Year - 2022


Sharakah, Fund for Development of Youth Projects, made by Royal Decree for supporting the SME sector in Oman, recently attended the 18th annual meeting of the International Network for Small and Medium Enterprises (INSME), held in Baku, Azerbaijan. The International Network for SMEs, based in Rome, Italy, holds an annual general meeting to address diverse subjects and significant challenges that concern the SME industry besides discussing the achievements and goals of the Association. This year`s INSME conference, with the theme "Empowering SMEs - Economic Diversification & Green Growth," was held at the JW Marriott Hotel, Baku under the patronage of His Excellency Mikayil Jabbarov, Minister of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Other prominent international figures in attendance included H.E Yves Leterme, former PM of Belgium, Mr. Sergio Arzeni, President of INSME, Mr. Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman, KOBIA and Ali Ahmed Muqaibal, CEO of Sharakah. Hosted in association with the Small and Medium Business (SMB) Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (KOBIA), the 18th INSME meeting took into account the current and existing international context for the SME sector; addressing high interest rates, a possible recession, damages caused by natural disasters and climate change and global conflict amongst others. Recognising that SMEs are essential to the global economy as a driver, contributor and employer, Sharakah discussed future cooperation and joint projects during the highly strategic meeting. On the role of SMEs in the global diversification and sustainability efforts, Ali Muqaibal stated, “The speed of energy transition in any economy depends on many factors, such as the energy situation of the country, social and economic factors, etc. Amidst this environment, the incubation provided by multinational organizations and universities for SMEs has played a vital role in promoting green innovation by providing funds, closing gaps for research and development and acting as a catalyst in their integration of a green ecosystem as part of their ESG contribution.”The two-day meeting included many sessions and discussion panels for the attendees to deliberate and exchange market expertise and knowledge. Sessions covered sustainability and energy challenges for SMEs, contingency planning, innovation and green growth, policy and response, Annual General Assembly as well as a fruitful matchmaking session to pair SMEs with potential investors and stakeholders. The event also included sideline meetings for attendees to hold one-on-one discussions. Furthering its efforts to identify opportunities for growth and international engagement, Sharakah organized a side meeting with His Excellency Orkhan Mammadov, Chairman of the Management Board of the Small and Medium Business Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan (KOB?A), who has expressed his interest in visiting the Sultanate to seek out potential partnerships and areas of collaboration with Sharakah. It’s worth mentioning that Sharakah, aside from offering financial support and guidance to SMEs, also helps build local entrepreneurial capacity, advocates policies related to the SME sector and promotes the concept of entrepreneurship in the Sultanate in line with Oman’s 2040 vision.


`Sharakah,’ Fund for Development of Youth Projects, SAOC, has announced the appointment of Mr. Ali Ahmed Muqaibal as the Chief Executive Officer of Sharakah. Mr. Ali took charge of the office in October 2022. Ali Muqaibal, holds a bachelor’s degree from Arizona State University and MBA from INSEAD. He is an executive business leader who brings with him more than 20 years of vast experience across different disciplines, like, corporate and investment strategy formulation and execution, portfolio management, digital transformation, and transforming businesses in the Consumer and Enterprise segments. Ali has exceptional international business experience, growing Omani enterprises in several countries, besides sitting on the Boards of different international organizations. His plethora of experience ranges across major organizations such as Shell Oman Marketing Company SAOG, Occidental Oman, Oman Oil Company, and Oman Oil Marketing Company, and Oxy.In his role as Sharakah’s CEO, Ali is responsible for steering and executing the company’s vision, and strategy in alignment with Oman’s Vision 2040. He will be leading the organization with an emphasis on increasing the impact of local SMEs and entrepreneurs in the national economy. “We welcome Ali Muqaibal as the CEO of Sharakah. We believe that Ali has the capability, passion, creativity, and skills required to inspire and lead Sharakah in its mission to succeed and making a difference in the SME arena” said Hani Al Zubair, Chairman of Sharakah’s Board. Mr. Ali conveyed his gratitude and said, “I am honored to be part of a prestigious organization like Sharakah and thankful to the Board of Directors of Sharakah for posing trust and confidence in me”! He further added, “Playing a strategic role in the SMEs ecosystem in the sultanate and making a positive impact is our vision, and going forward our strategies will evolve around these paramount objectives benefitting the Omani SME sector.”


