Year - 2015

25/11/2015
BP Supports Sharakah Forum

BP Oman (BP) and Fund for Development of youth projects (Sharakah) inked a Memorandum of Understanding to support Sharakah Forum set to take place in Barr AL Jissah Resort on 14-15 December, 2015. The Forum will highlight the role of the media in the development of SMEs in Oman in particular.

Commenting on this Ms. Shamsa Al-Rawahi , Social Investment Director has confirmed the importance of BP supporting such kind of Initiatives in order to play bigger role in helping the development process of SMEs in Oman. "We always seek to strengthen the role of entrepreneurs in the community, and to focus on the development of SMEs within the Social Investment BP programs in the Sultanate, and we are happy to support this important event, which will highlight the role of the SMEs development.

And continuing supporting the role played by Sharakah in order to provide an interactive Forum, the Forum will focus on four basic expects printed media, audio and visual media, and new media with a focus on social media, it will also be the focus of the successful models for small enterprises in the media sector, and it will include interactive sessions with the speakers as well as a competitions to enrich engaging the audience in interactive discussions.

Abdullah Al Jufaili, GM, Sharakah also said “BP among the leading social investment companies, we have worked with together on several other initiatives during the past two years receiving the attention of the community and achieveing the desired success, and we believe that BP`s social investment strategy will have a noticeable return in the local community”.

He added (Our focus on media this year comes because of the growth that we have seen during the last years , the sector significantly has been evolved with the availability of modern technology in communication, and provided with this remarkable development of investment-opportunities for start-ups projects, and it will be one of the main aspects to focus on the Forum ).

22/11/2015
Registration is now open for Sharakah Forum with Al Roya`s media sponsorship.

Sharakah has announced yesterday opening the registration for Sharakah Forum while inking a media sponsorship agreements with Al Roya distributing and Publishing (Al Roya). The forum which is supported by Riyada as a Strategic Partner, will be held on the 14 and 15 of December and will focus on "The Role of Media in Supporting SME Development."

With the purpose of enriching the vital sectors of entrepreneurship and media, the forum is supported by several leading organizations. Sharakah aims for it to be an annual event that will address and shed light on specific topics related to SMEs. The forum is expected to attract professionals from the print media industry, broadcast media, online and social media. A special focus will also be on SMEs in the media industry.

The registration for Sharakah Forum will be available on the forum`s websitehttp://forum.sharakah.om until the 10th of December. Participation is free-of-charge and interested parties are encouraged to register as seats are limited.

Emphasizing on the importance of supporting the forum, The Honorable. Hatem Hamad Al Taie, Editor in Chief of Al Roya Distributing and Publishing said: "This is the first forum that we see focusing on the entrepreneurship opportunities in the media industry. We expect to have interactive sessions over this one-and-half day forum. Indeed, we encourage all SMEs to register and attend this forum to understand how they can best use media for the benefit of their businesses.”

“We are delighted to have AlRoya on board” said Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah. “We believe that AlRoya being a publication focused on economy will bring a much needed input in the forum content. We are certainly honored to have the Honorable Hatim Al Taie as one of the speakers and he will be sharing his experience from both perspective media and entrepreneurship.” He added

On the registration for the forum Mohamed Al Lawati, Marketing Specialist said “We encourage all interested to participate in the forum to register at once. We have limited sears and we will be accepting registration on a first come first serve basis. We are planning to run the forum in an interactive manner, so we will be having activities along the sessions that include trivia questions and survey polls. This event is mainly for SMEs who are looking for ways to best utilize media channles to grow their business.”

11/11/2015
Khazzan SME Development Program Launched

The Khazzan SME Development Program sponsored by BP launched yesterday at The Chamber of Commerce & Industry office in Nizwa. The ceremony presided by HE Sheikh Dr. Khalifa Al Saadi, Governor of Ad Dakhiliya. This program is one of BP Oman Social Investment Programs. The session was attended by more than 70 SMEs from the Governorate of Ad Dakhiliya.

Sharakah and Inspired Solutions delivered a workshop where they showcased the success of last year’s program, explained how to register for this year’s program and conducted a sales development workshop. Two SME business owners from the earlier program expressed their satisfaction of the program and shared the improvement in their business.

