Bright Ideas enables budding young entrepreneurs to enhance their entrepreneurial skills, and to develop and assess business ideas that are relevant, and viable, for the Omani market.

Since January, there have been eight Bright Ideas workshops, each providing around 10 hours of training, delivered in eight different locations across Oman: Rustaq; Khasab; Nizwa; Salalah; Buraimi; Sohar; Sur; and, Ibra.

Delivered in partnership with Riyada, the Public Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises, the Bright Ideas (BI) workshops are aimed at entrepreneurs who want to start their own businesses, and those who may have just started a business or who are looking to develop an existing business.

Two entrepreneurs to have already benefited from the new BI workshops are full of praise for Shell Intilaaqah Oman. Maha Eid Aljaafari, who is being assisted to develop her natural cosmetics business said, “I had a beneficial experience which has expanded my knowledge regarding entrepreneurship, and I find myself now ready to start on that path.”

Amal Salim Al Habsi, added, “The workshop was good and we all benefited a lot. It enabled us to develop business ideas and to spot potential business opportunities.”

The Shell Intilaaqah Oman programme was revamped and relaunched in 2016 to enhance the support it provides to the Sultanate’s budding young entrepreneurs, as part of Shell’s fifth Gift to the Nation.

The new look Shell Intilaaqah programme, delivered in partnership with Riyada, 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.

Participants who successfully complete the first, Bright Ideas, stage 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 established 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, Director, Shell Intilaaqah Oman, 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.”