Supporting the Saudia Arabia government in efforts to build an ecosystem for innovation and foster more female entrepreneurs


Monshaat (Saudi Arabia General Authority for Small and Medium Enteprises)


  • Consulting on building a functional ecosystem

  • Organizing and hosting a one week roundtrip in Norway meeting with startups, corporates and governmental agencies

Transitioning from oil to startups

Established in 2016, the objectives of the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises "Monshaat" is to organize, support, develop and sponsor the SME sector in accordance with best global practices. In a world that's transitioning away from oil, Saudi Arabia is on a mission to build a well functioning and thriving ecosystem fostering amazing entrepreneurs, and they look to Norway.

Acceler8. ​was engaged by Monshaat to support their efforts in setting up new initiatives and programs to promote the culture and spirit of entrepreneurship. Among the high-level goals of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 are increasing female labor force participation from 22% to 30% and increasing the contribution of SMEs from 20% to 35% of gross domestic product (GDP). Silje Vallestad worked with Monshaat on-site in Saudi Arabia, meeting with different agencies, startups, universities, and governors, and also organized and hosted a learning trip to Norway to meet with government agencies, startups, investors, incubators, and corporates to learn from best practices and Norway's experience building a thriving innovation nation.

Monshaat had a core focus on fostering and supporting more female entrepreneurs, and from our first conversations, this was central. In a country that has enforced strict segregation politics for years but during our work together was opening up extremely fast, it was crucial to develop programs to support the transition, and for Acceler8. Monshaat's focus on women was a key factor for engaging in the projects.

The number of entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia, and female entrepreneurs specifically, is rising fast. We encourage you to read this report if you are interested in learning more.

Since 2017 we have experienced a country that is changing very fast, and from the images below you'll see Silje Vallestad wearing the required Abaya from the earlier visits (2017) to no requirement of wearing Abaya more recently. While the media tend to focus on the negatives, there are many positive and inspirational changes happening extremely fast. We have been excited to experience the positive changes first hand, and witness a fast-changing country where female entrepreneurship is growing by the day.

Developing innovation programs in your country?

Or interested in the Saudi market?

We can support you!

Acceler8.'s work with Monshaat illustrates how we work with governments in supporting their initiatives to develop programs for innovation and entrepreneurship. If you are interested in learning more about this, feel free to call Silje Vallestad (+47 926 10 883) or e-mail.

Acceler8. has high-level access to both corporates, venture capital and government in Saudi Arabia. If your company has interests in Saudi Arabia or other countries in the Middle East, feel free to reach out.