MUSCAT, 28 May 2019
The four-day exhibition for small businesses organised as an initiative by Bank Muscat najahi and Zubair Small Enterprises Centre (Zubair SEC) at the Nizwa Grand Mall from May 23 to 26, 2019 ended on a successful note after receiving a huge response from an encouraging public and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Fifteen members of Zubair SEC and 15 small business clients of najahi participated in the exhibition. Most of the participants were from the governorate of Ad Dakhaliya.
The success of the exhibition indicated that collaboration between two of the strongest SME support programmes in the Sultanate can result in scalable impact and better results. The successful exhibition emphasised the importance of such joint efforts to endorse small businesses and provide them market-access opportunities.
The small businesses exhibition, which was held under the framework of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between Bank Muscat and Zubair SEC in 2016, comes as yet another development in their efforts to extend joint services to small businesses.
The exhibition also demonstrated both the partners’ keenness in reaching out to small businesses across the Sultanate, including regions outside Muscat. This was particularly significant because access to market is one of the main challenges for small businesses, and similar exhibitions can go a long way in promoting and enabling small businesses to reach markets.
Lina Hussein, Head of Communication & Social Impact at Zubair SEC said, “We are delighted with the response the exhibition has received and would like to thank Bank Muscat for their unstinting support. Holding this small businesses exhibition in partnership with Bank Muscat najahi is in line with our commitment to cooperate with leading entities who are enthusiastic supporters of SME development. It is also aligned with our strategy to foster a culture of entrepreneurship in the society and provide a conducive environment for entrepreneurs and small-business owners.”
She added, “With its wide-ranging of services and programmes, Zubair SEC strives to provide its members with business development services and opportunities to market and grow their businesses. We will continue to roll out relevant initiatives such as this exhibition to further encourage and inspire small businesses.”
The small businesses who received an opportunity to showcase their products at Nizwa Grand Mall were able to record a significant amount of sales during the exhibition.
Salim Al Yarubi, founder of Shatha Al Ood, said: “The exhibition was a huge success as it provided me a way to expand my customer base and create greater visibility for my products. I thank Bank Muscat and Zubair SEC for providing all the small entrepreneurs gathered here with this wonderful opportunity that will greatly help grow our businesses."
Zaima Saif Al Salami, founder of “Grandma’s Mixes” natural hair products brand who participated at the exhibition said: “The successful exhibition provided a great platform to showcase my products and engage with clients and fellow business owners. It was a great learning experience for us and we thank Bank Muscat and Zubair SEC for this opportunity and for their support of small businesses in the Sultanate.”
Safia Al Anqoodi, founder of Royal Taste Sweets, said: "This was an excellent opportunity for us to reach out to new customers and grow our business. I thank both Bank Muscat and Zubair SEC for giving us a platform to create sustainable growth for our businesses. Events like this go a long way in helping first-generation entrepreneurs like me to contribute to both Omani society and the country's growth."
A first-of-a-kind collaboration project between Zubair SEC and Bank Muscat’s najahi, the exhibition was designed to capitalise on the solid positioning and reputational value of both partners to provide endorsement and support to the participating exhibitors.
With an intention to support an Omani small business, Al Sahel Al Sharqi was contracted for exhibition arrangements and setup.
Bank Muscat reaches out to micro and small business customers through exclusive najahi centres across the Sultanate. Securing credit without collateral and accessing innovative banking services have been hurdles faced by micro and small businesses. The specially designed najahi products mainly include credit facilities without collateral to develop and grow micro and small businesses. It is worth mentioning that Zubair SEC has gone beyond the traditional notion of SME support and moved towards a holistic ecosystem of services offering business advisory, business development, partnership and affiliations, capacity building, and a grant scheme. The two institutions seek to enrich the entrepreneurship concept to be spread in the nation.