• The future of business is on the agenda of the commercial forum's activities.


    The future of business is on the agenda of the commercial forum's activities.

    On behalf of His Royal Highness Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Prince of the Eastern Province, His Excellency Turki bin Abdullah Al Tamimi, Deputy Governor of the Eastern Province, inaugurated the activities of the 2024 Commercial Forum titled "Future of Business," organized by the Asharqia Chamber. This took place yesterday, Monday, February 19, 2024. The event focused on the continuous growth in the business sector and its implications for future sectoral trajectories.


    The forum witnessed a large attendance of government officials, a select group of local and international businessmen, academics, as well as experts and enthusiasts in the commercial sector.

    His Excellency toured the exhibition accompanying the forum and honored the companies and institutions sponsoring the forum, as well as the speakers and the Governor of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, Sami bin Ibrahim Al-Husseini. During his keynote dialogue session at the forum, chaired by Badr bin Suleiman Al-Razizah, The Chairman of the Asharqia Chamber, Al-Husseini stated that the Kingdom has begun rapidly diversifying its non-oil economy. He emphasized that the Kingdom has launched an ambitious and accelerated path to become a leader in all fields.


    Al-Husseini pointed out that many establishments have recently focused on developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and empowering them by improving their access to financing. He noted that the facilities provided to establishments reached nearly 268 billion Saudi riyals by the end of the third quarter of the previous year, accounting for 8.7% of total financing. He highlighted that the Kingdom has jumped to the second position globally in the entrepreneurship index, up from 41st place in 2018. Additionally, he mentioned that the number of establishments reached about 1.3 million by the end of last year, creating job opportunities for over 6.9 million people.


    Regarding the efforts of Monsha'at in supporting entrepreneurs in the e-commerce sector, Al-Husseini explained that Monsha'at has established training programs and specialized workshops in this field. He mentioned the e-commerce tours conducted by the authority in more than 14 cities and regions around the Kingdom, benefiting over 12,000 visitors. Additionally, more than 125 workshops were held, providing over 1300 consultancy hours. Furthermore, special offers and packages for e-commerce services were presented by service providers, with over 52 offers during the tour, benefiting 4022 existing establishments.


    Regarding the Eastern Province, Al-Husseini stated that there has been significant growth in the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the region, reaching around 141,000 by the fourth quarter of 2023. He highlighted that it ranks third in terms of the number of SMEs, with over one million employees in the Eastern Province.


    On his part, Al-Razizah expressed his gratitude and appreciation to the Governor of the Eastern Province for his sponsorship and presence at the 2024 Commercial Forum. He affirmed that the forum is an attempt by the chamber to shed light on a sector that is among the top priorities of Vision 2030. This is achieved through creating an effective environment for communication and gathering opinions, ideas, and necessary insights to enhance the role of the private sector as a partner in the national economy, develop its investment partnership tools in national projects, and maximize the principle of sustainability in business operations.


    Al-Razizah stated that the commercial sector represents one of the most important growth tools that increase available investment opportunities, enhance competitive capabilities, and encourage innovation while creating stable job opportunities. It is the true indicator of growth and the greatest enabler for advancing sustainable economic development. He pointed out the significant growth in the commercial sector amidst the state of economic activity and diverse projects witnessed by the country, supported by the unlimited backing from the wise leadership. This growth reflects continuous development in improving the business environment and simplifying startup procedures, where the Kingdom ranks first globally according to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) report for the year 2023, maintaining this position since the 2022 report.


    Al-Razizah emphasized that the forum includes discussions and topics aimed at promoting the role of the private sector as a fundamental partner in the national economy and enhancing cooperation and communication among relevant entities and commercial entrepreneurs from the region. Additionally, it aims to raise awareness about investment opportunities provided by the sector within the current vibrant environment of the national economy.


    On this part, Hani bin Hassan Al-Afaleq, The Chairman of the Commercial Committee at the Asharqia Chamber, stated that as a result of the comprehensive visions and ambitious programs of Vision 2030 for the national economy, focusing on diversification and optimal utilization of available resources, innovation, and entrepreneurship, the Kingdom has witnessed unprecedented economic growth and active dynamics at all levels. This has been reflected in the commercial sector, where the Kingdom has achieved significant qualitative leaps in various associated indicators such as capital cost index, trade exchange, consumer price inflation index, legislation support index for establishing companies, as well as in the annual Global Competitiveness Report, where the Kingdom ranked third among the G20 countries and 17th globally.

    Al-Razizah highlighted the significant transformation currently witnessed by businesses in the Kingdom, whether in terms of improving the business environment, facilitating commercial activities, digital transformation, or the substantial growth in the number of commercial enterprises. According to the Ministry of Commerce, the total number of registered commercial records in the Kingdom has exceeded one million and 350 thousand.


    He emphasized that the Asharqia Chamber holds this forum, recognizing the importance of forward-looking analysis of customer behavior trends in light of the continuous rise of e-commerce and its impact on the future of business. Additionally, the forum underscores the importance of continued dialogue and its role in harnessing competition values and sustainability principles as key strategies for success, excellence, and business enhancement.


    During the first session chaired by Ali bin Saeed Al-Marisal, a member of the Commercial Committee at the Chamber, the forum addressed customer behavior trends and their impact on the future of businesses. The session featured discussions by Abdulrahman Al-Olayan, Co-founder and CEO of Nice One, and Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Ghamdi, Head of Customer Experience. Participants discussed ongoing and expected changes in customer behavior and their implications for the success and growth of businesses. They stressed the importance of technology and its influence on customer behavior, pointing out that modern technologies are available but require effective investment to enhance and develop businesses through the services they provide to their customers.


    Participants emphasized that entrepreneurs must always listen to the voice of the customer, especially the disgruntled customer, evaluate it, and capitalize on it to generate ideas that may help improve and refine their work.


    Regarding the impact of technology on customer behavior, participants noted that purchasing decisions have become easier for customers, but sometimes they can be challenging, which is linked to product or service quality and competitive pricing. They explained that the market has become open, and entrepreneurs must keep pace with market trends and price fluctuations, or else they risk falling behind and being unable to compete.



    In the second session, chaired by Abdullah bin Khalid Al-Zamil, CEO of Raz Amwal, the importance of competition and sustainability strategies in the success of entrepreneurs was discussed. The speakers emphasized that the Saudi market is highly competitive due to the expansion and growth it is experiencing. They pointed out that this competitiveness requires more innovative ideas and out-of-the-box thinking to introduce non-traditional ideas through offering products that meet consumer needs. They explained that competition remains one of the most important factors determining success but is multi-faceted and cannot be limited to just price competition, which may be effective in the short term but could have a negative impact on profitability in the long run. They stressed that competition should also include providing the best value with high-quality products or services, where the product's features, whether in design, manufacturing quality, or warranty, differentiate it among competitive products.


    In the third and final session chaired by investor and podcast host Mashhour bin Abdullah Al-Dubaian, the role of innovation and creativity in enhancing project efficiency was discussed. The speakers emphasized the importance of continuous development in work and thinking from different perspectives to achieve profits. They highlighted the necessity of understanding and coordinating departments to execute business plans according to the highest standards and increase profits across all business sectors.


    They explained that business operations rely on teamwork and collaboration, emphasizing the importance of harmony between marketing and sales departments to increase team productivity and company profits. They also stressed the importance of avoiding emotional attachment in business operations and abandoning any products or services that may incur losses for the company or fail to achieve the desired results due to such emotional attachment.















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