Unilever’s Pioneering Initiative Empowers Omani Grocery Owners and Entrepreneurs

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A Baqala Owner
A Baqala Owner. Photo-provided

Baqala Programme to cover 1000 entrepreneurs by end of 2013

Muscat, Sultanate of Oman – October 21st, 2012 – Unilever, one of the world’s leading FMCG companies and owner of global brands such as Dove, Vaseline and Lipton has launched a unique programme in Oman which seeks to enhance the livelihoods, by building the capabilities of small grocery owners and entrepreneurs. Launched to meet the company’s global vision of enhancing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people around the world by 2020, as outlined in its Sustainable Living Plan, this pioneering initiative called the “Baqala Programme” has been piloted to cover 11 Omani baqala owners and entrepreneurs with the aim of reaching 1000 by end 2013.

The programme was initiated after a country-wide nationalisation drive that required expatriates running the small grocery business to hand over management and ownership to Omanis.

Commenting on this programme, Khalil Yassine, Country Director Oman, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain Unilever said: “We wanted to work hand in hand with small business owners and budding retail entrepreneurs by providing them with the right training and tools to set up and manage a Baqala store successfully. This will help strengthen the grocery channel and benefit both ends. We have just finished conducting a very successful pilot of this initiative and are looking forward to a nation-wide expansion by end of 2013.”

“The programme offers an Integrated Quality Improvement Programme (IQIP), which includes a practical toolkit, training module and post training follow up. These tools will enable the grocery owners to run their business in a sustainable and profitable manner. We see it as a gateway to new retail opportunities for grocery owners and entrepreneurs in Oman” added Yassine

Groundwork for the programme started almost a year ago, where more than 100 groceries were interviewed to prepare an extensive business model. A robust business case was developed by the project team, who have since overseen the smooth delivery of this programme.
“I participated in the Baqala pilot workshop which was a great opportunity for me to understand and learn about how to best run a grocery business. Unilever is doing a great job in Oman by helping grocery owners like me with such training. I now feel I’m in a better position to run my business and most importantly, understand the significance of inventory and the implications of not maintaining one. I never understood the concept of inventory nor maintained it previously”, commented Sultan Al Ammouri, Omani grocery owner.

Another grocery owner, Yehia Al Raisi said, “The Unilever workshop gave me much needed insight into the shopper needs and the principles of customer service. The programme material was very useful and I hope to see the Baqala Programme rolled out across all of Oman as soon as possible”.

The “Baqala Project” is one of many projects devised and executed by Unilever around the world to enhance livelihoods.  Enhancing the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people around the world by 2020 is pillar of the ambitious Unilever Sustainable Living Plan. For more information about The Plan, please visit: http://www.sustainable-living.unilever.com/

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