Find your niche

Being an entrepreneur is on the minds of many young people, as they read about the new initiatives and funding opportunities that seem to be opening up in the sultanate to help them to achieve their dreams. The National Youth Commission has come out in support of small and medium enterprises to encourage the spirit of entrepreneurship, and last year the Muscat Youth Summit held in December had 37 workshops designed to inspire the young with new opportunities.

How I would have liked to be an entrepreneur. All those wonderful ideas turning instantly into successful businesses: perhaps fame and fortune could have come my way. In truth, I never once thought about being an entrepreneur. It is simply not in me. I once gave a talk to the AIESEC Youth Movement in Oman entitled 'I am not an entrepreneur'.

What I do know is that to be an entrepreneur takes at least one clever and special idea: often it is very simple. The initiative needs a realistic business plan, objective and not subjective, and a delivery strategy and timescale to suit, taking into account the risks. It is likely that financing will be needed, and checks and balances will be put in place to protect investor interests. It is very unlikely that, however sound the idea, a large sum of capital will be handed over without adequate control on how it is spent.

I hear a lot about entrepreneurship. I hear very little about other worthwhile careers needed by society today. What about the professions? Lawyers, architects, engineers, doctors, nurses, teachers, accountants, and so on.

All of these careers are worthwhile and rewarding. This was a route I took as a young man, trying to find my way in life.

And how about the scientists and researchers we need to discover new things about our world, and to help us put right some of the mistakes of the past? And all of those in public service, who help us to feel secure, and assist the nations of the world to progress? And all of those in the arts and sports, who inspire and entertain us? The list of worthwhile things to do is endless.

Of course there are some who are not sure of the best route for them and who may choose to work for a company they fancy the look of. For these people, it is important that these organisations have mentoring and training programmes, and allow career advancement for those who do well and display the right work ethic.

Those in work should always seek to use their best ideas to further the productivity and effectiveness of the company employing them.

It is clear that Oman, since the renaissance, has matured into a safe land where modern infrastructure has been developed, with education and healthcare for the people: and all of this with no income tax to pay. Of recent years, the focus has shifted more to recognising the need to ensure that the next generation plays a significant part in further progress.

I believe that everyone has a role to play, and that everyone should commit to that role, with his or her best endeavours. We can’t all be entrepreneurs – but we can do something positive to help. For me, it is all about ‘finding your niche’ – discovering what can you do; enjoying that which excites you; and playing your part in making things happen, even if there are some challenges along the way.

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