With an estimated 80 million jobs needed in the next 12 years in the MENA region alone to keep the current unemployment rate of 20% reported by the United National Development Program (UNDP) in 2006, the Oman Venture Capital Fund aims to create employment opportunities for young Omanis and develop a new middle class of entrepreneurs by providing comprehensive services to address the needs of SMEs such as access to finance, appropriate technology and mentoring to support their growth and development in addition to special products for women.
The Fund is supported by Neuhaus Partners who has extensive expertise in venture capital financing having already launched two successful funds in Europe. Alliance Housing Bank has expressed its keen interest in supporting the initiative once it has officially transformed into a fully-fledged commercial entity and the Youth Fund has also extended its sincere support of successful Omani entrepreneurs in the IT sector.
“Technology based companies have achieved phenomenal growth in recent years and the establishment of Oman Venture Capital Fund will encourage more young Omanis to venture into this line of business,” said His Highness Faisal bin Turki Al Said, Head of Follow Up and Development Division at OCIPED and CEO of Oman Brand Management Unit.
“The commendable efforts of Knowledge Oasis Muscat have already instigated tremendous awareness of this integral field and built a solid foundation for a nurturing environment to grow high-tech companies. With our strategic partners, we look forward to establishing a knowledge-based industry in the Sultanate with the highest international standards.”
His Highness also noted that they are exploring a number of areas for cooperation with IBM Research and Development Division, one of the world’s most committed innovators.
Sayyid Khalid bin Hamad Al Busaidi, Chairman of Alliance Housing Bank added, “This Fund is an attestation to OCIPED’s continued commitment to increasing partnership with the private sector which will undoubtedly support the development of the national economy given that 70% of enterprises in Oman are categorized as SMEs. The Fund will also facilitate attracting high-tech firms and cutting-edge research facilities to further develop the IT milieu in the Sultanate. ”
“The benefits of the Fund will transcend numerous industries including sports whereby an IT infrastructure can be developed for football clubs in Oman to increase efficiency and productivity,” said Sayyid Khalid who is running for the Chairmanship of the Oman Football Association in the upcoming board elections.
“This will also encourage the establishment of other funds in different sectors such as one dedicated for youth and football-related activities to transform Omani football into a flourish industry that instills cultural, economic and social benefits to the greater community,” which is part of his aspiring vision.
Sayyid Khalid also expressed his appreciation for the positive response received by OCIPED in regards to his idea of establishing funds that specifically cater to youth related activities within the operations of SMEs. He indicated that Neuhaus Partners’ endorsement and exploring opportunities with IBM will open vistas of opportunity for new venture capital funds that will support innovative youth programs in the future.
Benefits of the collaboration between OCIPED, Neuhaus Partners and other local and international entities include promoting a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, stimulating a knowledge-based economy and workforce, attracting key talent and scientist, improving the stature of Oman’s science and technology communities and enabling new business development which will ultimately contribute to the growth of GDP.
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