Update on Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) Activities


Update on Saudi British Joint Business Council (SBJBC) Activities Meeting at Movenpick Hotel, Al Khobar 10.09.14

Attendees: Jeff Stewart (BBA), Chris Innes-Hopkins (SBJBC Executive Director)

Background: CIN was previously Director UK Trade & Investment in Riyadh, leaving in February 2104 to take up his current role as SBJBC Executive Director.


The UK Co-Chair is Rt. Hon. Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean, who works alongside her Saudi counterpart, Sheikh Nasser Al-Mutawa Alotaibi, together with an independent board of directors.

The membership of the Council comprises British and Saudi business representatives, and works ‘in partnership’ with the UKTI.

The SBJBC is registered in the UK as a ‘not of profit company’, rather than ran as an informal support group.

The SBJBC’s UK set up is now in place, and they now want move to the next stage of development, which involves enhancing its KSA network, including the utilization of locally based consultants to assist with market advice and reports.

The SBJBC offers a range of advisory services, through our British and Saudi members and the Secretariat in London and Riyadh, as well as access to high level governmental and private sector networks in both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Kingdom (UK).

SBJBC Key Objectives: 

  • To communicate with the authorities in both the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and the United Kingdom (UK), with the aim of improving business to business cooperation. 

  • To assist, through its good offices, in settling commercial disputes between parties from both Kingdoms. 

  • To facilitate training, technology transfer and knowledge exchange between the KSA and UK. 

  • Promote business and partnership opportunities in the Kingdoms, particularly for small and medium sized enterprises.

SBJBC Key Services: 

  • Participation by invitation in bi-annual Joint Council meetings and high level and high level networking receptions, alternating between the UK and Saudi Arabia. Ministers of Trade and senior officials from both countries are normally invited to join. 

  • Participation by invitation in joint Saudi/UK working groups developing business to business cooperation and exchanges of expertise in Education, Healthcare, Public Private Partners (PPP), SMEs, and Offset. Other groups may follow. 

  • Access to business briefings and networking events in the UK and Saudi Arabia, addressed by Ministers, senior officials, business leaders, and service providers. 

  • Market advice and guidance including introductions to sources of business support, vetted professional services and local business networks. 

  • Mentoring companies through the ‘incubation stages’ of British-Saudi’ collaborations

A key target area for the SBJBC is on companies that fall under the ‘High Value Opportunities’ benchmark that the UKTI focus on, and as the SBJBC is UKTI funded, are measured on successfully assisting companies at this level, so the SBJBC will submit a progress report on a quarterly basis to the UKTI, highlighting the companies dealt with within the given period. In addition it is hoped the SBJBC can ‘kick-start’ the British-Saudi Offset Committee in to action again, as it has not met since 2010.

SBJBC Funding: The SBJBC is funded via two revenue streams, namely: 

  • ‘Membership Fees’

- Large Corporate Companies (over 50 employees)

- SMEs (less than 50 employees)

- Trade Associations

- Individuals without company sponsorship 

  • Income from Services

Currently ‘Members’ are called Founder Members’, although this may change to ‘Members’ as the numbers increase.

*MEA is a member of the SBJBC

Mr. Innes-Hopkins assures me there are no conflicts of interest with the work of the BTO, although I note that Education, also a BTO focus, is one of the five SBJBC working groups (see above). Mr. Innes-Hopkins welcomes any and all assistance offered by the BBA in furthering the development of the SBJBC.

Jeff Stewart BBA

September 11th 2014