In the last five years, more Omani women are finding the courage to try their hands on business.
Two of these women are Lujaina Al Kharusi, founder and owner of Nine, a family health and wellness center and Mennez Baby Store, and Zuwaina Al Rashidi, CEO of Dar Al Herfya, World of Handicrafts.
Speaking before an audience of all female employees hosted by the National Bank of Oman (NBO) for its ‘Women@NBO’ event, the two were a testament that given the proper encouragement and support, women can become essential part of nation-building.
Coinciding with Omani Women’s day, Lujaina shared that, “Running a business is challenging but through my journey as an entrepreneur, I’ve realized that these struggles are a positive and natural part of the job.”
She added, “That while women may be fearful of failure, they shouldn’t be discouraged to take that risk.”
She shared that, “Being in a smaller market, the biggest problem I have faced has been with volume of sales and retaining a positive cash flow. But I’ve learned that in these situations, it is ok to ask for help.”
Handling her own business has given her deep insight as to how to make it successful, adding that “Relying on the trust and loyalty I’ve built with my suppliers, and the relationships I’ve developed with my staff, is what has driven my business and allowed me to become a stronger woman.”
Zuwaina, during the event, touched upon her own personal experiences explaining some of the obstacles she had to overcome.
She specifically highlighted the importance of determination and not quitting in the face of disappointment or rejection.
By finding the one thing she loved doing the most, she shared that she found her passion and drive in ensuring that her business venture became (and remains) a success.
Sayyidah Rawan bint Ahmed al Said, Chairperson at NBO shared, “At NBO, we are immensely proud of the women that have contributed to building this country. We are even prouder that some of these amazing women have chosen to come and join the team here at the bank. By building an equal opportunity culture, we know that the power is in both our men and women. We are one team and only by ensuring that all feel empowered can we develop as a bank and as a nation.”
She added, “Every story told at Women@NBO is not only inspiring but also showcases resilience in the face of hardship.”
Launched in 2016 to empower women and to develop female leaders both in and out of the Bank, ‘Women@NBO’ motivates employees while also providing them with coaching and mentoring opportunities all year round.
Female role-models take prime position at the Bank. NBO’s board is led by a female chairperson, whilst having an additional two female directors. Overall 40% of Omani employees at the bank are female.
Since His Majesty Sultan bin Qaboos took reign, the Sultanate has been a leading international role model to women empowerment. As part of the national agenda, a number of policies and programmes have been put in place to further support and propel women. From education to healthcare to key government positions, Omani women are a key pillar of the economy and are the essence of the Omani society.
Yeru Ebuen & Titash Chakraborty