Hilal Al Shuraiqi commented “My business was amongst the businesses that were accepted to enroll in last year’s program. I have been running my business for more than 3 years; however I have always followed an ad-hoc approach when it comes to running my operations. The Khazzan SME Development enabled me to reassess how I operate and enlightened me on many areas that my business needs improvement.”

Aliya Al Nabhani was also one of the participants in last year’s program. He said “I now realize the importance of having a clear business plan and strategy for my business. We learned a great deal about financial management and sales. The OMR 5,000 that we received from BP was fully utilized to improve the business. Our business now is fully rebranded and we are even online and on social media.”

The program was delivered by Experts from Inspired Solutions who have extensive experience in credit management and SME development in Oman. William R. Crew the Founder of Inspired Solutions said “We are impressed by the vast interest we have received from SMEs in the Governorates of Ad Dakhiliya and Ad Dhahirah to participate in this program. Last year we had 168 applicants who went through the evaluation process and we selected 22 SMEs to be trained. Our aim through this program is to improve the way these SMEs operate and upgrade the quality of their services.”

“We are delighted that BP has awarded us the responsibility of managing the implementation of this program. This is a unique program and its impact goes miles beyond the classroom training. By the end of the program all participating SMEs will get a complete business plan that includes a market research for their particular product or service. The will also develop their cash flow projection for the coming years, learn about the different channels they can use to market their products or services and have better understanding of the areas that needs improvement in their business. In addition 20 SMEs will receive a non-refundable grant from BP that will be utilized to grow the business.” Said Abdullah Al jufaili, Genearl Manager, Sharakah
11/11/2015
Khazzan Project for SME Development Session in Ibri

The second engagement session of the Khazzan Project for SME Development sponsored by BP was held yesterday at Oman Chamber of Commerce & Industry office in Ibri under the patronage of HE Sheikh Dhiyab Al-Rubaie, Wali of Ibri. The session was attended by more than 50 SMEs from the Governorate of Ad Dhahirah.

The session was delivered by Sharakah and Inspired Solutions in which they have presented examples of SMEs that participated in the previous year program, explained how to register for this year’s program and conducted a sales development workshop.

Amongst the SMEs that participated last year were Ahmed Al Maamari and Thuwaiba Al Ismaili, they were excited about the knowledge they have gained in the program. Ahmed Maamari said “I was delighted to have been selected to be part of this program. The Khazzan SME Development acted as a check point to assess how I operate my business. Indeed, I have made some drastic changes in my operations and I now understand the importance of business planning.”

Thuwaiba Al Ismaili also commented “We learned a great deal about financial management and sales. The Knowledge we have gained from the program will raise the level of our projects to the growth stage.”

William R. Crew the Founder of Inspired Solutions, the company responsible to execute the program commented “There is a great interest in the Governorate of Ad Dhahirah from SMEs to grow their businesses and we are expecting to have more applications this year from Ibri.”
11/11/2015
NBC Supports Sharakah Forum

The National Business Center (NBC) and Sharakah inked a Memorandum of Understanding to support Sharakah Forum set to take place in Barr AL Jissah Resort on 14-15 December, 2015. The agreement was signed by Ms. Malak Al Shaibani, Director General, NBC and Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah.

Commenting on this Ms. Malak Al Shaibani said “NBC and Sharakah have a shared vision to support the development of SMEs in Oman. This is one of many other initiatives that we have partnered with them. We are delighted that Sharakah is looking at media and its impact on the SME sector. We believe that there is a lot to learn from best practices across the region and it will also be a good platform to showcase successful local SMEs in the media sector. We are particularly delighted that some of our incubates (ex. Albalad online Newspaper) will have an opportunity to tell their story at this event.”

Abdullah Al Jufaili, GM, Sharakah also said “NBC has always been a supportive partner in many initiatives and we are delighted that they are on board for this as well. Indeed, Sharakah Forum will focus on 4 media channels namely print media, broadcast media, digital media and social media. We have invited local and regional speakers to address the topic. We are also keen on showcasing few SMEs that have used media as a platform to grow their businesses”

For reference, Sharakah was incorporated by a Royal Decree in the Sultanate of Oman to support the development of SMEs. It offers financial and administrative support to local SMEs.
05/11/2015
OER and AIWA Supports Sharakah Forum

An agreement was signed yesterday between United Media Services (UMS) and the Fund for Development of Youth Projects (Sharakah) to support Sharakah Forum. Sharakah Forum is set to be a regional annual event organized and managed by Sharakah to discuss specific topics related to the SME sector. The forum will focus this year on the Role of Media in supporting SME development.

