New index all set to evaluate skills of local entrepreneurs
May 5, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Abdullah Al Jufaili, Sharakah’s general manager. File photo

Muscat: In what may seem to be an abstract idea at first glance, two leading companies in Oman are taking a concrete step to develop a psychometric index for assessing the entrepreneurial skills of Omanis, which can be used for several purposes, including the evaluation of entrepreneurs' eligibility to receive funds.

The Entrepreneurial Value Index (EVI), which will be the first of its kind in the Gulf, is being developed by Fund for Development of Youth Projects, also known as Sharakah, and Lighthouse, a leading business consulting firm, with the aim of contributing to the development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

"Sharakah provides financial assistance to SMEs, and when we review the applications, we take (several) things into consideration — the business plan, vulnerability, adaptability and demand for that product or service and the capability of the individual. At the moment, we do not have a systematic way to assess the skills of an applicant. It is very subjective now," Abdullah Al Jufaili, Sharakah's general manager, told the Times of Oman.

The EVI will make the assessment more objective, Al Jufaili said, adding that the results of the index will be complemented by one-to-one interviews.

According to him, those who do not meet the necessary requirements will be given guidelines and recommendations to enhance their skills. "And, of course, the requirements set out for start-ups are not the same as those for businesses that have been around for several years. The type of the business also matters."  

"We are seeking to encourage young Omanis to become entrepreneurs, so a tool is needed to assess their potential," Al Jufaili said, adding that the tool can be used by students or those who plan to start their own business to see whether they can be successful entrepreneurs or not.

It can also show whether or not the education system is equipping students with the essential skills and knowledge required to become successful businesspeople, he noted.  

Sharakah's general manager said that while a sample of 75 individuals were surveyed in the first stage, 500 entrepreneurs from across the Sultanate will be surveyed in the second phase to make the results more reliable. The research began early last year, he noted.   

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