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Bank Muscat to step up support for women entrepreneurs

MUSCAT, 09 June 2014 – Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, as part of efforts aimed at complementing the government efforts in strengthening the SME sector, has drawn up a comprehensive plan to support women entrepreneurs in Oman. The bank is all set to announce a major initiative aimed at encouraging individual initiatives for self-employment by women. The ceremony to be held at the bank's head office today (Tuesday, 10 June) will be attended by dignitaries and senior corporate executives.

Women entrepreneurs are changing the face of the global economy and Bank Muscat recognises this opportunity in Oman. The main objective of this strategy is to play an important role in filling the gaps and empowering Omani women to chart successful business ventures by providing necessary guidelines, tools etc.

In the first stage of this strategy, the bank launched al Wathbah Businesswomen's Forum to help women identify opportunities and successfully promote SME operations. In an environment where competition is becoming tougher, identifying and seizing opportunities is essential for Omani SMEs to survive and grow. Bank Muscat is proud to have facilitated this unique opportunity to address the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs and provide an environment critical to SME success.

al Wathbah Businesswomen's Forum has succeeded in fulfilling a long-felt need in bringing together businesswomen and helping them to benefit from each other's business expertise and experience. The forum serves as a source of inspiration and encouragement for women to embark on SME initiatives and thereby contribute to progress and development in Oman.

Aimed at strengthening the SME sector, al Wathbah offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made finance solutions. The bank also 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.

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 support to SMEs stems from the bank's commitment to create self-employment opportunities for youth who constitute more than 50 per cent of the country's population.