By A Staff Reporter — MUSCAT — Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, officially inaugurated the launch of ‘Salma’s Chocolates’ under Omran’s “Intajee” umbrella at Sultan Center in Qurum. The brainchild of Omani duo Salma and Aisha al Hajri, the homemade chocolates conjure rich flavours of Oman’s unique culture and traditions.
Building on the success of the “Intajee” programme with local famers in Al Musannah, Omran is now opening new vistas of opportunity for the two budding entrepreneurs. As part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) agenda, Omran provided the necessary investment for training, equipment, packaging and marketing to enable the products to reach the shelves of hypermarkets and become available to the wider general public. The company is not only nurturing local products and empowering communities, but laying the groundwork for Salma’s Chocolates to penetrate international markets.
Nasser bin Khamis al Jashmi, Chairman of Omran, said, “The fusion of Omani aromas and flavors in Salma’s Chocolates creates an appetite for people to explore the treasures this nation holds as they experience Oman through their taste buds. This was a perfect blend with our mandate to create memorable destinations that will act as a catalyst to drive domestic and international tourism.”
He added, “Supporting homegrown entrepreneurs marks a new chapter in Intajee’s history and we are confident that Salma’s Chocolates is well on its way to becoming the next household Omani brand.” Wael bin Ahmed al Lawati, CEO of Omran, explained that Salma’s Chocolates is no ordinary confectionery business but one that has a profound impact on local suppliers and producers. Through “Intajee”, Omran has assisted Salma and Aisha to source authentic Omani ingredients to make inventive culinary delights that include indulgent flavors of Mahoo, Omani Halwa, lemon, honey, thyme to name a few, from regions all across the Sultanate ranging from Al Batinah Governorate, Al Jabal al Akhdar, Al Hamra to Dhofar Governorate.
On the occasion, the Chief Commercial Officer of Sultan Center, Fawaz Diab said, “This step comes in line with the company’s overall strategy to support Omani talents and promote the excellent quality of local productions. We are very proud to be the first to introduce “Salma’s Chocolates” in the market through retail stores and selling them on our shelves. We also announce our long-term plans to launch several new Omani products and brands under the patronage of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, offering our valuable customers premium quality products produced locally.”
“I am deeply indebted to Minister of Commerce and Industry, Omran and to Sultan Center for their invaluable contributions that have turned our dream into a reality,” said Salma al Hajri. “The Intajee brand has validated the quality of our products and has bridged the gap many Omani entrepreneurs face by transferring skill sets essential for running a professional and sustainable business. I can honestly say that we believe that our goal is now within arm’s reach and we are one step closer to becoming world renowned chocolatiers.”
‘Intajee’ is Omran’s signature corporate stewardship programme that was born from a simple yet compelling premise of empowering families residing in Al Batinah to improve their livelihoods by selling locally grown products such as honey, dates, eggs, fruits and vegetables through existing micro-businesses. To date, the program has helped farmers effectively harvest, package and label their goods thereby strengthening their presence in the market. The undisputed success of the pilot launched in August 2011 and now with Salma’s Chocolate is a clear indication that the program can offer a reliable and consistent flow of demand generated by not only individuals but by shops, restaurants, hotels and cafés.