Published: 02/05/2009 2:07 am
It is the season of hope despite the first quarter figures showing a marked slowdown in growth compared to that of the same period last year.
But across the board, analysts are positive. Most of the indications, they say, point to the fact that the worst is over. The analyst who did this month's cover story says profits may fall in the first couple of quarters and bottom out over the year-end before resuming an upward climb in 2010 as economies worldwide improve.
But the market and its vagaries are only one side of the story. It is in times like this that the importance of a vibrant SME sector becomes obvious, mainly because of the jobs it can create at a micro level. That is precisely the reason why management consultants Jack and Suzy Welch were delighted when someone from Vancouver wrote in asking whether this is a good time to start a business. They say the letter was a welcome opportunity to realise that this could be a very good time to start a business and list out four compelling reasons why.
Which brings us to the scene in Oman. As we look around, we find that there are opportunities as well as funding and mentoring facilities for entrepreneurs.
Yet there seems to be a disconnect between opportunities and their utilisation as several schemes for small start-up businesses remain under-utilised due to a lack of awareness on the part of potential beneficiaries. One of the biggest problems faced by the SME sector seems to be a lack of coordination among different agencies involved in supporting such units. The recent formation of a Directorate General for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises to ensure a coordinated effort to boost the SMEs is a step in the right direction.
Meanwhile, Omani entrepreneurs are told that looks do matter. Packaging is the key to success if their products have to compete effectively in the international market. And while everyone is talking about the recession, tra-vel agents say this is a good summer to plan your dream vacation as airlines and hotels across the world slash prices and announce attractive packages to lure tourists.
So here's an issue on hopes, ideas, potential and action. Hope you enjoy.