Big Opportunities for Saudi SMEs
Here’s a big number – $960 billion.
According to MEED Projects, $960 billion is the total value of projects planned or under way in Saudi Arabia. This number means big opportunities for the 1.8 million small and medium enterprises in the Kingdom.
While you would normally think of large contractors and multinationals when talking about large projects, there’s actually a critical role that SMEs can play in executing these projects.
That because each one of these power plants or oil & gas facilities or other type of development is built from thousands or millions of individual parts, many of which are made, or can be made, in Saudi Arabia. Many of the companies that can supply these parts are SMEs.
No matter if these new projects are in the power, infrastructure, industrial and metal sectors, water and wastewater, oil & gas or petrochemicals/refining sectors, they all require locally sourced parts that are essential to the seamless execution of the projects.
Examples of the types of parts and equipment required, include steel structures, fixtures, turbine casings, tanks, wind generator frames, exhaust stacks, flex hoses, valves, air coolers, control cabinets, cabling power distribution panels, medium voltage switchgear, for fabrication works, piping, fluid systems and electrical works.
Integrating SMEs in the project supply chain is not just good for the projects, it also supports the Kingdom’s economic diversification and job creation goals. That’s why Wa’ed, which is the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center Company, and GE organized the just-concluded Saudi Supplier Conference.
More than 200 SMEs and entrepreneurs from the Kingdom attended the event, coming from sectors such as manufacturing, energy, power, aviation, transport and healthcare.
GE President and Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Immelt and Wa’ed Managing Director Jamal Naboulsi spoke at the conference. Immelt said that GE manufacturing is always linked through a carefully integrated network of suppliers and sub-suppliers. In Saudi Arabia he said, “We devote our resources to consistently strengthening the value chain. Our focus on working with local partners will further contribute to boosting the economy by creating new jobs and promoting new enterprises that can potentially be part of our global supply chain,” he said.
As a major partner to Saudi Arabia’s development, GE manufacturing in the Kingdom requires a robust supplier network of local companies. One facility served by this supplier network is the GE Manufacturing Technology Center in Dammam. This facility’s Saudi employees manufacture advanced equipment for the power, water and oil & gas industries, and they service and repair advanced turbine equipment coming from 30 countries. The center also provides specialized training to hundreds of Saudi workers every year.
The Saudi Supplier Conference is one aspect of a strategic partnership agreement signed last year by GE and Saudi Aramco to support Wa’ed in incubating new businesses, especially in the small- and medium-enterprises sector. GE also will partner with the SMEs that are nurtured by Wa’ed to develop their competencies as potential suppliers to the company in the energy sector.
For more than 80 years, GE has been a partner to Saudi Arabia. For more on the company’s support to the Kingdom’s economic diversification and job creation efforts, click here.