If you are contemplating where to open your next startup, the Saudi Arabia Kingdom could be an incredible opportunity. In 2005, Saudi Arabia joined the World Trade Organization and modernized its trade policy. Nowadays, you can see a reflection of global practice and foreign investment, making it an ideal place to establish investments. The government has opened several opportunities for international entrepreneurs and has opened its doors to foreign tourism. So, these features make it an even better place to launch a startup.
There are numerous social and economic advantages for startups in Saudi Arabia, for instance, the ease of doing business, openness to foreign capital, lack of income tax on foreigners’ salaries (if applicable), diversification from oil dependency, modern business practices, high standards in healthcare and education, friendly locals, lowest crime rates, among others.
On the other hand, Saudi Arabia has created NEOM, an investment zone with USD 500 billion in funding. The area is looking to invest in energy, biotechnology, digital sciences, manufacturing, media, and entertainment. NEOM is part of the commitment of Saudi Arabia to boost international capital investment.
##Deciding on a market for your startup
Foreign investors in Saudi Arabia have several opportunities to establish a startup in emerging industries, such as education, healthcare, finance, technology, entertainment, service for pilgrims, and food products. As part of the Saudi Vision 2020 initiative, there is a burgeoning market for tourist-related services. Moreover, millions of tourists are expected to visit the country in the next few years.
##Examples of successful startups
Thanks to the favorable conditions in Saudi Arabia, entrepreneurs have taken advantage of and started to create startups. The most recognizable examples are:
ACWA Power: A power generator developer established in 2004 focused on renewable energy.
Fordeal: a marketplace for lifestyle products established in 2017.
Lendo: a peer-to-peer platform focused on debt financing for small companies established in 2019.
Jahez: a food delivery app that connects restaurants, logistics, and meal orders launched in 2016.
Nana: an online grocery service established in 2016.
PayTabs: a B2B online payment solution provider.
Red Sea Farms: an agriculture technology startup that uses salt water to enhance commercial crop production.
Salla: a platform helping entrepreneurs set up an Arab e-commerce business.
##How to set up a startup in Saudi Arabia
Once you decide on the market and the type of business you want to establish, you need to check the mandatory licenses and permits, so you can operate in Saudi Arabia. We recommend checking with a local lawyer to know the specifics of your business. Still, you will generally be required to lease business premises or collaborate with a local service agent.
After that, you need an investment license from the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority (SAGIA). You must apply for a commercial registration certificate, Articles of Association (AOA), and Memorandum of Association (MOA). These documents are available at the Ministry of Commerce and Investment. Also, remember that you require a Saudi Bank account, notarize the articles of association and give SAGIA copies of the ID, passport, and address details of directors and shareholders. Once you complete these steps and obtain the mandatory visa, we are sure your startup will be ready to operate. Saudi Arabia is waiting for you.
##Saudi Arabia eVisa
Before dreaming about opening your startup in Saudi Arabia, you should visit the country and see how the business works with your own eyes. In this case, you will need the [Saudi Arabia eVisa]. This official document permits your entry for tourism purposes. Once you decide you want to invest, you must contact the Saudi Arabia embassy and confirm the visa you require in that case. Don’t worry; **iVisa** can provide all the tools to process this electronic visa.
Complete an online form with your data and have your valid passport. The visa will be emailed to you, so show it to Saudi Arabia immigration officers for hassle-free entry. Customer service agents can help you with any questions you might have along the way. The platform will process your application, and the visa will be yours soon. Saudi Arabia is an incredible tourist destination and the perfect place to start your investment. Travel now!