Oman Observer

Aiding Entrepreneurs

Riyada is going to introduce three more programmes of incubators very soon. They are pre-incubation stage, co-working space and virtual incubators.
“Research around the world shows that the percentage of success of the businesses that had been incubated or have been in incubation is more than 87 per cent compared to 44 per cent of the businesses that start outside an incubation programme,” says Fathiya al Hiqmani, Director of Incubators and Entrepreneurship Centres at Riyada.
While entrepreneurship is in full swing, Riyada’s Incubators and Entrepreneurship Centres are gaining momentum. The Riyada was initially executing two programmes of incubators out of 11 types of incubator programmes applied throughout the world. Two of them are mixed incubator and business centre. At present, Riyada has 19 incubators and is in the process of signing contracts for two more businesses. “Now we have reached about 90 per cent of our incubation space. We have graduated six companies. Last year we saw four companies graduating and two years ago it was just two companies,” said Fathiya.
As can be seen, there is a leap in number of businesses in incubators with Riyada. “The concept of incubators is much clearer for the public today compared to 2013 and 2015 when Riyada had begun. People now know whether their businesses can be incubated or not. They understand that there are some conditions for incubation and that they should be in full management of their businesses. They should be committed to their incubation programmes. So incubation does not mean you can do anything you want in the space given to you,” noted Fathiya.
“The businesses in incubation benefit from training, consultation, coaching and advice. They are given consultation, coaching, advisory, marketing, networking in addition to events that we organise in coordination with National Business Centre because they are managing the Riyada Incubator since May 2015. The new businesses that are coming to Riyada are predominantly related to technology. There is a growth in technology,” she said.
Another interesting factor is that there are more women than men in the0
incubator programmes. .
“They prefer to deal with social media projects, designing and branding. And even managing social media for some entities in Oman,” explains the Director of Incubators and Entrepreneurship Centres of Riyada.
The incubators gain support even before they join the incubation programme. It begins immediately when they submit the feasibility study.
“We review their business plan and add our comments during our advisory sessions. After the contract is signed with the applicants, they receive the document that says their company has been registered with Riyada. This is good for them when they meet with the clients and customers,” points out Fathiya.
Most importantly if the incubators face difficulties in gaining access to any government or private sector entity, Riyada steps in to assist.

Lakshmi Kothaneth