Speaking at the event, Nasser al Malki, Director General of the National Business Centre, noted that NBC is managing OMIFCO SME Scaling-Up Programme (Wasel) for the second consecutive year. “This comes along the lines of the efforts undertaken by NBC to support Small and Medium Enterprises in the Sultanate. NBC was established by Madayn to offer an ideal platform for Omani entrepreneurs to develop their innovative business ideas into growing ventures. Moreover, NBC services of NBC are divided into three phases, namely pre-incubation, during incubation, and acceleration phases,” Al Malki pointed out.
Ibtihaj al Araimi, CSR Section Head at OMIFCO, stated that the company’s CSR strategy focuses on allocating 3 per cent of its annual net profits to implement social responsibility programmes. According to Al Araimi, these programmes focus on different priority areas of investment, which comprise entrepreneurship and SME development, education and workforce development, quality of life and enhancement, and environmental stewardship. “Wasel Programme falls under entrepreneurship and SME development area, which aims at developing the skills of Omani entrepreneurs, enhancing the capabilities of SMEs, and providing job opportunities for the national cadres,” Al Araimi pointed out.
Al Araimi added that Wasel programme commenced in 2018 in partnership with the National Business Centre to contribute to the growth and expansion of existing SMEs, and provide them with training and guidance services. “In its first edition, 15 companies joined the programme. In fact, one of the companies was able to receive a financial support of RO 260,000 to finance its expansion plan in the neighbouring markets,” she said.
Al Araimi also gave a brief on other programmes that are implemented by OMIFCO, which include the Cell Programme. OMIFCO developed the Cell Programme in 2012 to encourage self-employment through supporting entrepreneurship and development of micro businesses. Through the Cell Programme, OMIFCO does not only provide financial resources and technical and administrative support to aspiring entrepreneurs, but also lead to the creation of several innovative SMEs and additional jobs.
On his part, Rashid al Alawi, Director of Business Development at NBC, explained that Wasel is designed to address the challenges that the SMEs face after they cross the survival stage and are now eyeing to scale up by providing technical and financial coaching and training by specialised international experts. The programme, which is managed by the National Business Centre for the second consecutive year, is designed to enable the efficiency of small and medium enterprises to grow and expand locally and internationally.
Source Link: www.omanobserver.om