Mr. Khalfan Al Rahbi, Chief Editor, Aalam Al Iktisad Wal Aamal said, “it is quite interesting to look at SME development from the media angle. This event is one of its kind, we expect to have engaging discussions with our peers in the other media channels as well as with SMEs who would like to learn more about the role of the media industry in growing their businesses.”

Abdullah Al Jufaili, GM, Sharakah also said “Both OER and AIWA are renown magazines and we are delighted that they are onboard. Participants should expect to have active sessions throughout. We are mostly excited about the discussion that will take place about successful examples of startup companies in the media industry. The development that the media industry has witnessed in the last decade has created niche opportunities for startups.”

For reference, Sharakah was incorporated by a Royal Decree in the Sultanate of Oman to support the development of SMEs. It offers financial and administrative support to local SMEs.

02/11/2015
Sharakah supports (Rev GX) with its Islamic Equity scheme.

As Sharakah always aims to develop the entrepreneurial capabilities in the local community, it has recently sanctioned a new project in the service sector "Rev GX". This project is a unique gymnasium with special classes and session for physical activity and body building as well.

The project is run and managed by three young Omani entrepreneurs Mr. Rashid Mohamed Abdullah Al Barwani, Mr. Said Hamed Saleh Al Marhoobi and Mr. Mohamed Sultan Mohamed Al Sharji. Mr. Rashid is 39 years old, holding a Master`s degree in Science in International Construction Management from Bath University in United Kingdom with more than 11 years of working experience in several organizations. While Mr. Said is 32 years old and holds an MBA from University of Bedfordshire in the UK along with a decade of experience working for Ooredoo Oman as Stream Manager/Transformation and Strategy PMO. Lastly, Mr. Mohammed is 33 years old, holding a Master degree in Business Administration from Strathclyde University in the UK along with more than 13 years of working experience in reputed companies such as Petroleum Development Oman, GBM and Telecoms Regulatory Authority.

In year 2014, Sharakah has sanctioned 10 projects with a total investment amount of OMR 814,000. These include new projects and recurring clients who have asked for additional finance. With confident efforts, Sharakah aims to increase the number of the sanctioned projects for 2015 and aspire to be the SME supporting organization that everyone is proud to be associated with.

The project is called "Rev GX", which is a group-exercise fitness center is specializing in functional fitness; which means that total body workouts are not conducted with traditional gym equipment such as treadmills, elliptical or weight machines. However, dumbbells, kettle bells and martial equipment are used for specific classes and workouts. The company provides group exercise classes, small group personal training and one to one personal training.

Sharakah`s focus is on SME`s sustainability, so their support goes far beyond financing. Recently they have introduced many mechanisms and tool to help them asses the progress of the business and guide the owners towards achieving success.

"We want to ensure that these projects sustain the market, maintain the jobs created, expand nationally and grow to be bankable." Said Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah

12/10/2015
Entrepreneur Middle East- Media Partner for Sharakah Forum

An agreement was signed today between Entrepreneur Middle East magazine and the Fund for Development of Youth Projects (Sharakah) to support Sharakah Forum. Sharakah Forum is set to be a regional annual event organized and managed by Sharakah to discuss specific topics related to the SME sector. The forum will focus this year on the Role of Media in supporting SME development.

Addressing the press Mr. Aby Sam Thomas, Managing Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East said, “We are witnessing the positive changes that are taking place in the Sultanate of Oman with regards to entrepreneurial ecosystem development, and we believe that there is great potential for SMEs in the Omani market. Supporting this event marks one of our first initiatives in the Omani enterprise space, and we think that Sharakah’s focus on media in this year’s forum will benefit the ecosystem as a whole as media support plays a pivotal role in SME development.”

