SEDCO Holding, in partnership with Operation HOPE, hosted the first annual Youth Financial Dignity Summit under the banner of “Money and Hopes” on Monday (March 17, 2014) at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI). The summit was under SEDCO Holding’s Riyali Financial Literacy Program.
The event coincided with Global Money Week (March 10-17, 2014) – a worldwide celebration empowering children to be confident, responsible and skilled economic citizens around 117 countries.
Speakers from both the Saudi private and government sectors presented topics and discussed benefits of financial literacy at a young age. Workshops were also conducted to further drive home the value of the summit to both the individuals and the nation’s economy as a whole.
According to the latest poll conducted by the Riyali Financial Literacy Program of 1,000 youth, some 50% of those surveyed believe that workshops and guest speaker rounds are the best ways to learn financial skills needed to start and run a business, yet they are not aware of any local resources that provide such knowledge.
The survey also noted that though 38% believe that preparing a business plan is the first thing that they will do when they decide to start their own business, 62% don’t possess adequate financial knowledge to do that.
Moreover, 50% of respondents believe that the biggest challenge they will face if they decide to start their own business will be financial.
What’s more, 15% want to start their own business after graduation, nonetheless, they don’t have the financial knowledge required to prepare a business plan and forecast their business.
Finally, 56% expressed a desire to partner with someone or to take from their savings in order to start their own business, while only 17% explained that they would obtain a bank loan to do that.
The summit drew the active participation of senior SEDCO officials, along with CEO and founder of Operation HOPE John Hope Bryant, and other Saudi financial luminaries including Dr. Fuad Merdad, deputy director of Research Endowment Fund at King Abdulaziz University, Dr. Naif Mutawa’a, a globally recognized social entrepreneur and
Thamer Al Fatooshi.
Anees Moumina, SEDCO Holding Group CEO, said, “The Riyali Financial Literacy Program, which has achieved great success in a brief period of time, is the first of several initiatives within the efforts of the Capital Market Authority aimed at educating the community on financial literacy.”
Dr. Merdad spoke about the Research Endowment Fund’s importance in the development and support of research projects and funding of scientific studies and applied research and programs that serve the community and address economic, scientific, social and health problems and at the same time contribute to its development.
He explained that the Fund includes a number of training courses with Riyali’s Financial Literacy Program at the forefront, aimed at raising students’ awareness of the basics of planning a personal budget and achieving financial independence through effective budgeting schemes that lead to a good life without financial worries.
Amr Banaja, VP of marketing and corporate communications at SEDCO Holding Group, stressed the fact that financial literacy is a global issue with the governments, NGOs and central banks taking the appropriate actions. Noting that Global Money Week is a good platform to raise awareness of financial literacy, he added that the movement fosters readiness among youth, creates the next entrepreneurs and helps create investment opportunities, too.
“This is important for the Saudi economy given our current strong dependence on government jobs and the number of youth entering the labor market that need to become financially independent,” he further said.
Commenting on his topic, “Riyali Program Launch and Prospects”, Dr. Kamal Abdeulaal “Riyali Program Launch and Prospects”, confirmed that the program is one of SEDCO Holding’s most important CSR programs. It aims to enrich financial literacy awareness for the Saudi community, as it introduces tools to youth to better manage and plan their finances. It also aimed to improve their financial skills and further increase their knowledge that will enable them to handle their responsibilities.”
He also said the program succeeded in spreading financial literacy between students in universities in its first stage and then to kids during its second stage, which was conducted through coordination with the Ministry of Education. It produced positive results and had a great impact, he added. And to have a wider mainstream effect, the program was incorporated in social media, backed by an application for hand-held devices. Moreover, he said other methods are adopted to expand the program’s community reach.
John Hope Bryant, CEO and founder of Operation HOPE, underscored the importance of asserting financial dignity and literacy at the global level in order to contribute to the creation of economic growth, pointing out that “Operation HOPE” has for more than 20 years paid great interest to the underprivileged through carrying out many free projects. “This contributed to the spread of financial literacy culture and success across segments of society.”
Naif Al-Mutawa spoke about doing well by doing good. He recounted the 4 entrepreneurial journeys that he had experienced:
(1) A series of children’s books that promote tolerance that won an award form UNESCO.
(2) An award winning global television franchise called The 99 that has changed how Islam is being perceived globally.
(3) Soor Center, the largest private mental health clinic in the Middle East that was started to challenge the laws in Kuwait.
(4) Terkeez, a brain training center, meant to deal with the underlying causes of childrens’ inability to focus by taking the focus off of the subjects and putting focus on the underlying mechanisms of the brain.
He also shared his other life odysseys, like raising capital, formulating business models, creating jobs and making social impact. The businesses he has launched have created over 1,000 jobs on four continents and have been globally recognized by the UN, the World Economic Forum and even the world leaders.
Thamer Al-Farshooti showcased his success story after he left his job in the Air Force and worked in a hotel and then opened an Internet cafe where he faced numerous losses including having had to sell his car, leaving him only SR300, which he used to begin his successful career as a businessman.
Ahmed Al Hassani
Sr. Media Relations Manager
Memac Ogilvy & Mather
T: (00966) 2 651 0704 ext. 301