Saudi Aramco and its Waed Center
Entrepreneurship is what drives economic growth in economies. Without entrepreneurs, job creation can be a painfully slow process and majority of the people will have to do without a job. All people in such a scenario will be rushing to fill in the few jobs available in government institutions. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is an example of what entrepreneurship can to a country. Through various entrepreneurship ventures, Saudi Arabia has been able not only to create jobs for its citizens but also for foreigners who work in this country in different positions and in various industries. There are about 40 entrepreneurship support organizations in Saudi Arabia. This is quite a high number and they have tripled n number since 2011 where there were only 11 of such organizations. These support organizations are based in the four major cities of KSA. Therefore, any person who wants help can easily access the required assistance to start a business and be another job creator in the economy. One of the organizations that support entrepreneurship in KSA is Saudi Aramco’s Entrepreneurship Center “Waed”.
Waed, Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm, is a branch of Saudi Aramco, which is the world’s largest oil company. Saudi Aramco even before establishing Waed, Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm, was already helping in entrepreneurship in the country. It has been at the fore front in helping the economy grow not only through oil but also through supporting other industries that complement the oil sector. To see the extent to which Saudi Aramco has helped in economic growth, one just needs to look at the economic status of Saudi Arabia in 1940s before the company was operational. The efforts that Saudi Aramco made to help the country develop and growth economically dates back to 1950s. It supported local industries to see that they excelled and created jobs for Saudi citizens. The success of local industries and other companies up to 1950s can be squarely laid to the work of Saudi Aramco. It played a role of supporting entrepreneurship in the country by working with local enterprises and seeing them up on their feet. Today, these enterprises are performing well and have created thousands of jobs. If Saudi Aramco did not play its part right at the start, then the country would still be in the same position. There are many countries across the world that have oil but lack any development due to lack of companies that support entrepreneurship. For instance, Nigeria has oil and fertile soils but it is still struggling with poverty because of corruption that kills entrepreneurship. If this country did not have Saudi Aramco, there is high probability that it would not be in the same position it is today.
Through its entrepreneurship center, Waed, Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm, Saudi Aramco has been able to demonstrate in the past few decades what entrepreneurship can do to an economy through diversification, innovation that eventually lead to job creation. It set a good model, which can and has been replicated in other countries to bring economic growth. For example, the city of Dubai was established on the same model and it worked wonders in transforming Dubai into one of the most visited cities in the world. Thus, even though Saudi Aramco’s main business is to deal with oil, it recognizes that the most important resource in any country is people. The people are the ones decide the destiny of a country. It does not matter how rich in natural resources a country is, if does not support entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship culture it destined to economically stagnate.
To continue supporting entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia, Saudi Aramco founded Waed, Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm in 2011. At the time that Waed Centre was being launched, only 11 such companies or organizations that were dedicated to supporting entrepreneurship existed. Therefore, Wa’ed, Aramco’s entrepreneurship arm was created to help entrepreneurial people who wanted to support whether monetary or in other form. This was also started also as part of its social responsibility initiative. The Waed center aims to continue contributing in economic growth through supporting start-ups and other entrepreneurship ventures. It based on the believing on potential of tomorrow by investing today through passionate entrepreneurs who have a rare resource bestowed to this country. Through, Waed Centre, Saudi Aramco is able to continue helping entrepreneurs establish or expand their ventures. It offers not only financial support but also gives guidance and tools that are paramount in nurturing entrepreneurs and their businesses.
Waed Center had been able to support more than 100 different entrepreneurial businesses in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since its launch. For example, Waed Center has successfully supported 13 industrial oil and gas projects, more than 3 projects in the entertainment and service sectors, 14 projects in the health sector, 6 projects in education sector among many more in energy, manufacturing, and technology sectors. This is quite a success since these businesses have been able to create jobs for other people. Consequently, they have helped improve the standards of living for people by contributing to economic development of the country. They are making a significant contribution towards Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030.
In conclusion, it through companies like Saudi Aramco and its Waed Center arm that entrepreneurship has excelled in KSA. If companies that support entrepreneurship are non-existent, brilliant ideas that are turned to multibillion business will go down the drain. Saudi Aramco has been a vital player in the economy and through its efforts, many other giant companies have been established. Jobs have been created and filled by Saudi citizens as well as foreigners who also help the economy grow. The government should continue support entrepreneurship by starting and supporting organizations that support entrepreneurs.