Sidab is a village in Muscat, in northeastern Oman. Its geographical coordinates are 230 35′ 46″ North, 580 35′ 48″ East and its original name (with diacritics) is Sidäb. It is a great place for naturalists, with dolphins and whales found in large numbers off the coast. In this beautiful hamlet Badriyah AlSiyabi is a well-known name. Her mother was one of the pioneers in introducing education to the village of Sidab, particularly female education. She was the first female school principal at an elementary school named Zubaidah Om-al-Ameen.
This was the school in which Badariyah also studied. It is this type of upbringing that paved the way for her to become involved in social entrepreneurship and corporate social responsibility projects later. After completing her elementary education in Sidab, Badriyah attended Ideal Female School in Muscat; a government school that admitted only outstanding female students. She went to Bahrain for her higher education. During her visits to Sidab, she would organize a number of social and cultural activities, such as teaching students who wanted to enhance their academic performance.
After her graduation she came back to Oman and joined Oman Housing Bank in 1993. She went to USA for her first annual vacation to visit her elder brother who was studying there at the time. Once there, she joined a Women’s Centre whose objective was to serve the society they lived in, irrespective of their race or religion. Badriyah then became a frequent visitor of similar centres in the USA. She also participated in the US international visitor’s programme. This programme aims at presenting the role of nongovemment organizations that support community service.
Badriyah continued working at the Oman Housing Bank as Head Office Engineer until 1997. Thereafter, she worked for the Alliance Housing Bank, then the Ahli Bank as a Manager. In 2008 she joined Privilege Banking section at Bank Sohar as a Senior Manager. In spite of such a brilliant career history, she had a keen desire and a great passion to do something for society. In August 2009, Badriyah left the banking industry to join Omran (responsible tourism development) where she currently works as a coordinator.
The rich experience of social work that was gained in America had inspired her very much. She realized the importance of social work. Sidab was her starting point in the journey. Badiryah has participated in many vocational training and developmental workshops to improve and build her skills in community building, women’s empowerment, and activities related to poverty eradication. This prompted Badriyah to do something for the women of Sidab; the place she belonged to and the place that was closer to her heart.
Over the past few years, the Government of Oman had been looking for new and diverse sources of income to provide better standards of living for Omani families. When asked by the research team from Sultan Qaboos University on 5 November 2009, she said, “l was inspired by the time I spent in Colorado-USA where I saw the enormous economic and social benefits these community centers bring, and the fantastic work done by these centres. I thought of starting something similar in Oman”. Thus, Badriyah co-founded Sidab Women’s Sewing Group with the help of an Australian expatriate, Sue Ross, in 2004 and realized her dream of empowering women through education and training.
Badriyah started the group with the help of local and expatriate volunteers. She brought in Naima Abdullah Al Maimani, an artist and jewelry designer, to provide designs as well as to ensure quality control. Volunteers Muneera and Nadia were made in charge of administration and stocks and finances. One of Badriyah’s cousins donated a house that served as headquarters. Badriyah and Sue Ross brain stormed on the possible products they could create. As Oman Government was expanding the Tourism Sector they came up with the idea of designing something modern, but with a definite Omani signature, that tourists would like to take home from Oman.
Hence, they decided to make calico bags decorated with coloured *wizar’ (traditional Omani fabric) and to embellish them with Omani designs. They decided on a basic design template that included motifs such as camels, date-palms and forts. They sourced the material from a tent factory in Rusayl Industrial Estate, taking a sample of forty bags that were made at the tent factory itself, for the women to work on, They embroidered the designs sketched by Badriyah’s friend on to the bags. Subsequently, Badriyah and Ross retailed these sample bags at a community bazaar organized by the American Women’s Group. Encouraged by the response, Badriyah set up a shop. She received support from groups such as the Women’s Guild of Oman and the American Women’s Group in Muscat. Shell Oman backed them with logistics and training support, and also provided the group with industrial sewing machines and computers. Shell also arranged to train the women in peoples’ skills to enable them to interact with tourists. In addition, even local schools such as the American British Academy lent a helping hand by organizing fairs and providing volunteers.
Badriyah’s dream was very big and the challenges were many. One of the biggest challenges they faced was to turn the interest of the village women into a sustainable and a profitable venture. Small artisans require a push as they cannot see the big picture. To inspire them and bring them together is not easy. Educating them and making them believe in their artistic abilities is another herculean task. In the beginning it felt impossible, as there were very little or almost no resources, including a common place to work. At the beginning of the project, SWSG operated in a tent which acted as their factory, as they were unable to find a suitable place to work from. With support from the ecosystem, and her passion to help society, Badriyah was able to manage it well.
