Entrepreneurs : The Backbone of Economy

Devaki Khimji, Executive Director, Al Tasnim Group

Devaki Khimji, Executive Director,
Al Tasnim Group

Oman has created a new roadmap for entrepreneurs in terms of achievement of growth targets, launch of new ideas and products, entry into new markets, participation in global events and building relationships with an innovative vision. Several start-ups have grown and flourished from learners to role models and have paved a path of entrepreneurial success. Oman accentuates the nurturing of an entrepreneurial culture by supporting local communities with the right framework and assistance. Initiatives like the Al Raffd Fund, funding through Oman Development Bank and other financial institutions, the creation of the Public Authority for SMEs and the planned launch of the SME Exchange, propel the growth and development of the entrepreneurial sector. The launch of Business Entrepreneurship Awards in support of entrepreneurships and SMEs is also set to boost the motivation and performance levels.

With a decline in the oil prices over the last few years and the consequential sharp revenue dip, Oman has begun to rethink its strategies. One of the concentrated and distinct strategies was the renewed focus on entrepreneurs and SMEs and the need to develop an ecosystem for the same. An outcome of the SME Development Symposium in 2013 was to figure out ways to accelerate entrepreneurship and the growth of SMEs in Oman. Instillation of the spirit of entrepreneurship in SMEs stimulates them to achieve economic and social development objectives, including growth, innovation, employment and equity. With this approach, one can contribute to economic development through high-growth enterprises that can serve as an important source of income and employment for the Sultanate of Oman.

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat

Royal Opera House, Muscat

Royal Opera House, Muscat

Entrepreneurs are the fuel to the economic engine of Oman. Oman has a lot of potential in entrepreneurship and to unlock the full potential, it is essential to tactically focus on aspects that will enhance entrepreneurial skills and promote SMEs. Establishing a culture of entrepreneurship is an extended and continuous process and one needs to promote young Omanis to establish and promote their own ventures. This will in turn also help to generate more job opportunities for Omani nationals. It is imperative to impart structured and comprehensive training and advisory services right from building up an idea to acquiring finance to fund the project and to market it for business.

A challenging and logical query for each beginner pertains to the skills that will prove to be game changing in the years to come. To get the ball rolling, it is mandatory to acquire books, enrol for targeted courses, find mentors to deliberate with and receive feedback from, and research the journeys of successful start-ups. Success in any endeavour finds its roots in the mind of the individual. It is the mind that nurtures the idea which is then developed into a product or a company. Some of the key skills required are observation, empathy, visualization, extensive reading, readiness to take risks, strong people skills, motivation, positive thinking, and foremost a never give-up attitude. Researching extensively about the market, reading about other start-up models related to the idea, talking to entrepreneurs and connecting with professionals worldwide are pre-requisites to structuring a successful venture. One needs to augment leadership skills, spot and seize opportunities, handle setbacks and innovate in order to achieve the desired progression.

Al Mouj, Muscat

Al Mouj, Muscat

Entrepreneurs are imperative in any society as they are the visionaries who create jobs, value, hope and opportunities. The ability to perceive and pursue opportunity without being limited by their current state or resources is the key to success. Awareness about what makes a good entrepreneur needs to be embedded in the minds of the youth at the school, college and university levels. The importance of SMEs needs to be echoed not only outside the realms of the academia but should also be included as part of the learning curriculum.

Establishment of an entrepreneurial culture and modernisation of the SME sector will highlight the economic and social prosperity of Oman. The impact of emergent SMEs in Oman will also be assist in reducing the over-reliance on oil revenues and boost diversification of the economy. Entrepreneurship is the driving force behind innovation that drives growth and nurtures an entire ecosystem. SMEs also have the potential to contribute to a nation’s Gross Domestic Product by providing governments with additional revenue streams. Offering the right platform, providing funds to SMEs, developing entrepreneurial education in the form of trainings and courses, initiating the process and strengthening ties with education and industry, will definitely maximize the entrepreneurial contribution in Oman. Encouraging entrepreneurship will lead to the development of the Sultanate in terms of long-term growth and significant gains in productivity. A holistic entrepreneurship policy with the right approach will certainly achieve success in the endeavour to generate employment and advance the economy.

