Owners of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Oman will soon have the opportunity to grow and expand their businesses more rapidly. In an initiative to reinforce a dynamic, healthy and sustainable business environment, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) has announced the setting up of a National Business Centre (NBC) by the beginning of 2013.
Malak al Shaibani, NBC director, said, "This project is a milestone for entrepreneurs in Oman since the centre will act as a premier platform for developing and supporting Omani entrepreneurs. The National Business Centre will provide physical facilities and value-added services, capitalise on linkages with industrial areas and target budding entrepreneurs from universities and working or retired Omanis." "PEIE is, in fact, a pioneer in nurturing the culture of business incubation in Oman.
It has been inspiring to witness the radical success of Knowledge Oasis Muscat's business incubator programme - The Knowledge Mine (TKM) - which was inaugurated in 2004," Malak said, adding, "Now, it is time for PEIE to expand its role in nurturing entrepreneurs through the National Business Centre."
According to a press release, the centre will seek to facilitate and support the growth of investable ideas into successful businesses; build entrepreneurial skills through dedicated and focused training, coaching and mentoring; and provide business support facilities from office space, administrative support, financial support and consultancy services that are crucial in ensuring the success and survival of new ventures.
"NBC will play multiple roles in counselling and guiding entrepreneurs by providing them with support in preparing feasibility studies, detailed reports and business plans.
Experts will provide intensive training, coaching and mentoring aimed at building entrepreneurial skills for incubated companies and potential entrepreneurs in such a way that would eventually create an environment that allows entrepreneurs to network, form partnerships, and have access to business mentors," Malak said.
Located at Knowledge Oasis Muscat, NBC will provide services ranging from business advisory, financial and legal advisory, business facilitation, facilities support, administrative support, entrepreneurship development programmes, coaching and mentoring, and marketing and business promotion support. "Our centre will undoubtedly assist entrepreneurs to work proactively with government entities and major corporate companies in identifying current and future prospects for incubated companies," she added. NBC will work with partners from the public and private sectors to support incubated companies through the support services.
NBC has a network of strategic partners such as the SME Department, commercial banks, Sharakah, ITA, OCCI, Ministry of Manpower, as well as major industries that form part of its advisory board. There are also plans to expand the NBC incubators into Sohar and Nizwa.