainment village will feature a water park, gardens, coffee shops, and more with a particular focus on youth in Riyadh.
- Noura Alsubaity, Fashions Designs: Noura Alsubaity’s business provides custom clothing tailored for Saudi women’s needs.
Affordable capital is only one ingredient to helping these businesses succeed. That’s why Intilaaqah and its partners will provide these seven businesses with mentors familiar with the industry and with business operations over the next two years.