Abdullah Al Jufaili, GM, Sharakah also said “We are delighted that we got Entrepreneur Middle East on board. The whole event will take the form of a workshop style and it should be engaging. Participants should expect to have active sessions throughout. We are mostly excited about the discussion that will take place about successful examples of startup companies in the media industry. The development that the media industry has witnessed in the last decade has created niche opportunities for startups.”

For reference, Sharakah was incorporated by a Royal Decree in the Sultanate of Oman to support the development of SMEs. It offers financial and administrative support to local SMEs.
20/09/2015
Browny Popcorn opens its doors in Panorama Mall

Sharakah recently signed an agreement to provide financial support to a new project in the Food and Beverage Industry "Browny Popcorn". This is the first Omani brand that offers gourmet popcorn with unique flavors like caramel, chili, Omani Halwa, Vinegar, Jalapeno, Nacho Cheese and spicy Ranch to name a few.

Browny Popcorn is going to be located in the multi-category destination for fashion, dining, and entertainment, The Panorama Mall located in the Wilyat of Boushar. The business will be run and operated by Abdullah Al Dughaishi and Issa Al Hoti. Both are college graduates and have relevant experience in managing businesses.

Abdullah Al Dughaishi is excited about his business venture, he stated “We believe that we have a very unique concept and our customers will enjoy having variety flavors of popcorn. We are planning to start with 22 flavors and probably introduce a new flavor every other month.”

Equally excited Essa Al Hooti said “We have had this concept for a while, but we were looking for the right financial partner and a good location to execute it. Sharakah has been very supportive since the early stages of our operation. We value the support services offered by Sharakah and believe that following their guidance, we will grow this concept nationally.”

Mr. Abdullah Al Dughaishi, who is 31 years old holds a Bachelor Degree of Tourism in Hospitality Management from Sultan Qaboos University and currently works in Oman Royal Flight as a Flight Dispatcher. With years of working experience in hotels around Oman, Mr. Abdullah has the confidence and capabilities of managing his business with professionalism.

Along with Abdullah, Mr. Essa Al Hooti, who is 26 years old holds a Diploma of Networking from the Higher College of Technology and also works in Oman Royal Flight as a Flight Dispatcher. Before joining Oman Royal Flight, Essa worked in Oman Arab Bank in the IT Section and also in Khimji Ramdas Shipping Company in the Finance and Marketing Department.

“It brings a lot of excitement and joy to see a project being transformed from a business plan to reality. We have been witnessing an increase in the number of Omani’s venturing into starting their own businesses. To date we have financially supported more than 76 projects. Many of them have expanded and later many have paid off the investment amount. We believe that Browny Popcorn has a great potential to grow nationally and probably regionally in the near future. Our objective remains to see these businesses sustain in the market and grow.” Said Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah.

20/09/2015
Riyada Support Sharakah Forum

The Public Authority for SME Development (Riyada) signed a memorandum of cooperation with Fund for Development of Youth Projects (Sharakah) to support Sharakah Forum. Sharakah Forum is set to be an annual event organized and managed by Sharakah to discuss specific topics related to the SME sector.

This year Sharakah Forum will discuss the Role of Media in Supporting SME Development. The discussion themes will include the role of print media, broadcast media, digital media and an overview of successful SMEs in the media industry across the region.

At the signing Mr. Khalifa Al Abri, CEO, Riyada commented “We are delighted to partner with Sharakah for this important event. We see that media plays a major role in supporting SMEs development and it will be a great opportunity to learn about the best practices across the region in promoting the entrepreneurship culture through media channels.”

Abdullah Al Jufaili, GM, Sharakah also said “We are grateful to Riyada for supporting our event and we are confident that this cooperation will lead making a successful event. We have a number of regional and local speakers lined up for this event, most of which will be from the media industry. We are mostly excited about the discussion that will take place about successful examples of startup companies in the media industry. The development that the media industry has witnessed in the last decade has created niche opportunities for startups.”

13/07/2015
New Project Sanctioned By Sharakah

As Sharakah always aims to develop the entrepreneurial capabilities in the local community, it has recently sanctioned a new project in the service sector "YogurBerry". This Korean franchise has over 250 outlets around the world, the list of countries include USA, China, Malaysia, UAE and many others.

