Muscat: The Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be’ah) concluded its SME accelerator, Eco-Innovate Oman (EiO), with a graduation ceremony and pitch event in which several EiO companies pitched for almost OMR400,000 in growth funding.
The event was held on January 23, at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Qurum, Muscat. The event also included the graduation of be’ah’s second EiO cohort.
The pitch event provided the platform for the EiO small business owners to present their businesses and funding requirements in front of a wide variety of investors. Attending investors included Bank Muscat, Bank Sohar, the Sharakah Fund, and the Oman Development Bank, in addition to be’ah senior management and many other stakeholders.
According to one of the SMEs who pitched, Sumaya Al Rawahi CEO of Green Universe Enterprise, "The event was an amazing opportunity to showcase the success of Omani SMEs like mine which operate in renewable solar energy and drone services. I am confident that we enhanced our market presence and will obtain the growth funding we presented in the pitch event.”
Speaking about the event, Dr Mohab bin Ali Al-Hinai, VP - Sustainability and Circular Economy at be’ah said, “At be’ah, we view innovation as one of the only ways to amplify the achievement of our environmental goals in the Sultanate. Working together with SMEs and entrepreneurs empowers them to create new ways of doing things to effectively achieve environmental goals. The EiO programme brings us closer to the companies that are helping us achieve these goals together, and in line with Oman’s Vision 2040.”
The second edition of the programme was dedicated to training SMEs on limiting the environmental impact of their operations, suppliers, and employees, through calculating greenhouse gas emissions.
Running over 9 months, the programme was divided into three phases. Phase one lasted for 4 months and was comprised of dense training on aspects significant to the development of business operations.
The second phase was focused on training pertaining to the specific needs of the participating SMEs over 3 months. The training was led by a team of local and international experts and aimed at guiding SMEs through designing specialised programmes to prepare for domestic and foreign investment. The programme touched on an array of subjects including prototype development, market research and investor matchmaking.
In its third and final phase, spread over 2 months, the programme centred around training participating SMEs on marketing their products and projects.
Launched in early 2020, Eco-Innovate Oman (EiO) has now graduated two distinct cohorts of Omani small business owners (SMEs). The first cohort was predominantly early-stage start-ups, with the second cohort being established small businesses. All SMEs in both cohorts shared the goal of focusing not only on financial returns but also on environmental and social returns.
The second cohort, launched in 2021 had the added focus of using the ESG principles (Environment, Social, and Governance) to operationalise sustainable business practices.