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Small-scale factories to encourage Saudi women investors

Published 27 Aug,2020 via Asharq Alawsat (English Edition) - Seeking to empower women entrepreneurship in the industrial sector, the Saudi Organization for Industrial Estates and Technology Zones (MODON) announced plans to establish fully equipped small-scale factories that sit on top of 200 square meters each.

MODON Director-General Khaled Al-Salem revealed that the plan for launching these model factories will start in April next year in Dammam, eastern Saudi Arabia.

Salem said the shift towards smaller factories followed claims laid by businesswomen who complained that ready-made factories were too big and exceed the size of their businesses.

In a virtual workshop hosted by Asharqia Chambers, Salem confirmed that the new factories will resolve the issues presented by businesswomen, and noted that a host of incentives have been secured to empower and increase female investment in the industrial sector.

With a modest 1% of total sector investments, the presence of businesswomen in the industrial sector is still weak, Salem pointed out. He explained that Saudi women investors still believe that the sector is reserved for major capital investors who can withstand market instabilities.

As for women labor in Saudi factories, the MODON chief said that the number of Saudi women working in the industrial sector had reached 17,000 in 2019.

“There are very successful experiences of some factories in providing a suitable environment for women to work,” Salem said.

When asked by Asharq Al-Awsat about the ability of factories to overcome the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Salem stated that MODON factories have benefited greatly in the past period.

“Paying rents has become better than it was before the pandemic,” he said.

Factories focused on producing building materials, according to Salem, have particularly improved with the new housing programs.

Salem also revealed that MODON is working on methods to fast track women investor’s participation in the industrial sector.

He stressed that the industrial sector offers very promising opportunities to women, whether investors or laborers.

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