MUSCAT, JULY 7 – The number of Omani Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the Sultanate mushroomed to 37,289 by the end of 2018, the Public Authority for SME Development (Riyada) announced in its Annual Report for the year. At the same time, the new of Omanis holding Entrepreneur Cards has soared to 10,189, it stated. The newly published Annual Report 2018 provides an overview of activities, programmes and initiatives implemented by Riyada during the past year. Notable is its 35 training programmes that benefited over 1,000 aspiring entrepreneurs, it said.
In cooperation with a number of private sector institutions, Riyada implemented a series of technical support programmes to develop the capabilities of SMEs. This initiative, carried out in cooperation Oman Oil Marketing, benefited as many as 211 entrepreneurs, while the Intilaaqah programme supported by Shell helped a further 357 entrepreneurs. Several other training initiatives, backed by Sohar International Schoo, Nama Consulting and others, also provided SME development and mentorship assistance. Riyada also enlisted the assistance of external agencies to support Omani SME development.
As many as 40 entrepreneurs participated in Omani Japanese Economic Cooperation Forum for SMEs during the year, while 53 others participated in the MIT Entrepreneurship Forum. A further 73 Omanis joined a training programme organised by the Arab Institute for Planning in Kuwait. As part of its continuous support for entrepreneurs, Riyada hosted a total of 29 local exhibitions and took part in nine regional and international expos, which benefited a total of 848 SMEs. Earnings by SMEs participating in these events totalled RO 803,081 in 2018, according to the report. The 6th Omani Creativity Expo, which was the most prominent forum, supported 118 SMEs in nine different sectors. The exhibition attracted more than 34,800 visitors and generated sales of around RO 92,380.
Incubators are another important service provided by Riyada to SMEs. They support entrepreneurs with innovative ideas backed by sound feasibility studies. As many as 18 SMEs incubated by the Authority helped create 62 new jobs and revenues of around RO 2.5 million. Another notable initiative is the Entrepreneurs’ Market supported by the Incubator Department in Riyada in cooperation with various hypermarkets and trade centres, which allotted space within their establishments for entrepreneurs to market their merchandise. Around 16 entrepreneurs benefited from this initiative.
Mai al Abri