MUSCAT, 9 December 2012 – Existing and prospective entrepreneurs turned out in large numbers at a 2-day SME workshop jointly hosted by Bank Muscat and the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC). The exclusive Al Wathbah workshop, open to all, concludes today (Monday 10 December 2012), at the bank's head office. Expert trainers from IFC led the sessions aimed at inspiring and engaging entrepreneurs to propel their projects with easy business techniques.
Ilham al Hamaid, AGM – SME Credit, Marketing and Regional Corporates, said: “We are greatly encouraged by the strong response to the SME workshop jointly hosted by Bank Muscat and IFC. The workshop is aimed at helping entrepreneurs to address the challenges faced by SME business and provide an environment critical to SME success. Bank Muscat and IFC are close partners in facilitating financing access to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Oman to help them expand and create jobs. Notably, Bank Muscat offers big support to women-owned businesses, helping them become more active players in the Omani economy."
IFC trainer Amgad Doma highlighted using and analyzing financial statements to establish successful SMEs. Topics covered included the role of accounting in the decision making process, balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement etc. Amgad Doma has about 15 years of hands-on experience in corporate lending, both large corporates and SMEs, through working for a number of local, regional and multinational banks.
Zainab Musallam al Harthy from Innovation events management company, said the workshop was immensely beneficial to evaluate and analyse the business processes and procedures followed by them. Zainab has launched her own Zai brand of home-made perfumes. She has adopted marketing strategies through social media to promote her perfume. “The workshop helped me to analyse my business strategy. We are grateful to Bank Muscat for the strong support extended to SMEs."
Rami Hassan Mohsin al Lawati, founder of Pro Shots, a digital media and arts company, said the workshop was very useful and would help make a big difference in his business. “We have broken the fear of numbers as we gained a proper understanding of the importance of systematic accounting procedures in business. We are thankful to Bank Muscat for all the support," he said, adding that Pro Shots which started with one employee had grown to become a 30-member company in less than five years.
Dr. Samir Ramzy Attia will lead a session today on improving selling skills to get customer attention and create a desire to buy and successfully close a deal. Dr. Attia is a consultant and corporate trainer as well as a certified IFC – BE trainer with many years of experience in sales, marketing and management programs with the American University in Cairo, specifically the Executive Management Diplomas, School of Business. He is also a Certified Trainer for the USAID, School of Business, Maryland University (USA) as well as a Certified Consultant for the Arab Labor Organization (ALO), the Arab League.
Panel discussions spotlighted successful business ventures of Bank Muscat SME clients.
Over the years, Bank Muscat has taken several strategic steps to strengthen the SME sector in Oman. Al Wathbah, Bank Muscat's small and medium enterprise (SME) department, has been very dynamic in financing businesses and strengthening the SME foundation in Oman. Aimed at strengthening the SME sector, Bank Muscat offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions.
Early this year, the bank partnered with the Ministry of Commerce & Industry to launch the government guaranteed loan programme in support of SMEs. The bank also recently launched the first-of-its-kind Al Wathbah Business Zone, a unique facility that addresses a long-felt need of entrepreneurs in Oman. The business zone can be used free of cost by SME customers who do not have their own office space. The bank regularly conducts workshops and seminars aimed at equipping SMEs to identify business opportunities and tackle challenges.