Saudi Bank for Social Development allocates $3.5 billion to self-employed and ‘productive’ families

RIYADH: The Social Development Bank of Saudi Arabia has disbursed around SR13.2 billion ($3.5 billion) in loans to self-employed and productive families, supporting 342,000 beneficiaries, as the lender seeks to increase their contribution to the national economy.

This brings the bank’s total funding since it started lending to SR138 billion while benefiting over 3 million citizens, Aleqtisadiah reported.

SDB CEO Ibrahim Al-Rashid said the bank continues to support the role of productive families and self-employment, as it is important to promote local products and improve the quality of life of citizens.

The Saudi lender organizes its exhibition Souq Addar to promote “micro-enterprises” in 36 cities. The exhibition provides a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their handmade and unique products until October 7, while helping the bank promote its products locally and internationally.

Al-Rashid, who inaugurated the event, confirmed that there is an expansion of support for freelancers and micro-enterprises.

SBD’s head of product and program development, Shereen Al-Abdulrahman, told Arab News that the bank hopes to allow companies to grow enough to participate in regional and international exhibitions.

The Souq Addar exhibition aims to explore other avenues for families to benefit from development opportunities and resources through the voluntary sector.

Saeed Al-Zahrani, Advisor to the CEO, added that organizing such events reinforces the bank’s great efforts to promote family products locally and internationally, as well as finance and support productive families in various fields.

In March, the SDB announced at the Gulf Entrepreneurship Congress in Riyadh that it would allocate more than SR11 billion ($2.9 billion) to support more than 680,000 entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia.

The bank supports numerous financing, training and sponsorship programs for entrepreneurs to help them develop their projects, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The SDB has also signed several agreements with strategic partners to provide training to Saudi entrepreneurs.

Additionally, in March, it signed a SR1.1 billion funding agreement with car-sharing company Careem to provide 7,500 job opportunities for Saudi drivers.

Under the agreement, financing of SR 150,000 will be offered for each driver’s vehicle, in small installments for a period of three years, Alarabiya reported.

Joel C. Hicks