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al Wathbah Academy launched by Bank Muscat to offer accredited SME training

MUSCAT, 26 August 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, on Tuesday (26 August 2014) unveiled a major initiative for training entrepreneurs in Oman, leading to accredited international certification. The launch of al Wathbah Academy marked a milestone, building up on the series of initiatives by Bank Muscat to complement government efforts in strengthening the role of SMEs in the economic development of Oman. The launch ceremony was held at the bank's head office in the presence of AbdulRazak Ali Issa, Chief Executive, dignitaries and senior bank officials.

AbdulRazak Ali Issa said: “Bank Muscat is proud to launch yet another unique initiative benefiting SMEs in Oman. The main objective of the bank's SME strategy is to play an important role in filling the gaps and empowering entrepreneurs to chart successful business ventures by providing necessary training, guidelines, tools etc. The academy marks a clear progression of the well defined strategy pursued by the bank in line with the directives of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to support the SME sector and strengthen its role in the economic development of Oman."

The main objective of al Wathbah Academy is to impart the required skills and guidance for entrepreneurs drawn from diverse fields to identify growth opportunities and tackle challenges in developing their SME business ventures. The 8-month training programme is offered in association with Amideast, leading to accredited international certification by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Simultaneously, the training is also customised to equip bank employees to qualify as SME advisors.

Ilham Al Hamaid, AGM – SME Credit, Marketing and Regional Corporates, said: “Bank Muscat is proud to initiate a series of unique programmes benefiting SMEs. The bank is committed to meeting all the requirements of SMEs and the academy will significantly benefit the participants, imparting expertise, knowledge and skills to successfully chart the way forward for their business ventures. The training leading to accredited international certification is set achieve a benchmark for SME training programmes in Oman. In light of the business environment in Oman which offers tremendous opportunities and challenges for the SME sector, Bank Muscat remains committed to creating self-employment opportunities for citizens across the Sultanate."

Aimed at strengthening the SME sector, al Wathbah offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions. A unique SME financing programme launched by the bank has helped entrepreneurs overcome challenges arising from the requirement of collateral guarantee for SME finance. al Wathbah SME Non-Collateral Programme not requiring collateral guarantee is a bold step affirming the bank's commitment to encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Oman.

The bank has also launched a series of initiatives as part of a comprehensive plan to support women entrepreneurs in Oman. The bank regularly conducts workshops and seminars to equip SMEs to identify business opportunities and tackle challenges.

Serving as building blocks for existing and prospective entrepreneurs, these initiatives assume importance in the backdrop of the priority accorded by the government to develop the SME sector in Oman.

The support to SMEs and women empowerment initiatives stem from the bank's commitment to create self-employment opportunities for youth who constitute more than 50 per cent of the country's population.