Unilever initiative empowers Omani grocery owners and entrepreneurs
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Sun October 21, 2012 1:40 pm

OMAN.  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/

About Unilever:
Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fast moving consumer goods with operations in over 100 countries and sales in 180. Consumers buy 170 billion Unilever packs around the world every year, and our products are used over two billion times a day. We have more than 171,000 employees, and generated annual sales of €46.5 billion in 2011.

Working to create a better future every day, we help people feel good, look good and get more out of life with brands and services that are good for them and good for others. Our portfolio includes some of the world’s best known and most loved brands including twelve €1 billion brands, and global leadership in most categories in which we operate. Our portfolio features iconic brands such as: Lipton, Dove, Vaseline, Sunsilk, Lifebuoy, Signal, Close-Up, Rexona, Axe Lux, Comfort & Knorr.

Unilever’s ambition is to double the size of our business, whilst reducing our overall environmental impact (including sourcing, consumer use and disposal). We are also committed to doing what we can to improve health, nutrition and hygiene, with a target to help more than a billion people take action to improve their health and well-being, as well as sourcing all our agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020. All of these goals are itemised in around 60 time-based commitments in our Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

Unilever has led the Food Producers sector in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Indexes for 13 consecutive years. We are included in the FTSE4Good Index Series and attained a top environmental score of 5, leading to inclusion in the FTSE4Good Environmental Leaders Europe 40 Index. In 2011 Unilever led the Climate Counts Company Scorecard and was named #1 in the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders according to the latest survey findings from GlobeScan Inc. and SustainAbility Ltd.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.



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