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SMEs Development Authority and Bank Muscat join hands to host Souq Al Wathbah

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MUSCAT: The SMEs Development Authority and Bank Muscat, the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate of Oman, have joined hands to organise the annual Ramadhan Souq Al Wathbah at Muscat Street at the Bank’s Head Office from April 21 to 23 April 2022 (Thursday to Saturday). Souq Al Wathbah, which comes as part of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) of Bank Muscat, aims at promoting small enterprises and will feature attractive products and services from more than 120 entrepreneurs and SMEs. The 3-day exhibition, which is being held as part of the bank’s commitment to deliver long-term benefits to the nation, will showcase a number of Omani products encompassing fashion, beauty, health and food as well as services at competitive prices.

The Souq will be open from 8:00 pm to 12 midnight and offer a unique shopping experience to visitors and promote Omani small enterprises. In particular, the Ramadhan Souq creates an avenue to successfully market these small business’ products in a market that is characterised by intense competition. Hence, identifying and seizing opportunities are all the more important for Omani SMEs to survive and grow to the next stage in their evolution. Bank Muscat has been organising the Ramadhan Souq in association with the SMEs Development Authority since 2017 to strengthen the SME sector in Oman. The Al Wathbah Souq has become an important platform that educates the community about the importance of MSMEs being the backbone of the country’s economy and also gives Omani MSMEs an opportunity to network with successful entrepreneurs and exchange experiences.

On this occasion, the organising committee would like to extend its appreciation to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Investment Promotion for their cooperation in making this annual event a success. The Souq is expected to witness excellent participation from the public and the media, especially as it is one of the well-known souqs held during the month of Ramadhan. The event is part of the strategies of both SMEs Development Authority and Bank Muscat to support Omani entrepreneurs and SMEs.

Bank Muscat has also launched various other initiatives to benefit entrepreneurs including the Al Wathbah Academy, Al Wathbah Businesswomen’s Forum etc. Al Wathbah Academy was launched by the bank in 2013 as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative to equip Omani youth with self-employment skills. It reflects the bank’s commitment to sustainable development and strengthening the role of SMEs in the economic development of Oman. The programme is conducted in 8 modules spread over a period of 4 to 8 months and leads to the internationally recognised certification from the Project Management Institute (PMI).

Notably, the bank’s Al Wathbah SME department offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions and non-financial services targeted at small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Credit facilities, both funded and non-funded in nature, are available to all sectors. Further support is extended through non-financial services in areas of education, coaching, networking opportunities and workshops. Earlier in 2021, the bank organised a free VAT Registration and Advisory desk at the Head Office for the benefit of its large numbers of SME customers. It must be mentioned in this regard that Bank Muscat is continuously partnering with both government agencies and the private sector to promote entrepreneurship in Oman, particularly amongst the youth as part of its focus on supporting the strategic goals of the ambitious Oman Vision 2040.

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