Technological advancement is one of the main characteristics of today`s era and when backed with innovation it can truly provide a boost to the economy as well as other parts of our daily life. In line with the Oman Vision 2040, and the direction of the economy toward diversification with a focus on innovation, technology, and knowledge-based industries, `Sharakah’, Fund for Development of Youth Projects, SAOC, made by Royal Decree of 1998 for supporting the SME sector in Oman, has launched a new Equity Scheme for Innovation & Technology.

The Shari’a compliant scheme is directed toward providing support to startups and existing projects in the sector of Innovation and Technology where a prototype is ready for commercialization. Financial support of up to OMR 50,000 is provided as Equity participation with a clear exit strategy. This is basically ‘Venture Capital Investment’ in the true sense and Sharakah plays the role of ‘Angel Investor’.

Umaima Al-Ghadani, Investment Manager in Sharakah added:" The importance of SMEs in the innovation and technology sector in the sultanate economic growth and their contribution to the GDP has been emphasized by his Majesty and the Oman 2040 vision, and Sharakah’s objective is to contribute in supporting this promising sector by providing the necessary incentives to ensure its success and sustainability”.


`Sharakah’ Fund for Development of Youth Projects, SAOC, made by Royal Decree of 1998 for supporting the SME sector in Oman, welcomes two new Members on its Board. As a continuation of its efforts for the continuous support to the SME sector with a goal of aligning with Oman’s 2040’s vision, Sharakah welcomes the two dynamic and experienced senior bankers, Mr. Hassan A. Shaban and Mr. Kamal H. Al Maraza to its Board of Directors. Mr. Hassan A. Shaban, General Manager - Chief Government & Alliance Banking Officer, National Bank of Oman [NBO], has more than 30 years of experience in various organizations like OCCI, Majan International Bank, and currently with NBO for almost 20 years. He has served in various capacities which span across fields like Corporate Affairs and Govt Relations, Public Relations, Marketing & Branding, Wealth Management, and Training. While at OCCI, he had the opportunity to work in South Africa as well as Taipei, Taiwan. He has in-depth knowledge of SME sector of Oman. Mr. Kamal Uddin Hassan Al Maraza, General Manager & Chief Islamic Banking Officer – Maisarah Islamic Banking Services of Bank Dhofar has more than 23 years of experience ranging in Credit, Corporate Banking, Trade Finance, SME Financing, etc. He has worked in various banks such as HSBC Bank Middle East, Bank Sohar S.A.O.G, and Bank Dhofar S.A.O.G Primarily, as he spent the past 13 years playing a crucial role in areas such as strategic planning and execution and business transformation in the bank. “We are delighted to welcome Mr. Hassan A. Shaban and Mr. Kamal Uddin Al-Maraza to our Board of Directors. They bring a wealth of relevant experience in key areas including their expertise in the SME sector of Oman. Their presence will further enhance Board’s capability to serve the Omani SME echo system, which plays a vital role in attaining Sharakah’s objectives, missions, and vision,” commented Mr. Hani Al Zubair, Chairman, Sharakah. It is vital to highlight that Sharakah’s Board constitute of members with diverse and relevant experience and they with their expertise and guidance have steered the organization to grow and achieve its objective over the past 22 years of supporting and establishing successful and sustainable Small and Medium Enterprises. To further promote the concept of entrepreneurship in the sultanate in line with Oman’s 2040 vision.


Bakehouse Cafe? was founded by young Omani entrepreneurs in 2019. It started its operations with a small elegant branch in Al Khoudh, on Mazoon Street, where it distinguished itself as a provider of premium fresh products. The Café started to offer a variety of products such as premium Specialty Coffee, fresh pastries such as croissants and desserts such as cakes and cookies. They have since then expanded their menu to include breakfast options as well as a wider variety of beverages. Furthermore, the brand has been able to adapt to the seasonality of products, for instance they launched their Winter Exclusive products which were the signature Winter Hot Cocoa and Winter Churros (btw, (if you haven’t tried them yet, you’re missing out) and Summer Exclusives, like the refreshing Iced Teas and Acai bowl. They are soon launching products for this summer season (stay tuned!).

