It’s hard to believe it’s already been 10 years.

In just a decade, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s (KSA) LiveWIRE programme has transformed Shell KSA into a driver of entrepreneurship for young people. LiveWIRE has become one of the most powerful and sustainable Social Investment programmes geared towards the development of human capital in KSA, with its numerous successes driving economic growth and rippling positive externalities throughout the country.

On November 29, 2019, a 10-year anniversary event was held to celebrate this decade of success. With the goal of enabling connections, showcasing the ingenuity of KSA LiveWIRE entrepreneurs, and demonstrating the positive social impact of programme activities, the event was a resounding celebration.

Guests began the evening with a tour of a fair set up to showcase KSA LiveWIRE alumni projects. More than 25 projects were on display, and guests had the opportunity to interact with entrepreneurs operating in diverse sectors, including industry, food & beverage, microbusinesses, IT, services, and more. After visiting the fair, attendees were invited into a reception hall for an evening of recollection, celebration, and knowledge-sharing. Notably, Ibrahim Al-Rashid, the CEO of the KSA Social Development Bank (SDB), spoke favourably about Shell’s in-country impact and signed an MOU promising support for current and future entrepreneurs. Access to funding will be provided for 200 entrepreneurs per year as the SDB looks “to step cooperation forward from strength to strength to empower Saudi startups and contribute [to] the realisation of the 2030 National Vision”. Likewise, Princess AlJawhera Bint Saud Al Saud, head of the King Salman Social Centre, highlighted the social impact created thanks to this fruitful collaboration: an incredible 1,200 entrepreneurs, 60% female, have accessed this programme in 11 cities throughout the Kingdom over the past 10 years. This includes support for 123 industrial businesses, 68 insolvent businesses and 480 microbusinesses.

November 29th’s festivities exist in the context of KSA’s LiveWIRE programme, known regionally as Intilaaqah (meaning Breakthrough in Arabic). Since its creation in 2009, Intilaaqah KSA has supported a vision of implementing sustainable social programmes in order to support entrepreneurship. This vision aligns with the programme’s mission of contributing to the KSA Vision 2030 National Plan by supporting SMEs to increase local content. Priority areas include encouraging creativity, empowering women, diversifying sources of income and combatting unemployment, and a special focus has been placed on the themes of energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Soliman Shoqabi, one of the runners up of the worldwide 2019 TTI competition, hails from KSA and embodies the qualities KSA Intilaaqah seeks in an entrepreneur. His company, Tecklee Factory was presented with a check as a prize for their innovations on the theme of the circular economy. With a staff of 25 employees, Tecklee Factory produces environmentally-friendly plastic products, ranging from shopping bags to waste bags to table covers. This business idea is helping to drive the trend of waste management in KSA, providing positive impact for customers and contributing to a sustainable future. Soliman attributes much of his success to the “continuous energetic support from Intilaaqah,” which has enabled him to launch, manage and grow his business over the past 7 years.

Be on the lookout for more from entrepreneurs like Soliman, who represent the upcoming generation of Intilaaqah alumni, and don’t forget to check out this video, which provides highlights from this eagerly-anticipated evening!