Muscat – ahlibank on Tuesday launched its first-of-its-kind ‘Tamkeen’ crowdfunding initiative at a press conference at Sheraton Oman hotel.
The crowdfunding initiative is part of ahlibank’s endeavour to support Oman’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and bolster the national economy. This pioneering initiative comes after signing a strategic partnership agreement between ahlibank and Beehive to offer this unique online financial lending solution in Oman, specifically for the SMEs to support their business endeavours and create a sustainable ecosystem.
The Capital Market Authority (CMA) in November last year announced and approved the legislative system for launching crowdfunding platforms in Oman.
Taher al Balushi, DGM – head of strategy and transformation at ahlibank, said, “We are pleased to announce the launch of our ‘Tamkeen’ crowdfunding initiative, which is the first-of-its-kind, in an exclusive collaboration with Beehive. SMEs form the backbone of any economy and their role has continued to become significant, aligning with the sultanate’s efforts towards diversifying a more inclusive economy as part of the Oman Vision 2040 objective.”
Elaborating on the importance of crowdfunding initiative, Balushi added, “Through Tamkeen, ahlibank hopes to contribute towards a more inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem that allows SMEs to prosper. In particular, we think this will benefit micro SMEs become key players in both nation’s economic progress and contributing to the local human resource talent pool by creating high-quality traineeships and jobs with the funding they receive.”
The Tamkeen paltform aims to narrow the funding gap by offering quick and seamless access to financing for SMEs and will allow them to avail financial packages ranging between RO20,000 and RO80,000. It also provides benefits such as competitive pricing, streamlined procedures, and simple repayment terms without the need to provide any security or collateral. Such offerings will work to financially empower local businesses in order to augment their growth and provide them with wider national economic benefits.
Speaking at the press conference, Hassan al Lawati, AGM – head of SMEs at ahllibank, said, “The numbers of SMEs in the last few years have sharply increased in Oman. The idea of running a side business has been growing among Omanis. Once Tamkeen is launched, we expect lots of enquiries from entrepreneurs. This initiative shall cater to all types of businesses and ventures. This model has witnessed good response in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and we expect the same in Oman.”
Beehive’s peer-to-peer Fintech platform will allow ahlibank to reach local businesses through the provision of cutting-edge digital lending solutions that are accessible, cost-effective, provide enhanced security, and encourage sustainable financial inclusion.
The CMA’s recent framework for equity crowdfunding will also enhance financial inclusion, ensure improved access to unsecured finance and mitigate cash flow barriers that are generally affecting the sustained growth of SMEs in the country.
According to the National Centre for Statistics and Information (NCSI) data, total number of SMEs registered with the SME Development Authority in Oman had increased by 44.3 per cent to 75,800 in April 2022 compared to 52,524 establishments during the same period in 2021. These figures are a solid indication that given an ideal environment to grow, local businesses can become effective contributors to nation’s economy.