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Zubair SEC announces winners of its Direct Support Programme for 2018
Muscat, Oman, 13 March 2018

Winners of the Zubair Small Enterprises Centre (Zubair SEC)’s Direct Support Programme for the year 2018 were announced at a ceremony held under the patronage of Al Zubair Muhammad Al Zubair, Vice Chairman of The Zubair Corporation.

Al Zubair Muhammad Al Zubair, Vice Chairman of The Zubair Corporation, board members of The Zubair Corporation, distinguished guests including ambassadors, representatives of national initiatives supporting entrepreneurship, executives of leading companies, and members of Zubair SEC and SME owners attended the event.

The Direct Support Programme which has established a very reputable and credible positioning in the SMEs sector has grown extraordinarily. This is the fifth edition of the Direct Support Programme organised by Zubair SEC, the social responsibility initiative of The Zubair Corporation. The programme has been providing support and mentorship to high-potential young entrepreneurs and business owners for the last four years.

The number of applicants for Zubair SEC’s Direct Support Programme received this year was 225. With the newly announced winners, the Direct Support Programme has so far signed up 48 winners in its five editions.

This year’s ten winners of the Direct Support Programme are:

  • Bahiya Hilal Sultan Al Shuaibi, Global Space & Technology Company (winner of the seat adopted by Ominvest)  
  • Hassan Ali Mohammed Al Lawati, ROVE Adventures (winner of the seat adopted by ARA Petroleum)
  • Ibrahim Hamad Sulaiman Al Khulaifeen, Al Khulaifeen Modern Trading Enterprises (BBQ Bro's)
  • Abdullah Mohammed Saud Al Dughaishi, Gourmet Taste Sweets LLC
  • Zahra Mohammed Saif Ambu Saidi, Shiyaka Photography
  • Abdul Aziz Saleh Ahmed Al Mawali, Smart Tech Solutions
  • Khalid Shafi Khalid Al Habsi, Shafi Pharmacy
  • Adil Humaid Salim Al Hashmi,   Falcon’s Voice Comprehensive Trad LLC
  • Laila Nasser Mohammed Al Kharoosi, Women Gym Centre
  • Imad Ali Saif Al Ghafri, Tourism Events

Giving a boost to the SME scene, ARA Petroleum, a dynamic entrant to the exploration and production industry of the oil and gas sector in Oman has adopted one of the seats of Direct Support Programme for 2018.

For a second year in a row, Ominvest, reputable leading investment group in the region, has decided to adopt one of the winning seats as part of a wider scope of agreement that was signed between Zubair SEC and Ominvest.

Both companies joined efforts with Zubair SEC to choose the winning seat, making sure that the winner’s business domain aligns with their company’s focus areas.

Social impact and entrepreneurship have been key areas of focus for Zubair SEC in choosing the programme’s winners, as the Centre has been raising awareness and building capacity towards sustainable social impact of business since the first year of its establishment.

In his address, Al Zubair Muhammad Al Zubair, Vice Chairman of The Zubair Corporation said, I would like to emphasise that the major milestones for the Direct Support Programme were a direct result of the great efforts made by many parties. The determination of the programme’s members, the strong collaboration of leading government and private entities, as well as the tireless support we received from our friends in the media are all key factors contributing to the success of Zubair SEC and its programmes and initiatives”.

He added: “At Zubair SEC, we give great importance to support entrepreneurs directly and indirectly by offering them expert knowledge, resource and support. We are confident that all who have applied to the programme have gained some sort of insight towards what can be done better to take his or her project to the next level. I would like, therefore, to encourage you all to continue working hard in order to achieve your dreams. And be sure that Zubair SEC will always open its doors to extend help for you at any time”.

Thanking the programme’s Support Partners he said: “I would like to thank all partners who believe in the vision of the Direct Support Programme and assist in achieving its success by adopting one of its ten seats. Commended Support Partners for this programme include Oasis Logistics who first participated in the 3rd edition and Ominvest who have now partnered with the programme for the 2nd year in a row, and ARA Petroleum who has joined our Support Partners of the programme for this year. Indeed, we are extremely proud of this cooperation and we look forward to seeing more of Oman’s leading companies taking part in supporting entrepreneurs. It gives us much pleasure to recognize that these collaborative efforts aim at establishing a firm footing for SMEs in Oman, one that will help significantly in developing our national economy”.

