The government’s diversification policies focus on ICT, SME, tourism and logistic sectors. There are umpteen opportunities in these sectors, which the young entrepreneurs should explore, says Abeer Bint Ali Al-Mukhaini, Administration and Follow-Up Director, Al-Matar Group in an interview with Oommen John P
A Master’ degree holder in Business Administration from a foreign University, I joined the family business in 2011 after serving over 15 years in the private and government sector. I am currently the administration and project follow-up director of the company.
Since joining Al-Matar Group, I managed to restructure the internal process of the company and focused on the marketing strategy in addition to quality control. AL-Matar Group, which was established in 1976, is one of the premier companies in establishing water-pipelining network. The group started operating in1983 in constructing pipeline networks and other water services to various regions in the Sultanate. Having started as a specialised contractor in pipeline and water network with six employees and twenty-five workers, the company is now one of the largest companies with more than 700 employees. We have worked with both public and private sectors on commercial, industrial, residential and institutional developments throughout Sultanate. The group has accomplished more than 60 projects at national level, and is willing to expand their services both at national and regional level.
Following successful execution of many projects, Al-Matar Group has been classified as an “Excellent Grade” company with the Tender Board for pipeline water network and as the highest “CP” grade by the Public Authority of Electricity and Water and have ISO 9001:2008 certification.
Is there an induction process to bring the next generation of family members into the business?
Family business is fascinating because of the mutual dependence of two ecosystems-family and business that have inherently different characteristics; for induction process, we focus on ownership, authority and responsibility to be inducted in all family members. We are the second generation of the family. Along with me, four of my brothers too are involved in the business handling various portfolios within the group. I oversee the operations of the Group in the absence of the group chairperson.
We are committed to take the group to greater success in the future. The group’s vision is to grow the business. And my key role is to understand the industry environment and its challenges and thereby ensure a sustainable business model.
As an entrepreneur, what are the challenges that you face in running the business?
Entrepreneurs in general face a lot of challenges from society when they start a new business venture. The first and foremost challenge is rejection. Secondly it’s the regulatory policies. Starting a business is not easy. But entrepreneurs are basically innovators. It’s the passion that drives business. Once you overcome the hurdles, its smooth sailing thereafter. Every obstacle is a learning process. Entrepreneurs have to chase their dreams and make it happen. As time passes, people will accept your philosophy of change for the better. My work ethic is transparency and honest dealing with everyone.
What prospects do you see in your company in the next three to five years?
I am optimistic about the future. We will expand based on market needs. The vision of the second generation of the family is to drive forward the business. We are putting in all the efforts to empower the family business. At present, the company is present in sectors such as engineering and consulting, construction, infrastructure, import and export and aluminum manufacturing.
Having completed more than 60 projects in general, the Al-Matar Group is focused on its efforts to diversify into others and utilising its expertise through collaborative ventures. In the years ahead, we will try to focus on service sectors.
Your advice to young Omani entrepreneurs, who are keen to set up business?
Young Omani entrepreneurs must follow their passion. As a person heading the business women’s committee of OCCI since the past three years, I feel that aspiring entrepreneurs should chase their dreams. The Omani culture is rich. We should no longer rely on oil revenues alone. The Government’s diversification policies is focusing on ICT, SME, tourism and logistics. There are a plethora of opportunities in these sectors, which the young entrepreneurs should explore. Just be patient and you will reach your goals.
For Omani women, 2017 is the year to shine. There are so many success stories of women excelling in diverse fields in the Sultanate. They should now cash in on the numerous opportunities and excel in whatever they do.