Muscat: Due to its belief in the importance of sustainability, the Oman Environmental Services Holding Company (be’ah) has launched the Eco-Innovate Oman (EiO) accelerator programme to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) specialising in the environmental sustainability, and waste management sectors, and to support the Omani SME ecosystem by promoting the circular economy.
This programme is considered the first of its kind in the Sultanate and was launched last year in collaboration with Inspired Solutions, a business consultancy company.
The accelerator’s main objectives are to create jobs through entrepreneurialism and diversify Oman’s economy in support of Oman’s Vision 2040 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Dr Farah Al Barwani, Research and Development Manager at be’ah, said, “We were glad to have chosen a number of ambitious SMEs in all levels of development and that have high potential in the fields of environmental sustainability, waste management, agriculture, education, aquaculture, biotechnology, environmental tourism, and other eco sectors.”
"The participating SMEs have completed the first stages of the accelerator which involved a three-month boot camp and 1-on-1 coaching sessions. They are currently involved in one-on-one coaching sessions to further prepare them to become investment-ready. The final stage of the accelerator involves preparing the SME’s to pitch to investors,” Dr Farah added.
The EiO was launched at the end of 2019 and received the first batch of SMEs in March 2020. Fourteen startups were taken to the programme based on their specialisations in resource management and environmental sustainability.
On the commercial side of the programme, William R. Crew, CEO of Inspired Solutions stated, “It has been so exciting to personally witness the commercial development of the entrepreneurs who have been participating in Eco-Innovate Oman. Over the past many months they have all grown and embraced the principles of impact entrepreneurialism-of creating not only financial returns but also environmental and social returns as well.”
He also added, “During the 3 month-long boot camp earlier this year they learned the fundamentals of product/market fit and market research and validation. Right now they are being coached to prepare investment proposals and are learning how to pitch for investment growth financing. By the end of the year, we anticipate that many of them will have secured funding and will be a position to scale up, not only in Oman but into the GCC and beyond.”
It is noteworthy that Inspired Solutions is a local consultancy company that designs and manages development programmes for Omani SME’s, it has trained over 130 Omani SMEs since 2012.