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British academy iUK has set up a program for young Saudis to thrive in the UK as entrepreneurs. The iUK Academy, an approved IOEE Enterprise Academy (Institute of Enterprise and Entrepreneurs) that supports people who aspire to launch scalable businesses in the UK, has offered insights into how emerging Saudi talent can turn entrepreneurial visions into reality.

Rupert Gather, chairman of the iUK Academy, told Arab News that the pandemic has inspired a great global reset. Aspirations were one element but, to be successful, several factors ought to be taken into consideration when assessing the potential of a business endeavor.

“Courses such as the iUK Academy’s workshop, The Entrepreneurship Experience, are therefore invaluable as it enables aspiring entrepreneurs to develop a high-level strategy to ensure that they have the necessary skills and knowledge to help execute a successful business in the UK,” he said.

Ahmed Al-Suhaimi, a Saudi partner for a creative agency, liked the idea of having an operation in another country.

“This would give us creative boutique services providers a needed advantage when trying to secure contracted work. Most of the time, international agencies get all the lucrative contracts due to the fact that the locals don’t have an international presence.”

According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 94.7 percent of Saudi nationals aged between 18 and 24 consider entrepreneurship to be a “good career choice.”

Many foreign students, including those from the Kingdom, study in the UK. Forbes recently named London the best city in the world to be a young entrepreneur, and the World Bank ranked the UK eighth for ease of doing business.

The academy has developed practical advice to get young Saudi entrepreneurs started. First, developing viable ideas to have a competitive advantage and an idea that focuses on solving a problem, is essential.

Second, is having a pitch because convincing is key. A thorough business plan should be able to explain to potential investors where the opportunity lies, why it is worth investing in, and how it is providing something that competitors in the market cannot offer.

The program also sets out how managing fundraising is key to launching a business and attracting investors, and addresses methods of securing financing for a business, such as crowdfunding and microloans.

It explains how, for a business to thrive, having a team to rely on is essential. A team can handle various aspects of a business, including operations, finance and legal.

Tech-savvy innovators and entrepreneurs have become comfortable with social media and handling online campaigns as social media is a sound strategy to raise awareness. Every market is different commercially and culturally, and the UK is no exception, so understanding how to achieve frictionless market entry is important.

Another consideration is knowing the tax regulations that must be noted and abided by in the UK, such as personal tax, business tax, or compliance issues relating to setting up a company.

“I always wanted to have a business in the UK. I love being in London, but I never knew how to look into what to do and the considerations of working in the UK market. These tips are very objective and make a lot of sense. It puts it into a neat microscope to know what to keep in mind,” said Khalid Al-Ateeq, a Saudi CEO of a publishing house.


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