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8 steps to boost small enterprises

To ensure high growth and shield SMEs from Covid impact

Muscat: The Ministry of Economy in partnership with Riyada unveiled eight new multipronged initiatives on Sunday to help small enterprises to recover from Covid-19 impact and revitalise their business through training, counselling and other support.

The aim of the package is to achieve high growth rates outlined in Oman Vision 2040 blessed by His Majesty Sultan Haitham bin Tarik. The eight initiatives which were announced were as follows.

E-Commerce support

The aim of this initiative is to support SMEs’ access to local and international digital platforms, which can help them market their products and services globally. It is expected to cover about 100 SMEs and promote e-commerce. A contract will be inked with a well-known IT company to implement the initiative under Riyada’s supervision.

Winter Nights Festival

The initiative is an interactive annual event organised during special occasions and holidays. During these occasions, SMEs’ products and services will be displayed in night markets. The aim is to promote Omani talents and encourage entrepreneurship. The events will be organised by specialised event management companies.

Creative industries incubator

The initiative targets entrepreneurs in creative industries. It is expected that about 25 SMEs will benefit from this initiative. The initiative also includes providing them technical support, guidance, counselling and consultations. They will also be encouraged to provide job opportunities for Omani youths.

Manufacturing incubator

Under this initiative, a manufacturing industries incubator will be established for the manufacturing sector, which is one of the pillars of Oman’s economic diversification. The initiative targets SMEs and owners of manufacturing industries through innovative ideas that will empower SMEs.

The initiative also seeks to create a group of emerging companies with high technical and administrative manufacturing capabilities, providing them with technical support, advisory and marketing services. The initiative will be implemented through Sohar University under Riyada’s supervision.

Agricultural SMEs

Under this initiative, emerging SMEs in agriculture will be established in cooperation with Haya Water. Aimed at supporting and developing SMEs in the agricultural wealth sector (oils and aromatic plants), the initiative will find sites for SMEs near water treatment plants in various wilayats for easy access to water. The initiative also seeks to market agricultural products in local and international markets.

Dairy products and livestock

The initiative aims to provide business opportunities by Mazoon Dairy Company in areas including manufacturing packaging materials, dairy boxes, reefer trucks to transport ice-cream and dairy products, processing and packaging plant for fertilisers, manufacturing and sale of fertilisers, raising and selling livestock, making biodegradable spoons, and package labelling.

The initiative targeting SME owners, will contribute to provide direct and indirect job opportunities for Omanis, promote economic diversification, develop entrepreneurs and finance for the implemented projects.

Entrepreneurship education

Targeting entrepreneurs and craftspeople across Oman, this initiative focuses on creating a specialised digital training platform to develop their skills. The digital platform will train craftspeople in business administration and teach global best practices. As much as 80 per cent of the training will focus on practical skills while the rest will cover theoretical aspects.

Consultation to support SMEs

This initiative includes a series of quick advisory sessions for SMEs affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. It targets entrepreneurs in different governorates, and is expected to benefit 100 SMEs through advice and legal counselling. Dr Nasser bin Rashid al Maawali, Under-Secretary in the Ministry of Economy, said these initiatives are aligned with the fifth strategic objective of the tenth Five-Year Development Plan to support SMEs. “We expect these initiatives to reduce risks to SMEs, help them actively contribute to Oman’s economy, harness technology and innovation to improve their products and services, and create an integrated local market for their products and services through marketing.”

Halima bint Rashid al Zariyah, Chairperson of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Authority, said, “The Ministry of Economy (MoE)’s initiative to support the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) sector comes as a continuation and translation of the efforts made to enhance the growth of the national economy. It is also part of the economic stimulus plans that the government has embarked on to support and enhance the sustainability of SMEs that have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Al Zariyah said these initiatives took into account a number of aspects, including but not limited to, improving the regulatory environment to ensure that it encourages the growth and development of SMEs.

They also sought to develop the required protection measures and orchestrate the support provided to SMEs. These initiatives are also part of the Riyada’s mandates, be it those related to providing financial, technical, administrative and legal advice to SMEs, developing them or enhancing their competitiveness and enabling them to provide high-quality products.

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