25 November 2014
GEW discussion at US Embassy focuses on SMEs, Omanisation
The US Embassy in Muscat hosted a roundtable discussion between local media and two prominent American companies – Occidental Oman and Dover Middle East - as part of its Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) celebrations.

Representatives from both the companies focused on their relationships with SMEs, the companies’ influence on society, and the effect of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) signed by Oman and US in 2009.

Robert Swain from Occidental Oman said it was important for the company to have an impact on the country and society in which it operates. "Occidental Oman believes that the real wealth of a nation lies in its peoples' creativity, motivation, and skills,” he said.

Among the company's contributions to the country has been its support to SMEs, hosting a youth forum to help local Omanis develop business plans, and employing Omanis. Swain said the company's Omanisation rate was 84 per cent.

"We've built our business only because we were able to hire over 2,000 Omanis over the last ten years. There's no way we can do business without that,” he said.

Meanwhile, Fouad Eid of Dover Middle East said developing a relationship with society was an important company principle. "We hire from countries where we work,” he said, adding that the Omanisation rate in his company was 80 per cent.

Eid said Dover's presence in Oman is a direct result of the FTA. By taking advantage of the opportunities the agreement offered, the company he said has been able to save costs and increase its competitiveness.

"The FTA has allowed us to gain a foothold in Oman. It was a great opportunity and had a lot of benefits for us as a company,” Eid said.

Besides hiring Omanis, Dover also has contracts with local SMEs as part of their production line.

“For us, it's a great opportunity to build a business in Oman and in the region, and also give back to the community,” Eid added.

Representatives from both the companies said that American companies can be good partners in helping in the development of Omani businesses. Hussam al Nabhani, also from Occidental Oman, said that Omani companies can benefit from American companies' entrepreneurial culture, technological advancement, knowledge and skills.
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