Major pact signed to support SMEs in Oman

By Times News Service


SOURCE: Times Of Oman - Major pact signed to support SMEs in Oman

Muscat: Bank Nizwa has teamed up with the Zubair Small Enterprises Centre (Zubair SEC), a social impact initiative by the Zubair Corporation, to support the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Oman, in a move reflecting its strong dedication to become the financing platform of choice for entrepreneurs.

With the aim of facilitating trade and economic growth in the Sultanate, both parties signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) under which Bank Nizwa agreed to offer its portfolio of commercial banking services to Zubair SEC’s database of entrepreneurs, giving them the tools required to succeed and grow in a sustainable manner. Signing the agreement on behalf of Bank Nizwa was CEO Khalid Al Kayed, while CEO C.S. Badrinath represented The Zubair Corporation.

The joint cooperation is expected to ramp up the SME base in the Sultanate, creating employment opportunities for young Omanis, contributing to the GDP, and creating funding opportunities. The collaboration targets experienced entrepreneurs, as well as school and college students who want to develop their entrepreneurial skillsets.

“We have witnessed a surge in SMEs over the past few years, highlighting their increasingly important role in diversifying Oman’s economy,” said Al Kayed. “They are a driving force and this is evident in the employment and investment opportunities they offer."

"This agreement is not only an extension of our strategy to provide customised financial advisory service, but also integrates a very significant segment into the world of Islamic Finance solutions,” he added. “We will also leverage and build on Zubair SEC’s expertise in this field to empower the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.”

According to the Public Authority for the Development of SMEs (Riyada), the contribution of SMEs to Oman’s GDP is expected to exceed 30 per cent within three years. SMEs and entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in Oman’s economy, with SMEs accounting for 15 per cent of the Sultanate’s GDP in 2017. With global average SME contribution to GDP reaching over 50 per cent, the agreement between Bank Nizwa and Zubair SEC will offer aspiring entrepreneurs the opportunity to sustainably start or grow their businesses.

“This significant collaboration will help us build on the existing entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oman, where SMEs can meet their unique needs, bolster their operations, and ultimately flourish in running and sustaining successful businesses,” said Mohammed Al Hasani, Chief Communication Officer at The Zubair Corporation. “The SME sector has an abundance of potential. We want to support them in order to create jobs and fuel future economic growth.”

“Zubair SEC has been playing a key role in supporting small enterprises and young entrepreneurs in the Sultanate since its establishment in 2013,” he added. “We are happy to sign this MoU with Bank Nizwa, understanding the importance of offering diverse financing tools for our members, and we hope this collaboration would bear promising results in the near future.”

Bank Nizwa’s SME Division caters to all business segments in the market, offering value-added Shariah-compliant products and services. With a network of 12 branches across Oman, the bank is well-positioned to provide financial resources to SMEs and entrepreneurs with the support of Zubair SEC. In addition to financing from Bank Nizwa, Zubair SEC will provide comprehensive support to Oman’s promising small enterprises. The two parties’ collaboration in this joint initiative is meant to extend their outreach to the Sultanate’s youth by working with each other’s strengths, assets, and available resources to foster the development of SMEs and nurture the spirit of entrepreneurship.