Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority has launched a new online system to simplify the process for applying for entertainment licenses. Investors and other interested parties gathered on Wednesday at a special launch event to find out more about the new application portal and the range of licenses recently introduced.
“The purpose of offering this range of licenses is to encourage investment in the entertainment sector, which is a vital and promising sector,” said Sultan Al-Fakeer, the GEA’s chief operations officer. He added that the new online platform offers a clear and simple system through which to apply for the licenses.
The permits are part of the efforts the Kingdom is making to stimulate investment in the entertainment sector and enhance economic activity to help achieve the strategic objectives of Vision 2030. The GEA this year introduced entertainment seasons in each city and region and is encouraging local investors and small and medium businesses to participate. The online license-application portal is part of the efforts being made to make this as easy as possible.
Hundreds of investors and others with interests in the entertainment sector, including stakeholders from the government and private sectors, attended the Invest in Entertainment event on Wednesday at the Riyadh International Convention and Exhibition Center. It offered them a chance to network and build contacts, and GEA officials were on hand to explain the new online licensing system and the procedures for obtaining permits. These cover a wide range of entertainment-related activities and venues, including live shows and performances, events, theme parks, entertainment centers, leisure facilities, live entertainment in coffee shops and restaurants, organizing and managing crowds, selling tickets, talent management and operating entertainment facilities.
“With this exhibition, we created a speed networking meeting format to accelerate business contacts and exchange information for future cooperation,” said Al-Fakeer. “There are plans to take this exhibition to other cities in the Kingdom during the coming year.”
Most of the investors invited to the information and networking event were from Saudi Arabia, he said.
“Another exhibition will be launched soon for both Saudi and foreign investors to attract international and local investments in Saudi Arabia,” Al-Fakeer added.
Siham Hassanain, the president and founder of Siham International Trading Company, said she took part in the event to connect with investors, as her goal is to create an international Saudi brand operating to the highest of standards.
“We have been in the market for 11 years,” she said. “Our head office is in Jeddah and we specialize in restaurants, catering and branding. We focus on creating local restaurants following international standards.”
Hassanain — whose brands include restaurants Zodiac Cuisine and Kooz Karak, and nail spa Milk and Butter — said that she was happy to attend the event because working with the GEA as part of Jeddah Season had been a positive experience for her company.
She added that she will also be participating in Riyadh Season, and her first restaurant in London is due to open next month.