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Zubair SEC conduct workshop on business ideation for SMEs
Muscat, Oman, 10 October 2017

With an intention to identify new opportunities and discuss a wide range of creative concepts, Zubair Small Enterprises Centre (Zubair SEC) in collaboration with Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Muscat organised a full day workshop on the topic “Business Ideation; Sensing and Seizing Opportunities in Tourism”.

The workshop was conducted by Martin Luxemburg, managing director of Erasmus Centre for Entrepreneurship considered one of the most reputable organisations in Europe in the field of entrepreneurship development.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) owners and entrepreneurs from various sectors from across the governorates in Oman and stakeholders in the SME ecosystem attended the workshop which empowered them to envisage inspiring and compelling new solutions for businesses.

The workshop focused on business ideation, identification of problems, analysis of customer needs, designing solutions and prototyping. The final part of the workshop focused on how to pitch business ideas in more effective ways. It concluded with a competition between participating groups for best business idea and pitching. Best practices and tools at the international level was shared with the audience and the occasion was enriched with engagement and group exercises.

Lina Hussein, Head of Communication and Social Impact, Zubair SEC said, “We are delighted with the extent of engagement we witnessed during the workshop. The topic was of great interest to the attendees and the expertise of the trainers was impactful and inspirational. We thank the Embassy of the Netherlands for their collaboration with us in this regard, as this workshop comes as one of the fruits of the wider empirical research project that we have recently published, focusing on the SME ecosystem in the Sultanate and seizing opportunities for SMEs in the tourism sector.”

The workshop comes as a hands-on follow up to the announcement of the result of an empirical research on SMEs and Tourism conducted by Zubair SEC in collaboration with Netherlands Embassy on October 2 at Bait Al Zubair. The empirical research on “the SME Ecosystem in the Sultanate and Seizing Opportunities in Tourism" is an attempt to establish a deeper understanding of the SME ecosystem in general and the tourism sector, while shedding light on opportunities open to SMEs in this vital sector and how to best seize them.

The research had three components: an international literature review; quantitative surveys with 200 SMEs in the tourism and complementary sectors in the Sultanate of Oman; and 20 qualitative interviews with key players in the SME ecosystem and tourism sector.  This method served to triangulate the survey outcomes and offer guidance and good practice examples in support of SMEs, both in the tourism sector and beyond. The report gives an overview of the current supporting infrastructure for SMEs in the Sultanate, and makes recommendations to strengthen the SME ecosystem. The report also identifies challenges to and opportunities for achieving SME growth specifically in the tourism sector with many of the findings applicable to other sectors.

Nasra Yasser Al Mamari of Nasra Al Mamari Trading who attended the workshop said, “The workshop was interesting and dealt with important set of issues faced by entrepreneurs. The workshop was a great way to generate lots of good ideas and we thank Zubair SEC for organising the workshop.”

Naser Said Mohammed Al Hajri of Modern Nature World said, “The session was wonderful and gave entrepreneurs an insight as to how to make most of the investment opportunities in the field of tourism. It provided an understanding of the scope of investment for small enterprises in terms of marketing. Experts gave us tips on how to deal with difficulties and how to use technology to our benefit in the tourism industry. The natural diversity, stunning terrain and heritage makes Oman an ideal tourism destination and small and medium enterprises must make best use of the God given opportunity.”

He added, “I would like to thank the Zubair Corporation and Zubair SEC for supporting small enterprises and young entrepreneurs in a significant way. The efforts of this institution in playing an important role in this regard needs to be recognised.”

Hasna Mohammed Al Dawoodi, Pioneers Trading Company said, “I participated in this workshop to enhance my creative and entrepreneurial skills in way that it will contribute to the development of the tourism sector. I learned a lot at the workshop and the ideation brainstorming session was inspiring and in concurrence with the requirements of the market. The Dutch team made excellent presentations and made the sessions very interactive and pertinent. I benefited greatly from this workshop and have acquired many tools that will enable me in developing new plans to match Oman’s tourism strategy for 2040.  I understand that this sector is promising, has a lot of opportunities and as a company we want to play an active role in building a stronger economy.”

Adel Suwaid Al Abri of National High Tide Enterprises said, “The training workshop was effective, practical and at the same time addressed relevant issues. It was fully participative and offered a creative ambience where ideas were discussed in detail.”

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