9 April 2014 - Muscat: Targeting a spectrum of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across a number of sectors, the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre (OCEC) hosted a networking event to harness potential business opportunities in the meetings and conventions industry from the opening of Oman’s new home for business. Held in collaboration with Omran and the Public Authority for SME Development (PASMED), the social gathering offered valuable tips to SMEs from some of the most successful Omani entrepreneurs following the well-received 2014 PCMA Oman Advisory Summit.

Situated in a new business district at Airport Heights, Hayy Al Irfan, the OCEC Precinct will boost longer-term business propositions to Omani SMEs in the areas of operations, services, retail, food and beverage and transport and is expected to contribute OMR 295 million to strengthen the local supply chain and create about 15,000 - 18,000 jobs by 2030. It will provide SMEs with the ideal environment to increase their contribution to revenue streams, provide Oman-focused products and services and delve into niche sectors with high-potential for growth.

“With the participation of more than 75 members of the SME community, our first networking event provided a platform for local businesses to get together with Omran and AEG Ogden, the operators of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre to discuss how they can utilise and maximise the  benefits unfolding with the opening of the OCEC in 2016. We believe SMEs and entrepreneurs can play greater roles in positioning the Sultanate as the next business tourism destination, simply by building and tailoring their businesses to industry requirements and standards. In addition, the event provided a unique opportunity to build relations amongst industry peers and entrepreneurs as they shared success stories, experiences and best practices with one another,” said Trevor McCartney, General Manager of Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.

Eng. Wael Al Lawati, Chief Executive of Omran said, “Building on the outcomes of the recently held PCMA Oman Advisory Summit, we are initiating a two-way stream of discussions with SMEs and entrepreneurs, who represent a fundamental part of the economic fabric in the Sultanate and we are working together to add value to their operations. Omran’s local development policy ensures consulting, contracting, procurement and supply chain processes are directed towards Omani businesses. We hope that forging successful partnerships between OCEC and potential local suppliers will generate higher, faster and stronger returns for both their businesses and Oman.”

One of the participating SMEs, Leena Al Bastaki, Managing Director of a Gloria Jean’s Coffees franchise said, “This event is a great opportunity for all parties to discuss the financial and technical dimensions of the future of SMEs’ growth in Oman. We believe that the OCEC project will increase the number of visitors to the Sultanate, leaving a stamp on SME products and helping us achieve business goals and grow by capitalising on the uniqueness of the Sultanate as an exciting destination. It is not only about having a cutting edge proposition but leveraging the support environment surrounding your business. We believe that the OCEC will complement the destination factor. Our strength is our flexibility to meet the requirements of the business tourism evolution in the next few years.”

The OCEC Precinct will feature four hotels with approximately 1,000 rooms, a shopping mall, a high end Business Park, residential accommodation and corporate headquarters. Its Centre will host meetings and conferences ranging in size from 20 to 3,000 delegates and in duration from two hours to a few days, with banqueting and wedding events also forming a major part of its business mix.

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