Omani women are leading the way in entrepreneurship as they vigorously pursue their dreams and transform their lives to establish successful businesses against the strong tide of competition.
The official statistics show that 72 per cent of private entrepreneurship in small businesses established in the last ten years were started by women. The same statistics also show that women have much greater power of business survival compared to men. Omani women’s resilience to make a push towards successful business entrepreneurship is a beacon of light in the government’s efforts to encourage nationals to own their own trades.
The greatest showcase of women’s enterprising is in Muscat.
They try their hands in a variety of business schemes. Not only in feminine trades specialties like beauty products and hairdressing, but in event management, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and even in schools. In comparison, less than a third of business started by men collapse within two years of establishment. Statistics show that Omani men go into real estate, construction, groceries, photography, foods, mechanical repairs and hardware shops.
But why Omani women are much more successful their men when it comes to run successful businesses?
There are no official statistics or study to establish this interesting phenomenon. However, the causes according to business observations lie in two categories. Knowledge and professional reliance.
Women only go into business in the areas they have experience and knowledge of the products they sell. This way, they understand what customers want from their own involvements. Women also go for passion. This is a fundamental requirement towards managing a success business. The kind of stuff a business professor teaches at a university. On the other hand, men go into business purely for money. They usually lack the background of what they sell and get lost halfway on the road towards entrepreneurship.
Another factor, most men rely heavily on other people’s efforts by seeking partners. In Oman, they prefer to sponsor expatriates while pushing themselves in the background. This way, they prefer to leave the management in the hands of another person. If they invest themselves, they would employ people but reluctant to get themselves in the running of the trade.
On the contrary, women are active and they actually manage the business themselves.
It is a full time job for them putting in all the required efforts. This is the main difference between a business owned by Omani women and men in the country. Obviously, it is the difference that gives a greater business advantage to women.
But it is not only in the cities that women make their mark in business ventures. They also make it work in the regional towns as well. They go for different businesses in the small towns. They understand that the needs in the rural areas are different from the big cities like Muscat, Suhar, Musandam or Salalah.
Trades that are closely linked to heritage and tradition are in the top of the demand list there. They go for handcrafted businesses like pottery, carpets, silverware and wedding arrangements. It is a different lifestyle compared to the cities.
Perhaps Omani women’s strategies in business should be in a better focus to address imbalance that exists between them and their male counterparts. For sure successful women entrepreneurs would not care if men lag behind in the way they do business or not. Funny enough, women have been complaining that they do not get equal business financing in comparison to men.
They have to raise funds from their own resources. Almost all the women who have made it successful in business ventures have been working before establishing their trades. Though there is a setback in gender equality when it comes to business financing, these women have suffered very little in entrepreneurship. As a matter of fact, they have already proved that they are far better than men when it comes business shrewdness.
SALEH AL SHAIBANY