Muscat, 21 March 2016 – In a major thrust to promote entrepreneurial initiatives in the Sultanate, Bank Muscat, the flagship financial services provider in the Sultanate, and Zubair Small Enterprises Centre (Zubair SEC), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), to extend support to entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses. The MoU between the two leading establishments committed to SME development was signed at the bank's head office by Waleed Al Hashar, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Bank Muscat, and C S Badrinath, Chief Executive Officer of The Zubair Corporation, in the presence of top management executives from both sides.
Waleed Al Hashar said: “Bank Muscat is proud to join hands with Zubair SEC to support SMEs in Oman. The main objective of the bank's SME strategy is to complement the government efforts in empowering entrepreneurs to chart successful business ventures by providing necessary training, guidelines and tools. The partnership with Zubair SEC 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."
Al Hashar added: “Bank Muscat has launched a series of initiatives to strengthen the SME sector in Oman. Serving as building blocks for entrepreneurs, these initiatives assume importance in the backdrop of the priority accorded by the government to develop the SME sector in Oman. Bank Muscat is proud to facilitate access for entrepreneurs to follow their business dreams by acquiring the required skills and support. 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."
Commenting on the MoU, Mohammed Al Hasani, Chief of Corporate Communications at The Zubair Corporation, said: “Collaboration with key contributors to the SME sector's development in the Sultanate lies at the heart of Zubair SEC's strategy, as we believe strongly in the importance of synchronising efforts towards extending best support and opportunities for Omani entrepreneurs. We are very pleased to sign the MoU with Bank Muscat, which opens further channels of support to SMEs approaching both sides. We highly appreciate the tremendous efforts that Bank Muscat has been putting to further leverage the role of key financial institutions in relation to SME development, and we believe that Zubair SEC can contribute strongly to channeling valuable small businesses in the right financing direction and equip them to be bankable and banking friendly, hence reducing financing risks and increasing potential for business growth."
Bank Muscat al Wathbah SME department has launched a series of initiatives aimed at imparting the required skills and guidance for entrepreneurs drawn from diverse fields to embark on successful SME business ventures. The bank also offers a comprehensive suite of tailor-made SME finance solutions. A unique SME financing by the bank has helped entrepreneurs overcome a major challenge. al Wathbah SME non-collateral finance not requiring collateral guarantee is a bold step affirming the bank's commitment to encouraging an entrepreneurial culture in Oman. The bank has also in place 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.
Facilitating financial inclusion, Bank Muscat najahi products and services have created a benchmark, helping micro and small businesses to overcome hurdles and chart successful ventures with proper planning, financial discipline and prudent management.
Zubair SEC will direct its members possessing feasible business proposals to Bank Muscat to obtain support for SME ventures. Mutual efforts by both parties will be in place to raise awareness on financing, entrepreneurship and business administration. On fulfilling the funding criteria based on the bank's credit policy, financial assistance will be extended to micro and small enterprises in the Sultanate, including members of Zubair SEC's Direct Support Programme.
Zubair SEC is one of the initiatives launched by The Zubair Corporation as part of its strategic social responsibility vision towards Omani society. The vision reflects the corporation's belief in the importance of small enterprises (SEs) in enhancing the national economy and contributing to sustainable socio-economic development. The Centre comprises a team of socially engaged and business savvy advisors who put all efforts to contribute to leveraging the Omani community through equipping and enabling entrepreneurs and start-ups to grow with their businesses in a sustainable and responsible manner. Since its launch in 2013, Zubair SEC has added to its membership more than 310 entrepreneurs and owners of small enterprises from all sectors of the economy to benefit from its services and support. The Direct Support Programme that the Centre runs every year since its establishment in 2013 is considered one of the first programmes launched in the Sultanate with the purpose of enhancing positive competitiveness among its members and give them an adding boost. The Programme rewards members who prove their commitment towards success and demonstrate dedication by practically applying the consultancy and advice provided to them by the Centre. Members' projects and businesses should also demonstrate proper strategic planning and accurate feasibility studies that reflect their eagerness to apply best business administration measures with the assistance of Zubair SEC. Zubair SEC has also been the first initiative in the Sultanate to be awarded the prestigious national Business Entrepreneurship Award for Best Private Sector Initiative Supporting SMEs.