The project is run and managed by two young entrepreneurs Mr. Yahya Al Shuraiqi and Mrs. Maha Al Balushi, who graduated from Sultan Qaboos University with Bachelor`s degree in the fields of Environmental and Chemical Sciences. Mr. Yahya has been working in Muscat Municipality since 2010 and passionate to introduce this franchise in the local market. On the other hand, Mrs. Abeer has been working in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, sharing Mr. Yahya the ambition to start their new project.

In year 2014, Sharakah has sanctioned 10 projects with a total investment amount of OMR 814,000. These include new projects and recurring clients who have asked for additional finance. With confident efforts, Sharakah aims to increase the number of the sanctioned projects for 2015 and aspire to be the SME supporting organization that everyone is proud to be associated with.

The project is called "YogurBerry", which is a Korean franchise that introduces low-fat yoghurt ice creams that is freshly prepared in the outlet along with the fresh fruits and toppings, fulfilling the craving customers who seek healthier options of self-indulgence with a wide range of flavors like Strawberry, Chocolate, Mango, Pineapple, Pistachio, Honey and more. In addition, smoothies and coffees are also available on the menu of "YogurBerry".

Sharakah`s focus is on SME`s sustainability, so their support goes far beyond financing. Recently they have introduced many mechanisms and tool to help them asses the progress of the business and guide the owners towards achieving success.

"We want to ensure that these projects sustain the market, maintain the jobs created, expand nationally and grow to be bankable." Said Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah
19/03/2015
Sharakah conducts Workshop in College of Applied Sciences, Salalah

Sharakah conducted a workshop titled “Dynamic Entrepreneurship” to students of College of Applied Sciences in Salalah last week. The workshop aimed at making students understand how to establish and manage a business in changing economic and social environment.

"We know that understanding financial statements could be quite complicated for an average person, therefore we developed this 6-hours engaging workshop which takes the participants through a series of activities to develop the cash flow statement than understand the factors that could affect any business." said Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager, Sharakah

During the workshop, useful case studies and examples represented to students to teach them how to develop a cash flow statement and how to calculate a loan, in addition to getting a better understanding about the factors that could affect the entire business progress.

“Starting a successful business surely requires good planning. It is important to set short and long term goals as well as budgeting. This workshop helped us to understand how to develop the cash flow statement and how to manage the business in a changing environment.”. Said a student from the college.

Sharakah is always seeking to encourage and promote entrepreneurship and since 2011 more than 500 individuals benefited from the workshops done by Sharakah. The workshop was highly appreciated by the students and the College Administration.

01/03/2015
Ben Bella Buys back its Equity Stake from Sharakah

Ben Bella Trading has officially exited from Sharakah by purchasing all shares owned by Sharakah. Ben Bella received equity financial support from Sharakah in 2011. The project was originally a fish specialty restaurant called Ocean & Earth and subsequently expanded its business to provide catering services to large corporates. They currently provide catering services to students and faculty members at German University of Technology (GUTECH) and at the new Muscat International Airport construction site. Mr. Ben Bella, partnered with Mohammed Al Habsi and agreed to rope in Sharakah as Equity Partner for setting up the business.

The restaurant in its initial startup phase planned for slow and cautious growth and later Ocean & Earth has started developing its catering unit to serve ever-growing event market in Muscat. Overall, the business is doing very well and has created around 16 jobs.

"We would like to congratulate and thank Mr. Ben Bella for his commitment and hard work in making the business a successful venture. He, in a record time, has paid the full amount and we (Sharakah) have formally exited the company, which is an indicator of the project’s success and growth. ” Says Dinkar Kishor, Deputy General Manager at Sharakah.

“When I established my project I faced difficulties to have sufficient capital and understanding other issues in the business environment, I approached Sharakah for support and I knew that I would be receiving the much needed guidance and financial support. Sharakah has helped me to run my business successfully. I currently have 16 staff. Operationally, I am now dedicating my effort to provide better service and open new branches in other locations besides GU-tech University and the airport. I appreciate and thank the entire group of Sharakah for their continuous support and encouragement to continue performing well to achieve success in my field. ” Says Ben Bella.

