Saudi students will learn financial literacy in the next academic year
Kingdom ‘still open for business,’ SMZ International founder told Mayman Show
Riyadh: Saudi Arabia has always been open for business according to Sarah Elzeini, founder and CEO of SMZ International, a US-based strategy and business advisory firm.
Within her portfolio of work are efforts to develop cultural bridges and facilitate business deals that serve the mission of Saudi Vision 2030. Speaking on the latest episode of “The Mayman Show,” she said “Saudi ( a) always been open, first and foremost, to business engagement, but what it looks like today is very different.
She added that with the opening of many new sectors, such as tourism, the advancement of AI and technology, events such as the Global AI Summit and sustainability with the Green Initiative Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom is very attractive to the international community, and in particular, the United States.
Elzeini said there is interest in international collaboration in terms of intergovernmental agencies like the UN and the US government itself. She added that there is also a lot of commitment in the areas of education and research, especially around universities.
She also indicated that the dialogue is intensifying due to the economic evolution of the Kingdom. “They (Saudi leaders) have invested so much in technology and sustainability, and now we are relying on their knowledge…their talent and their stories.
“So now it looks like a really strong two-way relationship,” she said.
According to Sarah, Saudi Arabia has become particularly exciting for entrepreneurs. “It’s kind of like (for) an archaeologist, a new site, you know – to dig up and discover treasures in a certain way. Entrepreneurs are looking for new spaces to vent their ideas. Yeah, so we have a lot of interest, I think, coming from Silicon Valley,” she said.
Elzeini explained that she was in talks with several companies trying to bring them to the Kingdom, some of which are AI and tech startups.
“They create these phenomenal ideas. And in fact, the market is not American, it is not adapted to the United States. It’s even better for Saudi Arabia and the MENA region. So Saudi Arabia is just open and the biggest market,” she said.
SMZ International Group facilitates partnerships and new opportunities for social impact companies. “That’s one of the reasons I’m in the Kingdom this week, there are several businesses I’m looking forward to bringing to the Kingdom. So I’ve been between Jeddah and Riyadh, and there’s also a company that I’m a part of that is really exciting. It’s a tourism technology company. It’s the world’s first social city guide, which is the world’s first social media for tourism,” he said. she stated.
“We are here just to see the market opportunity and how we can engage with the Kingdom, and we have had meetings with the Ministry of Tourism, venture capitalists, others in the private sector. And so it was exciting.
SMZ International aims to create vehicles for organizations, whether for a foundation or a program that proposes an initiative or a vision.
“Washington, DC (is) not only the intersection of the United States nationally and culturally, but it is also the capital of the world, in a sense. So you have a lot of countries engaging there. It is therefore very important that foreign countries commit themselves to it. And I work a lot mainly with the Middle East and with a focus on Saudi Arabia,” Elzeini said.
“I’m in this phase of business, and my passion is to be in public affairs and kind of help to live these initiatives and these dreams that come from the region here, which I really feel connected to.”