Mastercard SME Confidence Index: 85% of SMEs in Saudi Arabia project similar or increased revenue in 2023

September 25, 2023 | Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
  • Saudi Arabia reports the highest confidence levels among SMEs in the MENA region at 93%
  • Future growth will be driven by digitizing businesses, omnichannel payments and access to training and development support


Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; 25 September 2023: From surviving to thriving in the post-COVID world, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are optimistic about 2023 revenue projections. These are the findings of the second edition of the Mastercard Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa (EEMEA) SME Confidence Index.

The 2021 inaugural SME Confidence Index delved into the impact of the pandemic on SMEs across sectors, products and services, and how they are embracing a digital future. As a continuation, the second edition of the survey reveals that while SMEs across the Kingdom are confident about business growth, omnichannel payments present the biggest opportunity.

As companies recover from the pandemic and return to the normalization and growth phase, the research shows that 85% of SMEs in Saudi Arabia project similar or increased revenue in 2023.

“It is encouraging to see that SMEs in Saudi Arabia report the highest confidence in the MENA region. Mastercard is actively contributing to building a robust and sustainable SME ecosystem in the Kingdom. In collaboration with local partners, we develop unique payment solutions that help small businesses grow and scale,” said Adam Jones, Country General Manager, MENA Central, Mastercard.

SMEs in Saudi Arabia are the most optimistic in MENA about this year, followed by Qatar and the UAE

Leading the MENA region, 93% of SMEs in Saudi Arabia are confident about business growth this year compared to 2022.

The survey highlights top three areas for support required by SMEs in MENA – training and upskilling staff (93%), access to a wider range of financial services (92%) and better telco infrastructure (91%). Other areas of support that SMEs indicated include better data and insights, mentoring by industry experts and access to a wider range of financial services.

Earlier this year, Mastercard launched the second season of ‘Her Voice’ podcast to inspire the next generation of female entrepreneurs and changemakers across Saudi Arabia and the wider region. The podcast features a diverse range of inspiring Saudi female pioneers, innovators, and business leaders, spotlighting their groundbreaking achievements.

To further empower SMEs across the Kingdom, Mastercard partnered with SAB to offer a grand prize worth US$30,000 to a female entrepreneur – who was also featured in the final episode of ‘Her Voice’ – to develop and scale her business. Meanwhile, the top 15 nominees will get to attend an SME masterclass co-hosted by the two partners.

Access to omnichannel payment services among top drivers of growth

SMEs in Saudi Arabia have identified accepting omnichannel digital payments (99%), digitizing business operations (98%) and access to training and development support (96%) as the main drivers of growth.

Adoption of digital payment solutions is on the rise in Saudi Arabia, with 89% of consumers in the Kingdom having used at least one emerging payment method in the last year. Mastercard works as a trusted partner of the Saudi government to enable small businesses to go digital, driving economic equality and inclusive prosperity. The company has pledged to connect 50 million SMEs worldwide to the digital economy by 2025. 

Additionally, in April this year, Mastercard partnered with Women Choice, an international organization dedicated to advancing women’s personal and professional development, to launch ‘Social Innovation Incubator For Women’s Employment’ to provide comprehensive support for women entrepreneurs and create one million jobs for women across MENA, supporting economic growth and development in the region.

Mastercard leverages its extensive network, state-of-the-art technology, and global partnerships to help SMEs to adapt to changing commercial environments and new spending patterns. The company works with governments and the private sector to build synergies that advance financial inclusion and motivates consumers and merchants to support small businesses.

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA)

Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

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