NEOM initiative aims to help Saudi craftspeople develop their businesses

Among the craft sectors targeted by the NEOM initiative are embroidery and fashion, jewelry making and traditional Bedouin weaving. (SPA)
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Updated 18 June 2021

NEOM initiative aims to help Saudi craftspeople develop their businesses

  • Craft+ runs for two weeks with the aim of empowering and supporting home businesses and micro-enterprises

JEDDAH: A new initiative in NEOM and Tabuk is providing financial support and training to help people working in the local crafts sector develop their businesses.

Craft+ was launched this month by NEOM’s Social Responsibility Program and the Dulani Business Center, a key Social Development Bank program. It runs for two weeks with the aim of empowering and supporting home businesses and micro-enterprises, and providing development and training assistance to help local craftspeople improve the efficiency of their operations and contribute to the development and sustainability of business in the Kingdom. This is in line with the aims of the NEOM megacity project and Saudi Vision 2030.

Craft sectors targeted by the initiative include embroidery and fashion, jewelry making, painting and sculpture, sadu (traditional Bedouin weaving), palm industries and the manufacturing of perfume and incense.

The program concludes with a five-day bazaar in Tabuk Park Mall that will begin on June 18 and be open from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. each day. Items made by the participants will be on show to raise awareness of the importance of local crafts, and available to buy.

The initiative is taking place under the auspices of NEOM’s Social Responsibility Program, which aims to empower local communities to unlock their potential, preserve their culture and heritage, contribute to the economic growth of NEOM, and succeed in the work environment of the future. It aims to achieve this by 2025 through transformational educational and training programs, entrepreneurial and employment initiatives, and community development efforts.

NEOM also recently launched an initiative designed to provide employment opportunities for local residents, and aims to provide training and upskilling programs to at least 7,000 people by 2025. Since 2020, NEOM has also provided training in the English language and information technology to more than 1,000 residents of the surrounding areas.

The Social Responsibility Program has also organized a series of workshops, in collaboration with the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and Think Tech, to enhance digital literacy and increase digital awareness.

In January Saudi authorities announced that a huge zero-carbon smart city will be built at NEOM in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The project, called The Line, will be home to a million people and have no cars and or roads.

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides

Updated 1 min 15 sec ago

King Salman sends cable of condolences to Indian president after landslides

RIYADH: King Salman sent a cable of condolences and sympathy to the president of India after 115 people died in monsoon-triggered landslides and building collapses.
More than 135,000 people have been evacuated and dozens are still missing.
In the cable to Ram Nath Kovind, the king said “We share the pain of this affliction with you and we send you, the families of the deceased and your people, our deepest condolences and sincere sympathy.”
He also expressed his wishes that the missing would return safely.
Torrential downpours have lashed India’s western coast in recent days, sparking landslides near the financial capital Mumbai and causing the worst floods in decades in the resort state of Goa.

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

Updated 24 July 2021

Saudi Arabia announces 14 more COVID-19 deaths

  • The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom has increased to 497,965
  • A total of 8,155 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia announced 14 deaths from COVID-19 and 1,256 new infections on Saturday.
Of the new cases, 280 were recorded in Riyadh, 244 in Makkah, 170 in the Eastern Province, 150 in Asir, 107 in Jazan, 59 in Madinah, 47 in Hail, 41 in Najran, 25 in the Northern Borders region, 23 in Tabuk, 21 in Al-Baha, and six in Al-Jouf.
The total number of recoveries in the Kingdom increased to 497,965 after 1,155 more patients recovered from the virus.
A total of 8,155 people have succumbed to the virus in the Kingdom so far.
Over 24 million doses of a coronavirus vaccine have been administered in the Kingdom to date.

Saudi Arabia says pilgrims don't need COVID-19 test, isolation after Hajj

Updated 24 July 2021

Saudi Arabia says pilgrims don't need COVID-19 test, isolation after Hajj

  • Nearly 24 million people in Saudi Arabia received a jab against COVID-19

JEDDAH: Pilgrims returning home from Hajj do no need to test for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) or isolate upon arrival, said Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Minister of Health for Preventive Affairs Dr. Abdullah Asiri.

“Some returnees from Hajj this year are asking about the need for COVID-19 tests or isolation upon their return to their families,” he said. “Since all pilgrims and Hajj workers received vaccines, there is no need for examination or isolation, unless they show symptoms of coronavirus disease within the first two weeks.”
Meanwhile, 92 percent of those who said they would get the vaccine did so. “The three most important motives that persuaded the hesitant to take the COVID-19 vaccines are: First, conviction and family support after one or more members have taken the vaccine. Second, national and societal sense of responsibility, and finally, economic reasons,” Asiri added.

