The declining number of registered medium enterprises (SME) in Dhofar has caused a concern among both academics and other stakeholders, who held a brainstorming session recently to find out reasons for the same.
They came out with some startling findings. The entrepreneurs’ lack of experience was found to be the prime reason behind the decline.
Most entrepreneurs are in a hurry to get their companies registered first and then start learning tricks of the trade or learn something important on a trial and error basis, it was learnt.
Huda al Huraibi, Head of the Entrepreneur Club at the Salalah College of Technology, instead, suggested proper training for the young entrepreneurs before they enter the market. “Rigorous training is required to prepare youths to start own businesses,” she felt.
She laid emphasis on more interaction with all those who decide to set up enterprises instead of looking for jobs in the public/private sector.
“It is everyone’s responsibility to support youths who choose to become entrepreneurs as it takes time to prepare them mentally to own SMEs instead of looking for jobs,” said Huda.
“SMEs help reduce the burden on the government as entrepreneurs help create more jobs. On the other hand, the failure of SMEs sets a bad precedent and discourages other youths to start their own enterprises,” she said.
She suggested more training opportunities for the young entrepreneurs and dedicated training centres in colleges and universities so they can overcome their initial inhibitions about starting own businesses.
As an expert trainer, Huda seeks support from the private sector and a more proactive approach in offering training and on-the-job skills to entrepreneurs.
She finds funding an issue for rigorous and quality training for such candidates and exhorts them to use the forum of Corporate Social Responsibility forum as much as possible for training and skills development.
She finds a “bad tendency” of donning the cap of managers soon after an enterprise is started. “Most entrepreneurs do not fully involve themselves in their businesses and depend on second/ third rung management staff,” said Huda.
According to her, it’s a bad idea to have sleeping partners in own business. “Unless there is full involvement, you cannot assess the problems of your business. It will lead to leakage of funds and mismanagement.”
Finance is one of the main reasons why youths are not going for SMEs. “Either the rate of interest is high or not suitable for the newcomers because in any case it is not possible to start any business without adequate funds. This aspect has to be addressed.”
She suggested some monitoring by finance companies/banks to ensure the finance provided is used for the right purpose.