Oman Forum 2018 calls for empowering SMEs, developing skills of Omani youth

Business Monday 24/December/2018 17:29 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman Forum 2018 calls for empowering SMEs, developing skills of Omani youth

Muscat: Oman Forum 2018 made a strong pitch for developing the skills of Omani youth to meet the demands of the job market, while underlining the need to empower SMEs to fast-track job creation.
Dr Sheikh Al Khattab bin Ghalib Al Hinai, Deputy Chairman of the State Council was the chief guest at the event held at Crowne Plaza Muscat. “Enhancing Competitiveness of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Building National Talent,” was the focus of Oman Forum 2018.
Organised by UMS Events, Oman Forum is an annual Arabic debate by the leading Arabic business magazine Alam al-Iktisaad Wal A’mal (AIWA), published by United Media Services (UMS). The 2018 edition, which was held in partnership with Riyada, comprised two panel sessions. The first panel session deliberated on ‘‘Enhancing Competitiveness of SMEs,” while the second panel on ‘‘Building National Talent-Strengthening competencies.’’
In his key-note address, Dr Ahmed Al Ghassani, CEO of Riyada said that SMEs need empowerment and not just support. “We are focused on empowering SMEs. It’s a great opportunity for SMEs to develop and thereby create more jobs.”
Sheikh Salah Al Maawali, CEO, SME Development Fund said that financing, developing entrepreneurship, nurturing and creating an environment that is conducive for the growth of SMEs are some of the objectives of the SME Development Fund.
Hilal Al Jadidi, Consulting Service Director of Takatuf, Said Al Rashdi, Board Member, Omani Society for Human Resources Management (OSHRM) and Adil Al Abri, Founder and CEO, Uniboats Marine Tourism Companyalso made presentations at the event. Said Al Mashani, General Manager, Corporate Affairs and Business Development, UMS welcomed.
Takatuf was the HR Knowledge Partner, while SME Development Fund and NTI were the Associate Partners. Voltamp and Al Tasnim Enterprises were the Support Partners. RMP was the Print Partner, while Oman Economic Review (OER), Times of Oman and Shabiba were the Media partners.
Dr. Ahmed Al Ghassani, Sheikh Salah Hilal Al Maawali, Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah, Eng. Bader Al Abri, ICV Development Manager, PDO and Ahmed Al Shukaily, Founder and CEO, International Renewable Energy Company were the panelists at the first panel session on ‘Enhancing Competitiveness of SMEs.’ The panelists stressed that SMEs should compete regionally and globally. Al Maawali said plans were in place to start an academy to develop SMEs. “We plan to conduct certificate course for young entrepreneurs to develop skills to market their products and services.”
Panelists at the second panel session on “Building National Talent: Strengthening Competencies,” included HE Younis Al Mandhari, Deputy Head, Youth and Human Resources Committee, Majlis A’Shura, Ibtihal Al-Riyami, General Manager, Organisational Planning, Omantel, Said Al Rashdi, Lawrence Alva, CEO, NTI and Katrin Herz, General Manager, Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel. HE Al Mandhari said that it was necessary to improve the skills and employability of Omani youth to meet the demands of the job market. Lawrence Alva said there are a lot of local job-seekers and the current focus was on structured on the job-programmes. NTI constantly engages with theemployers to explore and provide training that meet current skill sets that are required bythe employers. Retention of employees is a key element, he said. Online training will be the future of the industry, he added.
Katrin underlined the need to promote hospitality industry as an interesting career option for Omanis. At Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz Carlton Hotel, a number of Omanis are currently in leadership positions. “We are trying to promote Omani talent across all departments,” she said.
The session looked at effective training, planning and management to develop and retain Omani talent in the rapidly evolving and fast-growing manufacturing and other sectors. It also looked at developing the skill-sets of the local human capital. Noted TV Journalist Yusuf Al Hooti moderated the panel sessions.
At the event, AIWA Excellence Awards were presented to companies promoting SMEs, Talent Development and Omanisation. Voltamp Energy won the AIWA Excellence Award for SME andTalent Development, OCTAL bagged the AIWA Excellence Award for Training and Leadership Development. Ministry of Tourism won the AIWA Excellence Award for Promoting SMEs in Tourism Sector, while Shell Oman Marketing Company bagged the AIWA Excellence Award for Promoting Omanisation.
Alongside the Forum, a special workshop was conducted by Hilal Al Jadidi, on “Managing and Attracting Talent in SMEs.” The workshop looked at key issues such as attracting and retaining talent, training and development and filling skill gaps.