Press release: June 2nd , 2012
OMIFCO Launches Its Micro-Business Incubator, the “CELL” Project
Sur – The Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO) continued building on its commitment to innovating in the use of Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives by signing a consultative and management agreement for its latest initiative: the “CELL” business accelerator/incubator project. The signing ceremony took place on Wednesday May, 30th at OMIFCO headquarters in Sur.
The “CELL” is considered the first initiative of its kind in Oman to be led by the private sector, where businesses owned and managed by Omani entrepreneurs are immersed in an accelerating environment and incubated virtually; this is followed by the granting of seed funding to launch their businesses under close coaching and mentoring from the “CELL” team.
OMIFCO has allocated a sizeable amount from its CSR funding to finance grants to qualified entrepreneurs, primarily from the S. Sharqiya region. The grant program will be implemented with the assistance of two local Omani companies specialized in the development of small business and entrepreneurs. Al Jazeera Training, (an AlJazeera Technical Solutions company), founded and run by entrepreneurship development consultant Sharifa Al Barami, and Inspired Solutions (an SME consultancy) founded by American William Crew. The consultants have been contracted to ensure not only adherence with international best practices but also that skills are effectively transferred to the CELL’s management team.
The project program will host business planning seminars in Sur and Muscat in order to inspire, motivate and identify the most committed entrepreneurs with the most viable business ideas. Those entrepreneurs will then undergo several weeks of intensive training (immersion & coaching) as they refine their business ideas into concrete business plans. At the end of the intensive, entrepreneurship “boot camp”, the most promising entrepreneurs will be awarded start-up capital in the form of grants. The winning entrepreneurs will then receive continued expert mentoring and monitoring during the critical start-up phases of their new companies.
OMIFCO’s CEO, Ahmed Ali Nasser Al Awfi, commented that “the CELL project is a core initiative to OMIFCO’s CSR vision in making real and sustainable difference to Omani entrepreneurs and in promoting a real impact in the local labor market through supporting micro-businesses at the very crucial stage of the business growth. We are very delighted to be collaborating with experts in the field and consider them part of the team not an external contracted party”.
“The CELL project is set to become a real change-maker in the field of promoting entrepreneurship and supporting entrepreneurs in Oman” said Qasim Al-Balushi, OMIFCO’s CSR manager, adding “We are happy to launch the long awaited project, and are all geared to working together synergistically with our partners as one bee hive on the CELL”.