“The Globally Ready Enterprise (GRE) is an initiative between Singapore and Omani government as part of a three-year SME (small and medium enterprises) development plan that is endorse by Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry, represented by DGSME (Directorate General of SME Development), and Vector Scorecard (VSC) Asia Pacific Group that is supported by Singapor’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” informed VSC CEO M Nazri.
“The GRE programme is designed to assist Omani entrepreneurs to learn the best practices of entrepreneurship as well as ‘technopreneurship’, especially in the area of ICT (information, communication and technology). They will learn business modeling, business structuring, analysing business needs and building road maps,” he explained.
According to Oman’s Consul-General in Singapore Zakariya al Saadi there is a need for the development of SMEs in Oman. “The government of Oman has put a lot of emphasis in promoting and enhancing the participation of SMEs in the Omani economy. By supporting this sector we are supporting and enhancing the further development of our economy. These 15 SME entrepreneurs, who are specialists in ICT, were in Singapore to acquire new skills and expertise which are required in developing their businesses in this sector.”
Singapore’s Non-Resident Ambassador to Oman Teng Theng Dar stressed that SMEs are the backbone of economy regardless of different stages of development. “Through this programme, we are offering a platform for the promising SMEs in Oman to upgrade themselves and get connected to the international marketplace,” he said.
The Omani participants attending the programme from July 1-6 found the initiative very useful for business start-ups. “This programme gave me a lot of insight and highlighted my understanding of how to run a business. I’m sure it will be very helpful for me in reorganising my business and also improving the quality of management within the business strategy,” remarked Nasser Hamood al Harthi, managing director, Global Telecom Projects Management and Trade LLC.
Harthi, a former Omantel project manager, took early retirement and established his company two years ago. “As you know, we are a young country. We do not have the level of experience and expertise that Singapore has attained. One of my prime hope [through this programme] is to have partners from Singapore,” he said.
For Abdul Salam al Hinai, general manager, Business Solutions Corner, the programme doubled up as a strategic visit. “The GRE programme has enabled me realise my global potential.
It has opened my mind and given a direction towards how to establish a company with international benchmarking,” he said, adding, “I have several ideas but didn’t have the tools to implement them earlier. In Singapore, I saw how some of the companies are already implementing the ideas that I am looking to implement at my end.”
Mohammed Zahir al Sheriqi, general manager (administration and finance), Inter Design, felt the entrepreneurs got more from the programme than what they were expecting. “I feel that I’m different businessman now. Some of the things I’ve learnt here will help me develop a better business model and go a long way in bringing improvement in my company,” he said.
A recent survey indicates that approximately 75 per cent of SMEs in Oman feel that a lack of necessary internal skills is a barrier to innovation and effective use of ICT, thus limiting their scalability. Vector Scorecard (VSC) Global is helping SMEs in Oman, to overcome scalability issues through the Globally Ready Enterprise (GRE) programme.
There are around 120,000 SMEs in Oman, which represents more than 90 per cent of the total number of companies and contributes around 20 per cent of the GDP. The Omani government has already introduced financing guarantee schemes to support SMEs.
More Singapore companies are emerging as significant international competitors with revenues in excess of S$100mn. However, more than 90 per cent of SMEs fall well below this level and have to be groomed to be globally ready, before they can become globally competitive.
- The GRE programme would groom the Omani SMEs and provide opportunities for Singapore ICT companies to transfer knowledge and technology to their Omani counterparts.