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Times of Oman: Shell Oman launches Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund

18/04/2007  
  
(MENAFN – Times of Oman) MUSCAT — The Shell Representative Office Oman has launched the Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund.

The fund is to support and encourage the growth of small and medium businesses within Oman. Juma bin Ali bin Juma, minister of manpower, was the guest of honour at a signing ceremony that took place during the Smart Manufacturing Conference organised by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel on April 15.

The agreement was signed by Dr Andrew Wood, Shell country chairman for Oman, and Jurie Willemse, the founder and CEO of GroFin.

The Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund is a fund dedicated to providing business development support and finance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The $10 million commitment that led to the establishment of the fund was made by Shell to celebrate Oman’s 35th National Day as part of its continuous efforts to add value to the Sultanate of Oman.

The fund takes its name from the very successful Intilaaqah programme, which for the past 11 years has been supporting young and aspiring Omani businessmen and women who want to start their own businesses.

The Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund has a unique and different emphasis, however, providing integrated business development assistance and finance to Omani SMEs.

Shell has appointed GroFin Oman, a subsidiary of the GroFin Group, which specialises in the financing and development of start-up and growth enterprises, as the Fund Manager. GroFin will be drawing upon their expertise to lend to aspiring entrepreneurs with amounts ranging from RO20,000 to RO380,000. The fund is expected to make a sound, positive return that will be reinvested back into new businesses, and to grow substantially over the years to come.

Dr Andrew Wood commented: “We are very pleased to launch the Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund today. After the success of the Intilaaqah programme, we hope that this new initiative will make a substantial further contribution to the development of the Oman economy. From our experience of working together with GroFin in other parts of the world, we believe that they will add great value in managing this fund on our behalf”.

Abeer Mohammed Al Abduwani, country director at GroFin, said: “Small- and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets like Oman are in need of start-up and early-stage growth capital. These companies encounter obstacles in accessing mainstream financial services as a result of their perception as a risky investment.

Entrepreneurs can now benefit from GroFin’s unique approach that reduces risk through the business development assistance and appropriate finance. GroFin Oman is honoured to take the role of the fund manager for the Intilaaqah Enterprise Fund, and values the trust and support of Shell in this new venture. 

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