WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Global Entrepreneurship Network announced that it is opening a new affiliate in Saudi Arabia to promote economic growth and help entrepreneurs start and scale new businesses. Jeff Hoffman, member of the GEN Board of Directors, and Dr. Ghassan Al-Sulaiman, Governor of Small And Medium Enterprises Authority, signed the agreement during the visit of U.S. President Donald J. Trump to the Kingdom.
With the country’s surge in international rankings for entrepreneurship, GEN Saudi Arabia will provide an important bridge between the country’s startup ecosystem and GEN’s global network in more than 170 countries.
“GEN’s work in more than 170 countries can provide valuable insights to Saudi-led initiatives to expand the Kingdom’s entrepreneurial capacity,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of the Global Entrepreneurship Network. “The need for more new and diverse firms acknowledged in the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 goals, is a common objective among most economies today. GEN Saudi Arabia will be able to pull best-in-class research and programs from the collective knowledge and insights of dozens of similar economies facing the same challenges where GEN operates.”
GEN Saudi Arabia is made possible through a partnership with the Small and Medium Enterprises Authority, and following the signing of the agreement, the official advisory board and appointment of the managing director will be announced later this year.
GEN Global has identified several areas where it plans to expand its work in Saudi Arabia, including the expansion of Global Entrepreneurship Week celebrations in the Kingdom – an initiative to expose more citizens in Saudi Arabia to their potential as entrepreneurs and founders. GEN will also continue to provide support for various global business plan competitions in Saudi Arabia – including Get in the Ring, Creative Business Cup, Future Agro Challenge, as well as the use of GEN’s competition platform, Startup Compete, for any Saudi-led competitions.
GEN will also focus on expanding the involvement of Saudi Arabia in the Global Entrepreneurship Research Network – a collaboration of entrepreneurship research institutions such as the Kauffman Foundation, Nesta, Endeavor Insight and the World Bank Group – which is dedicated to finding evidence-based solutions and analysis tailored to the region’s needs. Future collaborative research efforts might include peer reviewed programmatic research analysis, new studies to better understand the entrepreneurial mindset, and deepening our understanding of the factors required for vibrant angel communities in the Gulf states.
GEN provides a platform of programs and initiatives that help align a varied collection of players, programs and information to better support entrepreneurship. GEN Saudi Arabia will provide national leadership in the effort by: convening and connecting ecosystem players to a global network; amplifying outreach and increasing awareness; evaluating and endorsing tried and tested programs; serving as a source of quantifiable data and qualitative information; and acting as a hub for sharing knowledge and experience.