Sharp decline in SME number in Dhofar

SALALAH, Jan 1 – A brainstorming session was held on ways to motivate more and more youths to start their own enterprises was held at Dhofar University on Sunday. The session titled ‘Challenges of setting up small and medium enterprises (SME) in Dhofar’ attracted industry, system and academic experts.
All the participants in the session agreed over the fact that the SME sector needs to be strengthened and the current pace needs to accelerated.
Discussing the challenges, Dr Samir Hammami, Director of the Business Entrepreneurship Centre of Dhofar University, raised the issue of declining number of registered SMEs in Dhofar and called for immediate remedial measures to revert this trend.
Dr Samir quoted some data suggesting sharp decline of 70 per cent in the number of SMEs in Dhofar Governorate and called for joint efforts to beat this trend.
“It is beyond doubt that the SMEs play vital role in boosting any country’s economy and the policymakers should ponder over the reasons behind this declining trend,” he said.
Dr Samir called the discussion organised by the DU’s Entrepreneurship Centre very fruitful and an effort towards addressing the issue, as most of the stakeholders were present in the session.
Part of the session were Shaikh Salah bin Hilal al Maawali, Chief Executive Officer of SME Development Fund; Dr Mohammed Imam, Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Dhofar University; Ahmed Al Akaak, Deputy CEO, Port of Salalah; Abdullah bin Salim Mahad al Rawas, Head of Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI), Dhofar Governorate; Huda al Huraibi, Head of the Entrepreneur Club in Salalah College of Technology; and Amna Khadem al Awadi, Representative of World Youth Club in the Sultanate.
Al Maawali called for more training and orientation procedures for new entrepreneurs, as most of the enterprises which could not succeed were mainly due to prior knowledge of the trade they entered into.
He also called for better co-ordination between the banks, entrepreneur clubs, Al Rafd Fund and the Authority for SMEs.
Prof Mohammed Imam called for acceleration of the initiatives and joint efforts to address the issue, as opportunities are plenty and there are dedicated agencies to guide the entrepreneurs.
He also called the entrepreneur clubs to be in the role of catalysts to keep the youths motivated even during their stay in the colleges/ universities.
Huda al Huraibi found various reasons for declining number of registered SMEs in Dhofar.“Lack of ideas among entrepreneurs is one of the major reasons.
For this the youths need to be trained and they should know their assets and limitations.
It has been noticed that they register the company first and then start thinking what to do. Such businesses have tendency to fall because the entrepreneurs here do not know what they are going to do.” She called for pro active role by the banks and cited the success of Entrepreneurs Club which she founded in Salalah College of Technology in 2013.
She also called for concerted efforts to make the SME movement successful.

Kaushalendra Singh