Shell has announced its fifth Gift to The Nation under the auspices of H.E. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs during a ceremony held recently at the Grand Hyatt in Muscat. The event was attended by a large number of guests; graced by Excellencies and dignitaries from various public and private sector organisations in Oman.

This year, in line with Shell’s ongoing commitment to foster the development of the SME sector in Oman and to promote energy sustainability and educational awareness, Shell announced that its existing Intilaaqah programme will be enhanced, to continue to meet the growing needs of Omani entrepreneurs and to enable them to successfully overcome the barriers and obstacles they face in the first few years of trading. 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. The newly revamped Shell Intilaaqah will expand its current entrepreneur support services to also cover business start-ups and alumni support.

Mr. Al Lawati, Head of Corporate Affairs, Shell Development Oman, stated that through Intilaaqah in Oman over 1,600 businesses have been created and 30 SMEs financed where 900 employment positions have been sustained, 32% of which are Omani. The revamped Intilaaqah will continue to focus on helping entrepreneurs launch their own business, and in turn, contribute to Oman’s 2020 economic vision.

The second part of Shell’s Gift to the Nation initiative will focus on installing solar energy into a select number of secondary schools across Oman. The project will be initiated during 2016 with four pilot sites located in Al-Buraimi, Nizwa, Salalah and Muscat, and will see further solar installations progressively installed into girls and boys schools across all Governorates over a five year period.

Speaking at the event, Chris Breeze, Shell’s Country Chairman in Oman, said that the solar power into schools project will be the first project of its kind for Oman: “It will show how solar energy can help supplement existing electricity demand which currently is largely generated from either diesel or gas. By using Omani contractors to help install the solar installations we also help contribute to Oman’s energy and economy transition, by helping build a platform for development and implementation of small-scale solar projects in Oman. By putting these installations into public schools we also help boost interest in science, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship for Omani youth, and awareness in Oman’s future energy transition.”

Speaking at the event, H.E. Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah said, “Shell’s Gift to the nation is a tribute to the long standing relationship Oman has with Shell. We hope that the full potential of the two announced initiatives are going to be utilised in the coming five years, and we look forward to more sustainable and rewarding initiatives.”

The Gift to The Nation initiative is a symbol of Shell’s deep gratitude to Oman - a country in which it has been present since 1937. Over the years, notable gifts to the nation have included the launch of Intilaaqah, the establishment of the joint virtual reality centre at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), followed by the establishment of the Shell Chair at SQU, as well as a $10 million dollar grant to create the Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund.

In 2010, Shell’s Gift to the Nation saw the merger of Intilaaqah and Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund into a single programme under the brand name Shell Intilaaqah – offering a one stop shop for entrepreneurs to gain financial support for their businesses and benefit from other enterprise development services and consultancy.

Shell’s Gift to The Nation:

  • Is a tradition initiated by Shell in 1995 – the 25th anniversary of Oman’s Renaissance, to launch every five years, a new project that carries a small further contribution to the development of Oman’s society and economy.
  • Projects are selected very carefully, with the involvement of experts from Shell and other external professionals with good knowledge of Oman and experience in dealing with matters of social investment.
  • Individual projects are structured in a way that allows people to see through the process of their implementation, and steer them towards realisation of the objectives developed for them.

To see a video interview with Shell Oman’s Country Chairman, Chris Breeze, and Joanne Robinson, Environment Manager, Shell Development Oman, at the event, please click here.