(MENAFN - Muscat Daily) In step with the directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to support the small and medium enterprise (SME) sector and strengthen its role in the economic development of Oman, bank muscat has taken the lead in encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Oman.
Al Wathbah, bank muscat's SME department, has been very dynamic in financing businesses and strengthening the SME foundation in Oman. bank muscat's support to SMEs stems from the strong belief that SMEs help boost the local economy, contribute to the GDP and create self-employment opportunities for youth who constitute more than 50 per cent of the country's population. Ilham al Hamaid, AGM “ SME credit, marketing and regional corporates, said, ''bank muscat is a strong supporter of the government policy to encourage individual initiatives aimed at self-employment. The bank encourages creativity and innovation among people, complementing the supportive environment created by the government to promote SMEs in Oman.''
Ilham said, ''The business environment in Oman offers tremendous opportunities and challenges for the SME sector. bank muscat has launched several unique initiatives to help the SME sector play its role in the country's economic development.'' Entrepreneurship is no longer ambiguous to Omani youth as more and more nationals are selecting this path as a career choice. Given the required support and guidance, young Omani entrepreneurs have proven that they can excel as entrepreneurs. Aimed at strengthening the SME sector, bank muscat offers a comprehensive suite of tailormade finance solutions.
The bank also regularly conducts workshops and seminars aimed at equipping SMEs to identify business opportunities and tackle challenges. Serving as building blocks for existing and prospective entrepreneurs, these initiatives assume importance in the backdrop of the priority accorded by the government to develop the SME sector in Oman. In 2012, the bank partnered with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MoCI) to launch the government guaranteed loan programme in support of SMEs. The bank also launched the firstof- its-kind Al Wathbah Business Zone, a unique facility that addresses a long-felt need of entrepreneurs in Oman. The business zone in the bank's head office can be used free of cost by SME customers who do not have their own office space.
A number of prospective entrepreneurs face challenges in taking forward their business plans for want of required support and facilities. Al Wathbah Business Zone addresses this issue and helps entrepreneurs at all levels to promote and establish their business ventures. bank muscat launched a unique mentoring programme for SMEs under the direct supervision of chief executive Abdul- Razak Ali Issa. Aimed at creating a successful generation of entrepreneurs, the CE mentoring programme is an initiative developed by MoCI to impart the required skills and guidance for SMEs drawn from diverse fields. Another initiative by the bank is an online networking forum for women entrepreneurs. Al Wathbah Businesswomen's Forum is a unique initiative benefiting women entrepreneurs in Oman.
The dedicated web portal allows women entrepreneurs to engage in live networking. The forum fulfills a long-felt need in bringing together businesswomen and helping them to benefit from each other's business expertise and experience. The forum serves as a source of inspiration and encouragement for women to embark on SME initiatives and thereby contribute to progress and development in Oman. The bank recently launched a financing programme which addresses a long-felt requirement of entrepreneurs in Oman. The new facility broadens financial access and helps entrepreneurs overcome challenges arising from collateral guarantee for SME finance. The Al Wathbah SME Non-Collateral Programme opens a new world of opportunity for entrepreneurs.
The financing programme not requiring collateral guarantee is a bold step affirming the bank's commitment to encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Oman. bank muscat initiatives aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and developing the SME sector stem from the Royal directives, which have emphasised on the need for efforts to promote its role in the development of the national economy. bank muscat takes pride in adopting steps aimed at implementing the directives on SME development benefiting the country's youth