Oman's SME sector can help a nation weather crisis: Entrepreneur

Business Sunday 07/February/2016 19:22 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman's SME sector can help a nation weather crisis: Entrepreneur

Muscat: A strong small and medium enterprise (SME) sector can help a country in times of financial crisis and plays a key role in economic diversification, says Zièd Bahrouni, an Oman-born entrepreneur.
Bahrouni, the co-founder and managing director of Motius, a high-tech Research & Development (R&D) company in Germany, decided to enter the Omani market to contribute to the country’s mission of becoming an innovation hub in the Gulf region.
Motius, which solves technical problems and develops products for international customers, is represented in Oman through Genius Solutions, a 100 per cent Omani-owned technology solution provider.
Key factors
Speaking to the ‘Times of Oman’, Bahrouni said many countries aspire to become an innovation hub and it requires good and market-oriented ideas, funding and R&D ability. Oman is building its R&D capacity, and good ideas and funding are available, he noted, expressing the hope that companies like Motius would help expand the R&D capacity in the Sultanate.
Asked if there is room for more technology companies in Oman, Bahrouni said, “Not only is there room but there is the necessity to do so. In the context of diversifying the economy, there has to be an SME layer that is export-oriented.”
Time of crisis
Highlighting the importance of strong small and medium companies, he noted that Germany is a country most known for its SME layer and it has been witnessed what this section could do during the crisis in the last few years.
Germany has one of the best performances in the financial crisis in the world because of these companies and that has shown to the world and especially the Gulf countries why these companies are so important when it comes to diversifying the economy, he commented.
In addition, he said Germany is a good example when it comes to the link between the industry and the academic world, which has a lot to do with the fact that there are a lot of industries in Germany. It is a chicken and egg situation, Bahrouni said, adding that the more industries you have, the more universities you have, and so is the situation the other way around. He also emphasised the importance of hands-on training, which can complement theoretical training.
Asked about the characteristics of a good business idea, Motius’ managing director noted it is one that has a market and succeeds financially. A company should be high-tech, export-oriented, innovation-oriented and should create job opportunities, he added.
Bahrouni also said in his opinion, the missing financial success at the beginning should be more tolerated here than in other countries because the goal is more long-term and the country could sustain the lack of financial success in the initial stages.
Expansion plans
Commenting on Motius’ future plans, he said the company plans to expand in Oman and is also considering expansion in the region as well. Bahrouni added that Oman still remains the company’s focus, and will probably continue to be so. He said it is his pleasure to contribute to the Sultanate’s efforts to become an innovation hub.