Muscat, 5 November 2020
Bank Muscat, the leading financial services provider in the Sultanate of Oman, in line with its vision ‘To serve you better, everyday’, and commitment to supporting and developing the Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSME) sector recently hosted a Najahi Talks session organised by its Retail Enterprises Unit (Najahi). The online session was moderated by Abdullah Al Jufaili, Head, Retail Enterprises Unit (Najahi), Bank Muscat, and hosted well-known technology entrepreneur and investor Sharifa Al Barami, who is also the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer of MarkeetEx.com, a leading digital mall catering to the needs of Omani MSMEs. The session, which was livestreamed through the bank’s social media channels, saw an engaging and informative talk followed by an excellent discussion on a number of topics vital to the growth of Omani entrepreneurs in the digital age.
With over 1.4 billion people having shopped online at least once, WTO estimates that the annual global e-commerce market is presently placed well over US$ 25 trillion. The sector is undergoing rapid growth, fueled by near instantaneous local and international payments. It is thus vital for Omani MSMEs to capitalise on this far-reaching and tectonic shift in both consumer shopping habits.
Sharifa Al Barami, who was previously the Managing Director of the Oman Accelerator Fund, a US $15 million seed fund and accelerator programme aimed at investing in technology startups at the seed stage, discussed in detail how Omani start-ups can benefit from the present rapid growth in e-commerce. She pointed out the key factors that are contributing to the rapid growth of e-commerce, and explained how consumer behaviour is rapidly changing. With the current pandemic, shopping online by both retail and business consumers have sky-rocketed and this trend is likely to continue in the future too once customers get accustomed to the convenience factor and online payments.
Sharifa discussed in detail the steps that Omani entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, should consider before selling products and services through electronic channels as well as the importance of digital marketing. She also spoke on the challenges faced by entrepreneurs in setting up an e-Commerce platform and explained how these can be overcome. The online discussion was carried out in an engaging and interesting manner and the participants thanked Sharifa for sharing her in-depth knowledge about the topic.
Abdullah Al Jufaili, Head, Retail Enterprises Unit (Najahi), Bank Muscat, said: “As a pioneer in supporting the Omani MSME sector, the bank is continuously coming up with new initiatives to strengthen this important sector. Our Najahi Talks sessions feature leading subject experts and entrepreneurs who are eager to share their knowledge for the benefit of the entire Omani entrepreneurial community and strengthening our nation. Omani MSMEs are providing more and more jobs for our youths and contributing to the development of Oman in line with goals of our Blessed Renaissance and Oman Vision 2040.
Over the last one year, 'Najahi Talks' has grown in popularity because of the way in which it contributes to strengthening Omani MSME business owners. The sessions are usually held in the first week of every month and details are updated on the bank’s social media accounts for the benefit of those who are interested in participating in these knowledge-sharing sessions. The entire discussion is available on Instagram for the benefit of viewers who could not participate in the live event.
Aimed at boosting the role of Omani entrepreneurs, Bank Muscat Najahi recently signed an agreement with MarkeetEx Digital Mall so as to facilitate the sale of products and service using an online market. As per the agreement, the bank will offer financial support to promising SMEs in selling products through the MarkeetEx Digital Mall. Given the current social distancing norms where the holding of the usual products exhibitions are not possible, this initiative by Najahi will particularly help Micro and Small-sized businesses in growing their business and revenues, thereby also contributing to the National Economy.