Muscat: With various initiatives in developing entrepreneurship amongst the nationals in Oman, experts have projected that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro entrepreneurs are the best bet for the Sultanate to improve the diversity in the economy and generate more jobs for Omanis.
This projection comes from the country’s vision and plan to cultivate and empower young entrepreneurs who are interested in starting their own business and be self-employed.
To support these initiatives and help generate more business concepts into the market, Al Nimr Expo will organise the first Oman Franchise Expo & Conference (OFEC) 2016 in May. This event can contribute to the development of franchising in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region, which offers more opportunities for businesses to open and attract internationally recognised brands with the increase of number of commercial centers and malls existing.
Dr Khalid Al Sharfaa, chairman of the Middle East & North Africa Franchise Association (Menafa) has said that Oman is a new, exciting hub for the franchising concept which has a significant potential in growth and development of entrepreneurship and SMEs.
Franchising a business can be an ultimate solution for interested entrepreneurs as it takes them from a zero point to one by purchasing an established and existing international brand to operate locally, and so that is the reason that have encouraged us to partner with Al Nimr Expo to deliver this event in Muscat, he added.
He pointed out that the franchising market research reports $8 trillion worth of market size in the world and is noticing a continues growth of 35 per cent each year, similarly in the Middle East & North Africa region as the franchise market size is of a $32 billion worth and expecting a significant increase annually considering that the region is in need for economically diversified markets and sectors other than oil & gas.
Salim bin Omar Al Hashmi, chairman of Al Nimr Expo said that Oman is witnessing a sustained growth in SMEs and micro entrepreneurs, which is a result of a clear vision and part of an eco-system that has been established accurately and according to a study which enables young entrepreneurs to achieve their aspirations and the start a small and/or medium-sized enterprises in an ideal, central, and focused environment.
Establishing this event has been inspired by this vision of the country starting from the talks at the Seeh Al Shamikhat SME forum for SMEs to have a significant contribution in the economy, understanding that this kind of event will help this to be achieved.
“There is a great interest in the concept of franchise witnessed by Menafa in the past couple of years from the Omani business men and entrepreneurs who fly to the United Arab Emirates to attend the franchise events hosted by Menafa and we have received a significant number of enquiries and consultancy requests in regards to the benefits and costs of franchising,” said Omar Al Haza’a, vice-chairman of Menafa.
In explaining the concept of franchising, he said, “franchising is an agreement between two parties, the first being the franchiser who grants the right to using his brand/trademark in a specific geographical region for a specific duration along with giving the license to use the business systems/processes to produce and market a good or service according to certain specifications to a second party being the franchisee for an agreed monetary return.”
Maryam Al Balushi, one of the event managers for the Oman Franchise Expo & Conference (OFEC) at Al Nimr Expo stated that the event will take place May 9 to11 at Oman International Exhibition Centre, endorsed by Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry and the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development (Riyada).
The event will attract more than 60 internationally established trademarks that are interested in entering the Omani market but also, OFEC will focus on local grown business concepts available for aspiring entrepreneurs that are ready to take their ideas regionally and/or internationally, which we target between 30-40 locally-based brands.
She clarified that with the support of other organisations such as Oman American Business Council, UK Trade & Investment, and The Indian Franchise Association, “we will be able to achieve those targets, as well as Start Up Oman being our SME supporter and The Lounge as our promotional partner we will be able to reach out the local entrepreneurs whether they are looking into being a franchiser or a franchisee.”