Chris Hughes, co-founder of Facebook, has urged young Saudi entrepreneurs to try the franchise system before launching their own businesses.
Speaking at the Jeddah Economic Forum, Hughes urged Saudis not to follow their European and American counterparts, but keep their own distinctive identity, stressing the significance of investing in technology projects and small business that could serve large organizations in order to complete the cycle of supporting the national economy and implementing the comprehensive development plan.
“Saudi Arabia has its own culture and traditions, just as every other country,” said Hughes.
“What is applicable in the US or Europe might not be applicable here because every society has its own characteristics. I have seen so much development in technology and electronic services during this visit. That is why I would advise young Saudis to contribute to technological developments and make use of government facilities by setting up businesses that support this domain.”
Hughes stressed that funding and liquidity, coupled with scientific advancements, help the youth be creative and encourage them to start innovative businesses.
The main reason behind the success of silicon valley is the governmental support, Hughes pointed out “Money alone does not make projects… thought is what makes them, while money only helps them take off,” he added.
“There’s a massive difference between an entrepreneur and a business manager,” said Hughes.
Addressing the impact of technology on labor demand, Hughes said Saudi Arabia and all other countries with a strong economy should look for new, advanced ventures which require human resources of various specializations in order to bridge the gap with the ever increasing work force supply and absorb the current unemployment.
Those ventures should of course contribute to economic development.
Hughes advised Saudi entrepreneurs to adopt the franchise system which does not require huge funding yet helps develop business and creates new jobs, all in line with Saudi culture and traditions.
“Try to start small projects which do not need big funding, particularly those which could serve the large organizations, so you become a key part of the whole economic chain. This will guarantee your product marketing because large companies need small businesses to support it and the whole economic operation will help create a lot of non-traditional job opportunities.”
He called on aspiring entrepreneurs to celebrate diversity. “Accept others’ opinions because it opens the doors for creative ideas.”