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The Shell Intilaaqah Oman programme has been revamped to enhance the support it provides to the Sultanate’s budding young entrepreneurs, as part of Shell’s fifth Gift to the Nation.

The launch ceremony for the revitalised programme, which was held at the headquarters of Riyada, Oman’s Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprise Development, was attended by His Excellency Dr Hamoud bin Khalfan Al Harthy, Undersecretary for Education and Curricula, Ministry of Education, and a Board Member of Riyada.

The launch included the signing of a ground-breaking MoU between Shell Intilaaqah and Riyada to better support young Omani entrepreneurs through enhanced training, mentoring and counselling. The agreement was signed by Khalifa bin Said Al Abri, Riyada CEO, and Chris Breeze, Country Chairman of Shell Oman.

Based on this agreement, both parties will collaborate to provide enterprise training, mentoring and business counselling services to entrepreneurs who are aged between 20 and 55; supporting them to start-up, develop and grow their businesses.

Commenting on its collaboration with Shell Intilaaqah, Khalifa bin Said Al Abri, Riyada CEO said, “We would like to thank Shell for this national initiative and the true partnership with Riyada through this programme, which will contribute to the goals of Riyada in cultivating a culture of entrepreneurship and the support and development of SMEs in terms of training and development, especially in the foundation stages of the creation of their ventures.

“True partnership with the private sector contributes to achieving Riyada’s ultimate goal, which is supporting entrepreneurs in taking leadership in starting and operating their own businesses, and also in excelling at managing and strengthening Riyada’s competencies so we can add value to Oman’s national economy.”

Speaking at the signing, Chris Breeze, Country Chairman of Shell Oman, said, “I am delighted to see Shell Intilaaqah in collaboration with a strategic partner like Riyada. Intilaaqah was launched in 1995 in response to Oman’s 2020 Vision in line with Shell’s commitment to enterprise development and support in the Sultanate, and we are honoured to work with Riyada on achieving this.

“Shell Intilaaqah will provide world class training conducted by Omani trainers and experts who will be familiar with the local business environment. This initiative will also support the Omani entrepreneurs who successfully develop businesses through the programme by linking them with potential funding opportunities and other strategic partners.”

The new look Shell Intilaaqah programme aims to support all stages of entrepreneurship from creating an innovative business idea to supporting the growth of new start-ups. It involves five stages of modular training, counselling and tailored support for the different stages of entrepreneurship.

The first stage involves an extended Bright Ideas (BI) enterprise awareness workshop, which runs for two days and enables participants to develop robust business ideas that are relevant to the Omani market. If successful at this stage, participants will then be invited to take their ideas to the next level through the ‘How to Establish Your Business’ module, which involves 50 hours of training to produce a well-researched, robust business plan. Participants who are in the process of starting-up will then engage with stage three of the programme, which provides them with six month’s support from a personal mentor to help them refine their business model and support them in the early stages of their business’ development. The fourth stage on ‘How to Manage Your Business Successfully’ provides specialised training modules to develop more in-depth skills in areas such as Human Resource Management & Leadership, Finance, Accounting and Marketing. The final phase of the programme provides specialised diagnostic support for businesses which are experiencing difficulties or facing insolvency.

The revamped Intilaaqah Oman programme also provides networking opportunities through an Intilaaqah Club, and a new Intilaaqah business centre has been opened within Riyada. The programme will focus on the development of entrepreneurs and businesses with high growth potential, and will develop several strategic partnerships with funders and other partners who can support growing enterprises through, for example, business incubation and market linkages.

Intilaaqah will also introduce a world-class award scheme for business start-ups to foster and encourage an innovation culture in the SME sector across Oman.

Najwa Alkindi, Shell Intilaaqah Oman Programme Manager, said, “Developing high impact entrepreneurs is key to diversifying the economy of Oman. The revamp strengthens the support that Intilaaqah is able to offer entrepreneurs at each stage in their business’ development from ideas generation to scale-up and expansion. Offering high quality enterprise training and customised business support at each stage in their business journey will enable a new wave of Omani entrepreneurs to achieve their full potential.”

Over the next three months up to 150 budding entrepreneurs are expected to benefit from the Shell Intilaaqah Bright Ideas (BI) business ideas generation workshops.

Two entrepreneurs who have already benefited from the new BI workshops are full of praise for Shell Intilaaqah Oman. Amal Salim Al Habsi, said, “The workshop was good and we all benefited a lot. It enabled us to develop business ideas and to spot potential business opportunities.”

Fatma Al Tiwani added, “It was a wonderful, lively session which showed us how to present business ideas in a beautiful way that adds value. It was also inspiring to hear about the stories of established, successful entrepreneurs.”

As part of its fifth Gift to the Nation, Shell is also launching ‘Intilaaqah Light’ which will provide enterprise awareness training to school students in 11 regions of Oman. The initiative is an agreement between Shell Intilaaqah and the Ministry of Education.

Oman was the first country to launch the Shell Intilaaqah programme in the Middle East in 1995, and over 10,000 young Omani entrepreneurs have successfully graduated from the programme to date. Through Intilaaqah Oman, over 1,600 businesses have been created and 30 SMEs financed where over 900 employment positions have been sustained, 32% of which are Omani.


Shell Intilaaqah revamp to boost Omani entrepreneurs
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