“I have this conviction that technology is the catalyst for change across all sectors.”
It is this conviction that has driven Ibrahim Bin Hamad Al-Rashid ’02 M.S. to success throughout his entire career.
After earning his undergraduate degree, Al-Rashid worked for four years as a programmer and systems analyst in the health and financial sectors. He moved to the United States for two years to pursue his master’s degree at Florida Tech. Then, he returned to Riyadh, the capital city of Saudi Arabia, to manage technology projects in the financial sector and the stock market before fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming chief information officer of Al-Rajhi Bank, the largest bank in the Middle East.
Today, Al-Rashid is the CEO of Social Development Bank (SDB), the largest social bank financing individuals and small projects in the Middle East. SDB is a Saudi government fund that provides personal, concessional loans to different segments of society—particularly less privileged citizens and emerging businesses.
“My role as CEO is, primarily, to bolster SDB’s powerhouse role within the economy, propelling businesses into productivity and ensuring increased social and economic inclusion of all social segments by translating SDB’s short- and long-term strategies into attainable objectives,” Al-Rashid says.
Al-Rashid earned his master’s degree in computer science from Florida Tech, spurred by the belief that technology seeps into all industries and, ultimately, fuels progress.
“This helped foster a passion within me to understand technology trends and harness them to transform financial products from their traditional, paper-based format into a digitized and instantaneous one,” he says.
Recently, Al-Rashid and SDB were featured in Forbes Middle East for their efforts to help alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on micro and small businesses.
“The pandemic caused a remarkable degree of disruption and uncertainty for small businesses, with many businesses, irrespective of size, being forced to cease entire operations for extended periods of time,” he says.
The National Development Fund allocated more than half of its $6 billion COVID-19 stimulus package funds to SDB, which, in turn, doubled social lending to support struggling families and increased business lending to benefit more than 21,000 small businesses in the country.
“With the rather turbulent and unpredictable nature of this pandemic in mind, we continue to closely monitor the small business sector, and Saudi economy as a whole, and are very pleased with how businesses have been recovering,” Al-Rashid says.
This recovery is evidenced by the ever-growing demand for business loans for both existing and new businesses, he says. SDB currently provides financing to 6,000 startup companies, valuing $800 million annually, which Al-Rashid hopes to double within five years and extend to more customers across Saudi Arabia.
“Passion continues to fuel humanity and guide our sense of wonder,” he says. “The field of technology is packed with trials and obstacles. But the youth, armed with their inner passions and fueled by their dreams and aspirations, will venture on.”
Current City: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Family: Wife, two girls and three boys
Favorite Florida Tech Memory: Presenting a team project to IBM, which extended funding
This piece was featured in the winter 2022 edition of Florida Tech Magazine.