Sharakah`s support is not limited to financial support; it goes beyond that to ensure businesses` sustainability and growth. Indeed, our ultimate objective is to provide support to SMEs in Oman and help them grow nationally and regionally.
16/02/2015
Lab Scientific Exits Sharakah`s Bill Discounting Program

Lab Scientific has recently exited the funding program of Sharakah by honoring the outstanding financial support provided. Jassim -owner of Lab Scientific & Laboratory Supplies LLC- has approached Sharakah in 2008 to get financial support for supplying chemicals to various organizations such as; Ministry of Health, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), Royal Oman Police, Ministry of Agriculture and other corporations. Lab Scientific is the sole agent for SIGMA ALDRICH COROPORATION, which is an international leading corporation in supplying chemicals for both research fine chemical manufacturing and equipment.

Jassim Al Mamari is known for his dedication towards his business. He was recently awardedThe Best Performing Company” for the year 2014 at National Business Centre (NBC). In 2012 he won “Best Performing Company in the category of Medium Enterprises” in Omantel Business Excellence SME Awards.

“When I was introduced to Sharakah and got a better understanding of their services, I felt at ease that I would be receiving the much needed guidance and financial support. Sharakah has helped me to run my business successfully. I currently have 6 full time staff having started on my own. Operationally, I am introducing new lines of products and diverting business activities but surely in the same field of providing services for laboratories. I appreciate and thank the entire group of Sharakah for their continuous support and encouragement to continue performing well to achieve success in my field. I also value the services received from NBC” Says Jassim Al Mamary.

Sharakah`s support is not limited to financial support; it goes beyond that to ensure businesses` sustainability and growth. "In Sharakah, we welcome businesses from most sectors. To avail financial support from Sharakah, we request the business owner to submit a business plan that includes a brief about the business, the products or services offered, a review of the market, and financials amongst other things. For existing businesses we would like to get a better understanding of their financial performance so we request them to submit their audited financials." Says Halima Al Riyami, Project Specialist at Sharakah.

Sharakah aims to support more than 14 projects in 2015 with a targeted investment of Rials 840,000. New and existing businesses are welcomed to learn more about Sharakah`s services through our website. Indeed, our ultimate objective is to provide support to SMEs in Oman and help them grow nationally and regionally.
11/02/2015
OFP, the First Project to Avail Sharakah’s Shariaa Compliant Equity Scheme

OFP LLC signed an agreement yesterday with Sharakah to receive financial support to set up a ` Manufacturing unit’ in Nizwa Industrial Estate. Sharakah and OFP will jointly invest to setup the factory. The Agreement was signed by Mr. Abdullah Al Jufaili, General Manager of Sharakah and Mr. Loay Al Haj, Board Member of OFP.

OFP will set up a medium size manufacturing unit in Nizwa Industrial Estate to cater to the huge demand from petrochemical, fertilizer, power, desalination, waste water and other industries.

Speaking at the signing ceremony Mr. Loay Al Haj, Board member, OFP said “We are delighted to have signed this agreement with a professional institute as Sharakah to assist us in setting up the unit. The market shows great potential for our product given the demand from large projects in various sectors. We have teamed up with experts to produce quality products.”

Loay has over 11 years of experience in the Oil and Gas industry locally in PDO and another 7 years internationally from the United States and the Netherlands. Throughout his career he has worked in various positions as a Technical Consultant, Senior Production Engineer and Thermal WRM Team Leader.

Zuwaina Al Badai, Investment Manager at Sharakah commented saying “OFP is a project that deserves recognition for it is the first project to avail the Shariaa Compliant Equity Scheme, it is identified in the list of In-Country-Value (ICV) by the Omani Oil and Gas companies, it covers a need in the local and regional market, it would provide more than 60 employment opportunities at least 30% of them will be for Omanis, and it helps transfer knowledge and expertise in the local market. We are delighted that they have chosen Sharakah as a partner and we ensure them that our partnership goes beyond financing. We are truly excited to support this project for its objective of ultimately maximizing Oman ICV”

The unit will start setting up during the 2nd quarter of this year and is expected to start production towards the end of the year.

Sharakah believes in the potential of local businesses to grow nationally and regionally. Indeed, it is the business development, follow up and monitoring post financing that ensures keeping the business on the right path.