Times of Oman
Youth in Oman becoming more business oriented: SQU study
November 29, 2017 | 6:17 PM
The Sultan Qaboos University study investigated entrepreneurial behaviour and performance of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) owners in their business. File photo used for illustrative purposes only
 
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Muscat: A majority of entrepreneurs in Oman are young and see their brothers and cousins or uncles as their role models, an SQU study has revealed.

The average age of the entrepreneurs in Oman is 41 years and the majority of them are in the age group of 31 to 40 years, indicative of a rather young age profile the study conducted by a group of researchers from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) has found.

The study that investigated the entrepreneurial behaviour and performance of Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) owners in their business in order to gain insight into any barriers impeding entrepreneurial growth of businesses and entrepreneurial culture in Oman.

The researchers from the Department of Natural Resources Economics of the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at SQU selected this topic for their study as promotion of entrepreneurship through SMEs development is given top priority in government’s policy agenda.



The Principal Investigators Dr. Hemesiri Kotagama and Dr. Sarath Kodithuwakku, carried out this project with the support of Dr. Houcine Boughanmi, Said Al Muqbali and Aisha Saleh Al Ma’amari from the same academic department.

The findings of this study shed light on the entrepreneurial behaviour and performance of SMEs owners regarding their business and entrepreneurial characteristics, entrepreneurial motivations, entrepreneurial activities, and entrepreneurial growth. Data for this study was collected using a structured questionnaire from a random sample of ninety “Entrepreneurship Card Holders” registered in the Public Authority for SME Development in Oman that is operating within the Governorate of Muscat.

Personality traits of an effective entrepreneur were measured under five traits namely: proactiveness, risk-taking, autonomy, creativity and locus of control. Findings revealed, based on an index measuring degree of entrepreneurship, that majority (79 per cent) of the respondents lack entrepreneurial orientation in terms of proactiveness.

In contrast, in the areas of risk-taking, creativity and autonomy, the majority of them were found to be neutral in terms of their entrepreneurial orientation.

However, 34 per cent and 19 per cent of the respondents are found to be highly entrepreneurial oriented in terms of their tendency to take a risk, as well as creativity and autonomy. All in all, findings suggest that majority these SMEs owners are moderately entrepreneurial oriented in terms of their personality traits.

Dynamic and successful entrepreneurs are expected to have an entrepreneurial management orientation vis-a-vis administrative management orientation. Majority of the respondents were placed in the middle of the continuum ranging from administrative and entrepreneurial oriented management styles. It was evident that about 20.00 per cent of SMEs are highly entrepreneurial oriented, and the majority of the respondents (42 per cent) are placed in the middle of the continuum slightly towards entrepreneurial oriented management styles whereas about 9 per cent was found to be having administrative oriented management styles.

The average age of the entrepreneurs in Oman is 41 years and the majority of them are in the age group of 31 to 40 years, indicative of a rather young age profile. Finding revealed that the entrepreneurs have considered their brothers (32.20 per cent) followed by cousins (25.42 per cent) and uncles (16.95 per cent) as their role models that have influenced them for starting their businesses. The majority (78 per cent) has had one or more paid jobs before starting their own business.

The majority (74.44 per cent) of the respondents are sole owners of their businesses while 37.78 per cent started their business career in the construction field, indicating a possible need to diversify. About 42.22 per cent of respondents have initiated their first businesses during the period 2001 to 2010, indicating a significant growth in the initiation of businesses after 2001. About 26.66 per cent of the respondents have discontinued their businesses and discontinuation had taken place on average 2.5 years after the start-up.

More than 95 per cent of entrepreneurs have relied on their own thoughts when coming up with business ideas. Furthermore, more than 50 per cent of respondents have developed a written business plan for all their businesses. Findings also reveal that business owners have invested on average about OMR57,542 for their first business. The major sources of start-up capital for setting up of almost all the businesses had been their savings where the percentages of business owners who have self-funded their businesses were 72.22 per cent, 66.67 per cent, 78.95 per cent and 81.82 per cent for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and the newest businesses respectively.

This indicates that small and medium business relies less on formal financial institutions for start-up capital despite the many initiatives taken by these initiatives and the government.

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