MUSCAT, OCT 22 – Ta’sis, a landmark initiative in support of entrepreneurship development and SME formation in the Sultanate’s oil and gas industry, was unveiled here last week, kicking off a process for the selection of 10 aspiring Omani entrepreneurs who will go on to create a pair of SMEs offering competent Omani drilling services personnel.
The initiative was launched by the Oman Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL) with the support of the SME Development Fund. More than 350 Omani oilfield workers have applied to participate in the programme since it was first announced in July. These applicants vary from budding entrepreneurs, redeployed workers, and those who are looking for job opportunities.
Ta’sis (meaning ‘foundation of creation’ in Arabic) was unveiled with the presence of officials representing the Ministry of Oil and Gas, Ministry of Manpower and The Research Council, as well as OPAL Board Members and oil and gas industry stakeholders. Salim bin Nasser al Aufi, Under-Secretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas, was the Guest of Honour at the event. Also in attendance was Salah bin Hilal al Maawali, CEO — SME Fund.
Explaining the vision behind of Ta’sis, OPAL CEO Musallam al Mandhri, said, “The idea of Ta’sis stems from the fact that we have reached a saturation point in terms of redeploying some numbers of Omani oilfield workers. They have gone to the Ministry of Manpower seeking for assistance and help for non-existent opportunities. And these people are highly skilled and talented but no jobs are available for them. Ta’sis was conceptualised to provide employment to Omanis, address and fill the gaps and labour shortcomings. It is meant to complement other initiatives by the government and the private sectors to address manpower challenges that come up from time to time, especially in the oil and gas industry.”
OPAL and the SME Fund are joining forces to support entrepreneurial In-Country Value (ICV) creation in the oil and gas sector, Al Mandhri said. “Ta’sis’ long-term strategy is to train Omanis to form and establish SMEs that will provide job opportunities to highly-skilled individuals that can deliver wide range of services in the oil and gas industry.”
Ahead of the launch, 30 Omanis were selected from the original list of 350 applicants. They will be invited to take part in a two-day programme featuring lectures on themes, like framing entrepreneurial mindsets and business drivers; developing a sound business plan and implementation; establishing entrepreneurial flair by honing communication skills; leading entrepreneurial organisations; and networking.
“From the 30 individuals, ten successful applicants — who will eventually become entrepreneurs and business managers — will receive contracts, financial support and mentoring support from key figures in the oil and gas industry, as well as from successful businesspeople,” said Rashid al Mahrouqi, Programme Adviser of Ta’sis. “These 10 entrepreneurs will go on to form two SMEs comprising of five people each. They will operate the SMEs independently, and work to create new employment opportunities for Omanis.”
Ta’sis will initially focus on the drilling sector where layoffs are imminent amid the constrained economic environment. Ta’sis will lead to the launch of two SMEs dedicated to creating a pool of well-trained oilfield drilling services personnel that may be deployed on short or long-term contracts both here in Oman and other parts of the GCC.
“Qatar, for example, has needs for short-term contract workers. We see that as an opportunity for Omanis to explore,” said Al Mahrouqi. “Here in Oman, many companies are looking for temporary workers for three-four months duration. This is where Ta’sis can come in and provide the necessary skilled labour,” he added.