Efficacious entrepreneurs start with the belief that opportunities have to be exploited and optimum use of resources has to be made. The origins of Al Tasnim Group date back over ten years ago. From what started off as an equipment leasing company, the Group has now become a multi-faceted, multi-disciplined titan in Oman. Since its inception, the Group has strived relentlessly to deliver the highest possible standards for their products and services in the construction business. Being a 100 per cent Omani owned Group, its reputation and impressive clientele list speaks volumes of the talent and enterprising spirit of the Sultanate.

Al Tasnim is expertly led by a team with decades of accumulated business experience and an extremely high level of expertise in their respective fields. With its substantial base of over 10,000 skilled employees and qualified personnel, Al Tasnim is constantly endeavoring to push its own boundaries with innovative solutions and pioneering project ideas. Backed by the support of major financial institutions across the Sultanate, Al Tasnim aspires to provide Oman with products that meet the highest international standards in the market.

The Group is headed by Ms. Devaki Gulabsi Khimji, its Executive Director, whose journey at Al Tasnim Group began in 2012 and has been an extremely dynamic one so far. She restructured the Group into manageable divisions and with focused approach and sheer dedication, she has navigated and propelled the Group in the right direction through the introduction of new product lines. Previously as the Managing Director at India Circus Retail Pvt Ltd. India, Devaki oversaw its launch and contributed to the financial growth over her tenure. Known for her innate far-sightedness and robust business acumen, she has embarked on various successful entrepreneurial ventures, implementing her expertise to ensure the best fiscal reception of her brand. With an indispensable understanding of the global market, including the domain of electronic-commerce, with strong management skills, both traditionally and technologically, Devaki’s experience and proficiency has channelled businesses and objectives in the intended direction.

The Al Tasnim Group has a diverse set of divisions with the ownership of a myriad range of services. Civil Construction, Oil and Gas Services, Building Finishes (including aluminium fabrication, carpentry, joinery, landscaping and irrigation products and services), Asphalt Manufacturing, Roads and Infrastructure, Cement Products and Product Dealership and Trading are some of the major divisions that the Group is built around. The construction conglomerate prides itself on having been part of many recent major construction projects in Oman, including the involvement in many of the Sultanate’s iconic monuments and landmarks. Al Tasnim has executed major contracts with premium clients such as the Royal Oman Police and Muscat Municipality amongst others.

As a part of the Group’s contribution to entrepreneurship it is a matter of pride to state that at least one division of the Group is or has been a part of every major landmark in Oman. The Group as a whole has completed several of the major projects in the Sultanate. It is the Group’s vision to contribute to implementing larger and more prestigious milestones on the construction horizon of Oman. The Group strives to create economic benefit for the country through its dedication and commitment to corporate social responsibility.

In line with His Majesty, the Sultan’s vision to promote the growth of SMEs the Group works very closely with nearly 50 SMEs by subcontracting many portions of work it receives to them. The Group has gone one step further in this endeavour by establishing a mentorship program for SMEs. As part of this program, interested SMEs are screened and once selected, Al Tasnim mentors the selected companies to set up operations by providing structured assistance on recruitment, financing and periodic performance monitoring to ensure they are profitable within a two-year horizon. The group currently mentors two SMEs.

The Al Tasnim Group is committed to contributing to the development of entrepreneurship and SMEs that will pave the path for a resilient and sustainable future for Oman. The Group leadership team is focussed on promoting entrepreneurship, dynamic entrepreneurial thinking and action for the modern market economic future of Oman. They believe it is pivotal to create successful economic value in the Sultanate utilising the entrepreneurial drive and acumen to boost advancement of the nation and its people.

Published By : Oman Daily Observer
Author : Hasan Kamoonpur
Published in : November 2017 Edition