Muscat: BP Oman celebrated the second batch of ‘The Khazzan project for SME Development Programme’ at the Ministry of Oil and Gas under the patronage of Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi, undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas.
In 2015, the programme benefited 22 entrepreneurs after which BP decided to continue it for a second year benefiting 26 more entrepreneurs. The Khazzan Project for SME Development focuses on developing the skills of the entrepreneurs through classroom training and mentorship sessions based on interactive learning.
The programme aims to develop the enterprises’ performance in terms of financial and cash flow management as well as to support their marketing and brand development plans.
"We are proud of BP Oman’s Social Investment Programme achievements. The Khazzan Project for SME Development programme is an effective tool that supports Enterprise Development. Through such programmes we can ensure a sustainable impact on Oman’s economy and society,” Eng. Salim bin Nasser Al Aufi said.
“BP is proud to contribute towards the development of SMEs. We believe that this will have a great impact in the development of Oman’s economy in the long term,” said Khalid Al Kindi, deputy general manager, BP Oman.
The second edition of the programme, in 2016, covered the governorates of Ad Dhahira and Ad Dakhiliyah along with some beneficiaries from the governorate of Muscat to expand and reach out to more beneficiaries.
The ceremony was attended by multi stakeholders and officials from the oil and gas industry, and small and medium enterprises (SME) sector. This programme is part of BP Oman’s Social Investment Programme which covers three main areas — education, enterprise development and energy sustainability.
Commenting on the programme, Abdullah Al Jufaili, general manager of Sharakah, said that 160 applications were submitted for the programme which showcases the increasing interest on these initiatives. Ultimately, 60 applicants were selected for one-to-one interviews to validate the data they submitted and to make sure that they met all the criteria set for the programme. Once the interviews were done, 26 applicants were finally selected to join the programme.
As many as 20 beneficiaries will be selected at a later stage to receive a non-refundable grant of OMR5,000 from BP Oman per project.
William Crew, chief executive officer of Inspired Solutions, the programme’s principal trainer, said that they were impressed with the entrepreneurs’ commitment during the eight weeks of the intensive training programme as well as their understanding and application of the course materials. He also assured that each beneficiary has prepared a strategic growth business plan to compete for BP’s non-repayable grant.
The grants will be used to support the entrepreneurs’ further development; which is expected to have a positive impact on Oman’s economy reinforcing the Sultanate’s strategic plan towards ‘In Country Value.’