One of the major strengths in the brand’s products are their quality as it is the utmost priority at Bakehouse; the premium ingredients that are used and high standard of equipment is reflected in the rich and flavorful taste of their products, which have been created in collaboration with world-renowned Chefs.

In January 2022, Bakehouse opened its second branch, at Souq Al Madina, in Madinat Al Sultan Qaboos. The new location immediately gained popularity when it started operations; it started operations in late December 2021 and was setup with emphasis on the Winter Season due to the lovely outdoor seating area. The brand marketed their Winter Exclusives with the quote “Winter in Muscat” which turned out to become synonymous with Bakehouse. The same enthusiasm is expected this Summer, with many new products to be introduced very soon.

Bakehouse has also made remarkable efforts to reduce its carbon footprint; like offering sustainable reusable glass bottles for takeaway beverage orders, and introducing edible pasta straws which were an option to have instead of the regular plastic straws. In a market saturated with F&B establishments, it is nice to see one standing out and making a conscious effort to be more environmental-friendly.

Some of the best sellers from their beverage menu are the Saffron Latte, Forest Berries Iced Tea & Caramel Frappe. In terms of their pastries, Kinder Croissant & the Garlic Cheese Croissant are customer favorites. Other products that can’t be missed out on are the French Toast, Ferrero Cake and Mini Cookies. They also offer delivery through Talabat & TmDone. Furthermore, both branches offer the option to order through their website where customers are able to get discounts as well as loyalty cashback rewards.

The Cafe was granted financial and advisory support by the Fund for Development of Youth Projects “Sharakah” in December 2021, as Sharakah aims to support promising local businesses. Sharakah has been guiding small and medium enterprises in the Sultanate towards maintaining profitability and sustainability since 1998.


Sharakah held its 22nd Annual General Meeting for the financial year ended 31st December 2021 on March 22,2022. The Meeting was presided by Mr. Hani bin Mohamed Al Zubair, Chairman of the Board of Directors and attended by Board Members, Shareholders, representatives of Shareholders, Statutory Auditors, Lawyer, MOCI representatives as well as Sharakah staff.

The meeting was held virtually through ‘Zoom’ under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry & Investment Promotion and Muscat Clearing and Depository

Mr. Hani gave a brief about Sharakah`s achievements during the year despite the challenges caused by the pandemic and its effect on the overall economy and SMEs in particular. The recurrence of several waves of COVID-19 has been hindering the growth and development.

He further added: “Sharakah continued its helping hand to small businesses which have been hit by the pandemic, lockdowns and restrictions. In line with the Government of Oman, as well as the Central Bank’s directives, Sharakah stands committed to supporting SMEs overcome the hardship and rebound to normality as soon as possible. The Board of Sharakah, in the second successive year, as a supporting gesture, has approved a complete interest waiver to suffering and deserving SMEs. Many repayments have also been deferred and loans restructured. With relaxations happening and businesses opening up, we have resumed our visits and meetings with SMEs providing regular follow ups, guiding them through suggested modifications and/or innovations that could help them survive the unprecedented tough time. These interventions are showing a positive outcome

As part of Sharakah’s 5 years plan (2021-2025) and in alignment with Oman’s Vision 2040 Sharakah introduced a special scheme for ‘Innovation and Technology” for supporting startups from 2022.

The AGM as well discussed and approved the Audited Financial Statements for the year 2021 and the appointment of Statutory Auditor for the financial year 2022.

Mr. Hani concluded by extending gratitude to His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tariq for his guidance and support to the Omani SME sector. He further expressed his thanks to the 62 shareholders (Individuals and institutions) for their belief and trust in the Board of Directors and their continued support for Sharakah.