Sultan al Ghaithi, CEO, ARA Petroleum said, “I would like to congratulate each winner. We are honoured and delighted to have such outstanding winners to represent Oman's SME sector. They are a true reflection of the talent that exists among start-ups in Oman. By anointing them as members of this flagship programme, Zubair SEC is making sure that their hard work and determination receives the backing they deserve. I would like to congratulate Zubair SEC that has been stimulating an entrepreneurial spirit and innovation throughout the country and has been playing a crucial role fostering competitiveness and employment.”

He added, “The general entrepreneurial network needs to be nurtured to encourage greater growth ambition among SMEs. To achieve this Zubair SEC has been supporting the establishment of public-private partnerships delivering high-quality SME business collaboration. ARA is extending an additional arm to support the strategic objective of Zubair SEC, in its efforts to support their members to be self-sufficient, while sustaining their entrepreneurship.”

Abdulaziz Mohammed Al Balushi, Group CEO, Ominvest said, “We would like to congratulate all the entrepreneurs who have won and are going to be part of this amazing Programme that Zubair SEC has conceptualised. The Centre has been encouraging entrepreneurship and refining the business environment for SMEs, thus allowing them to realise their full potential. We are pleased to renew the agreement for second time in a row. Ominvest has been a catalyst for empowering local businesses and creating opportunities for Omani nationals. Zubair SEC’s Direct Support Programme is an inspirational concept and deserves all the support. They have been supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups through their great action plan and most importantly offering access to capital, knowledge and innovation. We have been happy to collaborate with a Direct Support Programme member of last year’s edition, who has been very enterprising. We are looking forward to the larger scope of collaboration with Zubair SEC towards exploring business development opportunities for its members across the Sultanate. We are pleased to extend all support possible to the new winner”.

Lina Hussein, Head of Communication & Social Impact at Zubair SEC said, “We have been able to scale up the impact of our Direct Support Programme thanks to our strategic partners who have showed trust in the programme and contributed to its success by adopting seats. The trust of such leading organisations is something we value and capitalise on; the adopted members have benefited significantly from such collaboration.”

She added, “Year on year, we realise more and more that what such young business owners really need in addition to the comprehensive advisory and guidance we offer, is help in exploring business development opportunities. As such, we have been very keen on extending business development services and opportunities to our members, through our partners and collaborating organisations, all falling under our key strategic initiative “Tajseer” that focuses on business development and facilitation.”

About the winners she said, “Each deserving winner was selected by a combination of professional processes. Their applications have been carefully scrutinised and their commitment to innovation ascertained. We are happy to state that winners of Direct Support Programme in the past have gone on to attain commendable success in the market.”

Mahmoud Al Amri, co-founder of “Recycling Services” company who were among the 10 winners of the Direct Support Programme 2017 shared their experience during the event. Recycling Services was selected for the Ominvest seat within the Direct Support Programme.

Sharing insight about his experience with Zubair SEC, Mahmoud Al Amri said, “Practical and effective mentoring is fundamental for SMEs to help them grow and innovate. Zubair SEC has played an important role in my and my partner’s entrepreneurial journey. To begin with, they assessed our business management capabilities by identifying strengths, weaknesses and areas for improvement.  The advisors and experts at the centres really helped us classify our plans to ensure that our business model was viable and healthy in the long run. I am eternally grateful for their support.”

He added, “We would like to thank Ominvest for their much-needed backing. They have ensured that start-ups such as our company are supported so that they can continue to grow and thrive.”

The Direct Support Programme which provides support and mentorship to high-potential novice entrepreneurs and young business owners was launched in 2013 by Zubair SEC, as its first programme.

During the past few months, Zubair SEC organised orientation sessions at its premises and roadshows across several governorates in the Sultanate to publicise and elaborate on the Direct Support Programme to Omani entrepreneurs and owners of small businesses. The roadshow was arranged by Zubair SEC in close collaboration with the Public Authority for SME Development (Riyada) for Salalah and Sohar; the National Career Guidance Centre for Nizwa roadshow, and with local youth community (Fursah) under the umbrella of Al Nahda Sport Club in Buraimi.

Zubair SEC’s Direct Support Programme is considered one of the leading support programmes in the field of entrepreneurship in the Sultanate. The programme aims to create a spirit of positive competition between Zubair SEC’s members, who aspire to earn a package of valuable advisory, business development services, as well as a financial grant that is spent through a set working plan implemented in cooperation between the Centre and the winning members.

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