Oman Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL) and the SME Development Fund, an initiative of the Oman Authority for Partnership for Development (OAPFD), have agreed to join forces to groom Omani talent in the oil and gas sector into entrepreneurs.
An Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to this effect was signed here on July 17, 2017 by Mr. Abdullah Al Harthy, Communications Executive at OPAL (standing in for OPAL CEO Mr. Musallam al Mandhari), and Mr. Raphael Parambi, CEO – SME Development Fund.
The MoU commits both sides to work collaboratively in, among other objectives, the developing suitably qualified Omanis to become full-fledged entrepreneurs. With training and funding support provided by the SME Fund and other financial partners, these aspiring entrepreneurs will be encouraged to start up their own businesses with an eye on the substantial contracting opportunities that await SMEs under the government’s SME and In-Country-Value (ICV) development strategies.
In addition to supporting the development of SMEs, OPAL and the SME Fund also see the potential for these start-ups to employ significant numbers of individuals from the drilling services segment of the industry, contributing to a key ICV objective.
Also as part of its commitment, the SME Fund will support OPAL’s ICV initiative towards creating new industry specific SMEs that can provide job opportunities for a dynamic pool of skilled manpower from a cross-section of trades and skill-sets within the oil and gas sector. OPAL, for its part, will work towards suitably building the capabilities of these newly established SMEs by assisting them to win business contracts.
Commenting on the significance of the MoU, Abdullah Al Harthy of OPAL said: “We are delighted to partner with SME development Fund, an agency that has a successful track record in entrepreneurial development, mentorship and support. We encourage individuals working in drilling services to take this opportunity to explore and develop their entrepreneurial talent with OPAL and SME Fund support. OPAL and the Fund will work to leverage our respective capabilities and resources to bring about a qualitative shift in SME development in the oil and gas sector.”
Mr. Raphael Parambi of SMEF added: “Through this partnership with OPAL, the SME Fund seeks to build on its longstanding association with the Ministry of Oil & Gas in championing the benefits of the In-Country Value programme, which is key to fuelling the growth of SMEs in this sector.”
Set up in 2014, the SME Development Fund seeks to implement a four-point plan encompassing Entrepreneurship Development, Nurturing, Legitimizing and Subsidized Funding. The Fund has so far extended financial support to more than 200 SMEs across the Sultanate.