Saudi tries to tempt start-ups with entrepreneur licences

Saudi Arabia says it will issue licences for foreign entrepreneurs to set up businesses in a new city north of Jeddah.

The King Abdullah Economic City, which is under construction by Dubai-listed Emaar Properties, is expected to be larger than Washington DC and to provide a million jobs.

“Preference will be given to applicants holding patents, providing innovative services, representing a business activity new to Saudi Arabia, and who support one of the kingdom’s strategic sectors,” said a statement from Monsha’at, an authority for small and medium enterprises.

Saudi Arabia is hoping to promote entrepreneurial activity to help diversify its economy away from petrochemicals – part of an ambitious development plan known as Vision 2030.

Monsha’at said licensees would benefit from a range of supporting services including fee exemptions and discounts to stimulate growth in the new city.

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