The first time their products were displayed in a market held at AlBustan Palace, all 40 handbags were sold during the first hour, with many requests for more. The handbags were priced at RO 3 and the money was distributed among the women. Each woman received RO 1 per bag, RO 1.200 for production costs and the remaining interest 800 baisas were used to buy the necessary raw materials for making new products. The participation in that first market had a very positive outcome which encouraged the group to continue working on the project, and more women expressed a desire to join them.
After the first success, Badriyah commenced looking for a place with a decent capacity to accommodate more women to carry out their tasks. Eventually, she asked the Ministry of Education, with the assistance of the Head of Muscat Social Development Committee, to allow the group to use one of the classrooms of Al Bustan Basic Education School during summer. Following approval by the Ministry, they received four industrial sewing machines donated by the Women’s Guild of Oman. Their rate of production increased and some of the women created new designs using different coloured textiles. They presented their products to the manager of the Chedi Hotel who bought 20 bags, which again were sold within a short time. They also presented the products in a number of other places frequented by tourists, such as Bait A’Zubair (A’Zubair House), City Gallery, and various charity fares held for people of the intemational community living in Oman.
Followed by this success, the group proceeded to look for a permanent work place. The ladies of the group made three suggestions: Sidab Sports Club, the municipality’s hall in Harmel village, or to rent a house with an affordable price in the area, They unanimously agreed to rent one of the houses in the area because of its proximity and privacy. Very soon, more products were introduced, such as towels with the Sultanate’s name decorated on them, small bags with the Sultanate’s flag, hair clips with Omani silver rings, fragrance bags filled with eastern spices and Omani Luban (frankincense).
The project received financial support from the Shell Representative Office in Oman. The group agreed to use Shell’s financial support to train the working women and develop their skills; by organising a number of training courses on tailoring, computing, English language, customer service, and the fundamentals of selling and accounting. Due to an increasing number of women who were willing to join the project, they raised the number to 35 and now plan to utilise the potential of the women who are willing to work from home. These village women can earn around RO 150 monthly. The women at the centre are paid per piece; approximately half the tag price. For example, if an item is priced at RO 4 the women receive RO 2. The final cost price of the product includes the material and labour cost. A little profit is also included. Quality control checks are conducted before the items are sent to city stores or put up for sale at the centre. The products are retailed under the label, “Nissa Sidab made in Sultanate of Oman”. The group has registered a copyright with the Ministry of Commerce to prevent imitations. The women generally go to work at nine in the morning and continue until noon. They have become more aware, while earlier they were happy to accept whatever money they received for their products, they now demand a commensurate price, as they now know the value of their work. Moreover, several of the women have also assumed leadership roles. The women are divided into two groups, each headed by a leader who in turn reports to supervisors.
Although Badriyah is the leader and the front of SWSG, she delegates and divides different tasks to different members of the team. Marketing, human resources and accounts are all managed by different members. All the members have been trained in such a way that in Badriyah’s absence, they are able to carry out all the daily operations.
In early 2009, members of the Sidab Women’s Group were paid a visit by Prince Willem-Alexander, heir to the throne of The Netherlands, and Princess Maxima, his consort, during their visit to Oman. The royal couple visited the headquarters of SWSG since it is sponsored by Shell, the biggest Dutch corporate presence in Oman. In 2010, SWSG was invited to become a part of a business incubator initiative announced by Bank Muscat. When Queen Elizabeth II visited Oman, Sidab was invited to provide samples for an exhibition at the British Museum London. Afterwards, the British Museum placed further orders to Sidab. Later in the year, Sidab participated at the World Cultural Festival held in Berlin during July 2011. The latest achievement of this group is that it received its first international order from the Omani Embassy in France. Presently, the group is charged with energy and hoping to achieve many more milestones in the future.
Today, the Group’s core business of manufacturing accessories has generated profits for members and the number of projects being undertaken has grown. With increasing financial security, the Group is focusing more on areas such as education and community development. Indeed, it is thanks to the Sidab Women’s Sewing Group that the lives of many women in the village and their families have seen real improvement a wonderful example of social entrepreneurship at work.
Adapted from: Sidab Women’s Sewing Group: An example of Social Entrepreneurship in the Arabian Gulf By Golam Mostafa Khan, Sultan Qaboos University, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Small Business, Vol. 18, No. i, January 2013,
1-business identification & summary :(150 words)
- Identify the type of business and ownership.
b.Write a concise summary of the case study.
2-Uniqueness & Identification of success/Failure factors(350 words)
- What are the three main reasons for the success?explain in detail how theses reasons led to the success of the business?
b.What is unique idea/products?
3-Management of challenges:(100 words)
- Mention any two challenges faced and explain how did they overcome these challenges?
4-Discussion of case specific questions (300 words)
- Why is it important
b.The support to which extent this supports was important??
- what do you recommend for the future ( about the case study)??how can they become more successful?!
Last Updated on March 26, 2019 by EssayPro