Working with other countries to increase international trade is an important part of what we do at the U.S. Small Business Administration, and at our Office of International Trade. Economic development teams from around the world come to SBA to try and find ways to duplicate in their own countries at least some of what we do for small businesses. A recent example of how we build relationships in that regard is Oman.
Since 2008, Tanya Smith of the OIT staff and I have been working with the government of Oman – and other countries – as part of the Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative. The country’s leadership has learned from the successful SBA loan programs we use here in the U.S. I was in the capital, Muscat, recently to witness the signing of an agreement launching a partnership between the Omani government and three Omani banks to help put more capital in the hands of Oman’s small business owners.
We became acquainted with people at Omani government agencies, with small business owners and lenders, some of whom just last year came to Minnesota to receive Wells Fargo training, and I’ve seen for myself that Omanis are eager to develop a new relationship between the government and small-scale business owners. The day the agreements were signed, three Omanis – among them a businesswoman – applied for loans.
They’re even working to build a Business Center over the next year to help provide more entrepreneurial education.
These are the building blocks for a stronger economic partnership with Oman. In the long-term, these kinds of actions pave the way for increased trade between our countries and more opportunities for U.S. small businesses to find more partners and more revenues in a new market.
We look forward to continuing our work with Oman and other countries to help strengthen small business ownership and the economy – both here in the U.S. and globally.
So it’s a good time to think about making a connection with the Mutrah Souk and with Omani importers. For how-to information about what SBA can help with in a new international venture, visit our site at: http://www.sba.gov.
Luz Hopewell is the Deputy Associate Administrator for International Trade. Full bio...