Shell Intilaaqah beat off strong competition from eight other organisations to win the award, which recognises the programme’s significant performance in the training and development of young entrepreneurs.

Members of both Intilaaqah’s, and Shell Oman’s ER teams attended the awards ceremony at Sultan Qaboos University, held under the patronage of H.E. Shiekh Abdulmalik bin Abdullah Al Khalili, the Minister of Justice, and H.E. Ali bin Masoud bin Ali Al Sunaidi, the Minister of Commerce and Industry.

The awards, which aim to strengthen the role of SMEs in job creation and sustainable development, are provided by Riyada in conjunction with Oman Telecommunications Company, the primary provider of telephone and internet services in the country, and the Al Raffd Fund, a leading public organisation that provides funding for Omani SMEs.

As part of the judging process for the award, Shell Intilaaqah Oman was assessed against five criteria: The vision and strategy of the initiative; its services, processes and operations; expertise working with the initiative; service outcomes; and its service outputs. The judging process also entailed making presentations to two separate panels, including to national and international experts in SME support and development, who assessed the value added by the programme to the community and to entrepreneurs.

Commenting on the award, Najwa Alkindi, Executive Director, Shell Intilaaqah Oman, said, “Being recognised as a winner in the Entrepreneurship Award – Best Educational Initiative category is a great accomplishment for Shell Intilaaqah Oman.

“We truly believe that providing an impactful service to Omani youth and to the SMEs begins with genuinely understanding and addressing their needs in successfully managing, growing and sustaining their ventures. We are committed to continue providing our services this year, and are aiming for bigger successes.”

During the fifteen months up to December 2017, 793 young people went through Shell Intilaaqah Oman’s enterprise training programmes, and 69 new start-ups were launched, creating 215 new jobs for young Omanis. The programme also provided enterprise support to 68 established businesses.

One of the entrepreneurs to benefit from the programme in 2017 is Showina Al Uraimi, the owner of Itlalat Al Majd Nursery. Showina says the Intilaaqah programme was especially beneficial in helping her to generate ideas and skills related to project management and problem solving. As a result of her involvement with Intilaaqah, Showina has increased her staffing from five to 11 employees, and increased turnover by 20%.