Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO)
In the spring of 2012, the Oman India Fertiliser Company (OMIFCO) tendered for consulting companies to design and manage an entrepreneur development project. Inspired Solutions assembled a world class team of Arabic speaking consultants (Omani and American) to bid on and win this tender.
Inspired and its Omani-based partner, Al Jazeera Training, designed a development project incorporating best practices of entrepreneur/SME seed accelerators. This winning design, which was branded the “CELL,” became operational on June 1, 2012. The winning design included not only an intensive, eight-week business training “Boot Camp” but also the possibility to be awarded a non-repayable seed grant of up to about $25,000 for business start-up and/or expansion.
Specific contract deliverables included:
- Design and implement the seed grant program guidelines, procedures, and tools. The grant making framework was designed and implemented by Inspired Solutions. The guidelines, project applications, disbursement procedures, etc. are based upon best practices in credit risk management-modified to fit into a grant making environment. That is, all grant making decisions, like a credit decision, are focused on the viability of the entrepreneur and business concept.
- Complete market research via community surveys to determine commercial gaps, and gaps in entrepreneur education and support.
- Design and teach two, 2-day Entrepreneur Induction Seminars in Sur and Muscat.
- Design and teach an eight week Entrepreneur Boot Camp for those who successfully complete the Entrepreneur Induction Seminar and appear viable.
- Accelerate entrepreneurs in training via assistance with business registrations, business model development, financial projections, etc.
- Assist entrepreneurs with the completion of the grant applications.
- Structure the grant making committee and implement approval process.
- Oversea the grant disbursement process.
- Mentor and monitor grantees, post disbursement.
During the first year of the CELL, we selected 30 Omani entrepreneurs (out of 300 applicants) to train in business planning and management skills. Those who successfully graduated from the intense “Boot Camp” training could then make applications for a non-repayable seed grant. Over 25 grants were made in the first year.
The first year of the CELL was completed in mid-2013. Shortly thereafter OMIFCO held a tender for the management of the second year of the CELL, based upon the project structure which Inspired Solutions had implemented in year one.
Inspired Solutions and its business partner once more won the tender for the second year. The second year once more had a group of 30 Omani entrepreneurs qualifying to enter the program. Again, after eight weeks of intensive “Boot Camp” business training, the entrepreneurs once again made applications for grant seed financing. Of these, 14 grants were made by June of 2014.
In 2013 the CELL was awarded “Best CSR Initiative, 2013.”