Muscat: Family businesses from 14 countries were briefed on investment opportunities in Oman during the 10th anniversary annual Middle East Families in Business Conference, which began here on Monday.
The conference, which is being held for the first time in the Sultanate, was organised by Campden Wealth and was hosted by Ithraa. The event closes on Tuesday.
"One of the purposes of the conference was to attract investment into Oman. Many do not know much about Oman. We do networking and hope that some of the participating companies will come back again and invest in Oman," His Highness Faisal bin Turki Al Said, Ithraa's director-general of marketing and media, told Times of Oman.
According to Al Said, family business owners and decision makers representing 45 to 50 companies attended the event, which was organised to brief family-owned businesses on a range of issues, including new developments in the industries that they are working in, succession planning, long-term planning, recruitment, effective governance models, and corporate regeneration.
On the significance of family businesses and their contribution to Oman's economy, the official said that they are the "backbone" of the economy.
He said, "They are very important because they are in a very controlled environment and are the main job providers in the private sector. They are also getting more involved in CSR (corporate social responsibility) programmes in the country which definitely serve the local community.
"That is why we wanted them to be part of this conference. It is all about networking."
He also said that some rules need to be relaxed to attract more investment into the Sultanate. "The private sector in Oman should grow and should be diversified, and this can be achieved through further investment."
Suzy Mayhew, director of events at Campden Wealth, said that 80 delegates from as far as the United States had registered for the conference.
85 per cent of them are from family businesses coming from the US, the UK, Switzerland, Singapore, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria and a number of other countries, Mayhew told Times of Oman.
"We chose Oman because we found out that the country is very progressive, is really focused on business and business development, and there are many successful family businesses here. We were also looking for an attractive and accessible place to hold the conference."
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