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Initiative to support SMEs in commercial centres

6 Apr 2021 By MOHAMMED TAHA

To support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by COVID-19, the Authority for SME Development has launched an initiative to open marketing outlets in commercial centres and malls.

The initiative aims to promote the products of SMEs by making these accessible to a larger customer base through commercial centres. The Authority for SME Development recently signed an agreement with Al Noman China Wholesale Market to provide 16 outlets inside the market to support SMEs in South Batinah.

According to the authority, the agreement will provide many facilities for the owners of SMEs such as rent exemption for a period of four months, 45 per cent reduction in rent, and provision of technical support in the use of equipment imported from China.

The authority has set several conditions to take advantage of these outlets, including the owner of the SME must be a citizen from South Batinah, must own a commercial register and be registered with the authority. The deadline for registration is April 15.

On April 4, the Authority for SME Development launched a new programme called Raqmna – which translates to ‘digitisation’ – in partnership with Google Developer Group. The programme aims to train 25 SMEs for a period of three months.

The programme aims to support and empower SMEs by changing their technology paths, accelerate digital transformation, enhance competitiveness in the sector, and provide high-quality products and services.

Speaking to Muscat Daily, Khadijah Mubarak al Batashi, managing director of the East Coast Company, said, “Exhibitions and conferences are currently suspended due to COVID-19, so we launched an initiative to establish marketing outlets for SMEs to support the Authority for SME Development’s efforts at the beginning of March.” The company has set up six outlets in Muscat Grand Mall. 

According to Khadijah, owners of SMEs must cooperate with the government in finding new marketing strategies and outlets for their products. “I call on owners of SMEs to benefit from this initiative. I hope to set up more outlets across the sultanate. These will have a role in the future in attracting tourists.” 

The total number of SMEs registered with the authority at the end of February 2021 was 50,585.

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