Almost 60,000 pilgrims left Makkah after the completion the Hajj 2021. (SPA)

According to a report by Kaiser Family Foundation titled “Vaccine Monitor: In Their Own Words, Six Months Later,” people who did not get the vaccine were either teenagers because of their parents’ convictions, the least educated in society, ethnic minorities, or those who do not have health insurance.


515,693 Total cases

496,810 Recoveries

8,141 Deaths

10,742 Active cases

“There are three main reasons for refusing the vaccine: Fear of side effects, doubt about the adequacy of studies about the vaccine, and believing that there is no need for a vaccine,” Assiri added.
Speaking of the delta variant, Assiri said: “Delta reformulates the calculations; immunity from natural infections is no longer sufficient and completing the two doses has become a necessity.”
He added that the worst of the pandemic was over in countries that provided vaccines to most of their residents. “We will not witness, God willing, a return to waves of severe disease and deaths.”
The total number of people in the country who have to date received a jab against COVID-19 has reached 23,848,177, including 1,426,140 who are elderly.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia reported 11 more COVID-19-related deaths on Friday, taking the overall toll to 8,141.
There were 1,247 new cases, meaning that 515,693 people in the country have now contracted the disease. A total of 10,742 cases remained active, of which 1,383 patients were in critical condition.
Of the new cases, 263 were in Riyadh region, 211 in the Eastern Province, 209 in Makkah region, and 68 in Madinah region.
In addition, the Ministry of Health said 1,160 patients had recovered from the disease, increasing the total number of recoveries in the Kingdom to 496,810.
Saudi Arabia had so far conducted 24,195,410 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, with 90,128 carried out in the past 24 hours.
Testing hubs and treatment centers set up throughout the country have dealt with hundreds of thousands of people since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
Among them, Taakad (make sure) centers provide COVID-19 testing for those who show no or only mild symptoms or believe they have come into contact with an infected individual. Tetamman (rest assured) clinics offer treatment and advice to those with virus symptoms such as fever, loss of taste and smell, and breathing difficulties.
Appointments for both services can be made via the ministry’s Sehhaty app.

Who’s Who: Mohsen Al-Qurashi, general manager at Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development

Updated 24 July 2021

Who’s Who: Mohsen Al-Qurashi, general manager at Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development

Mohsen Al-Qurashi has been the general manager of localization paths at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development since October 2019.

He is in charge of overseeing National Transformation Program initiatives related to future work patterns (freelancing, teleworking, and flexible working hours), supervising the issue of ministerial decisions related to these patterns, and launching platforms for these future work patterns.

He was project control and reporting manager at the National Housing Co. from 2017 to 2019, managing the support team tasked with the delivery of service excellence by championing change and promoting best practices.

He was a project manager at the Social Development Bank between 2013 and 2017 and led the creation of the first SMEs care center, Dulani, in Saudi Arabia.

He designed and ran a tailor-made SME mentoring program, Wajihni, for 120 recipients and assisted the counseling of 60 SMEs in the areas of finance and marketing research.

Between 2012 to 2013 he was the office manager of Kilpatrick Townsend Law Firm in Riyadh, where he developed procedures and governance plans.

Between 2010 to 2012, he was a research assistant at the King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue. Between March 2009 and April 2010, he was a planning officer at the Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization.

He has a higher diploma in mentoring for small businesses from King Saud University and a bachelor’s degree in science, business administration, and quantitative methods from King Saud University.

Saudi passports chief visits 911 operations center in Makkah 

Updated 16 min 21 sec ago

Saudi passports chief visits 911 operations center in Makkah 

MAKKAH: The director general of passports, Maj. Gen. Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Yahya, visited the Unified Security Operations Center (911), a unit of the National Center for Security Operations (NCSO) in Makkah.

He was received by the commander of the NCSO, Brig. Gen. Walid bin Suleiman Al-Tuwyan.

Al-Yahya was briefed on the center’s sections concerned with receiving communications and how to deal with them, and relaying them to the relevant authorities with accuracy, high quality and in several different languages.

He also learned about the mechanism of dealing with all the various communications received around the clock and processing them in record time.  

Al-Yahya valued the efforts exerted by the employees of the 911 center, praising the available capabilities that would contribute to the development of work in accordance with the precautionary measures, extending his thanks and appreciation to all workers.