The Capital Market Authority (CMA) of Oman has granted licenses to nine companies to carry out crowdfunding activities as at the end of Q1 2023.
The licensed crowdfunding platforms, most of which offer Islamic financial products and solutions, are Ethis Investment Platform; Beehive Financial Technology; New Sphere; Ithbar; Alwadiaa for Commercial Operations; Rawafid Finance; Smart Group for Finance; Mamun Financial Technologies; and Sharek Investment.
According to the CMA, at least 21 companies have benefited from the crowdfunding platforms through financings, and a total of OMR1.8 million (US$4.64 million) in financing volume has been provided by both Malaysia-headquartered Ethis and UAE-headquartered Beehive, as at the end of 2022.
With the launch and licensing of these platforms, the regulator aims to expand financing options for SMEs, facilitate their access to financing and help them find funding alternatives, including in the digital space, from the global markets.
“The crowdfunding platforms are considered as a breakthrough in the sector since they are dependent on one of the innovative financing types and they provide four financing options: donations, product, equity or investment note,” the CMA stated.
“Such platforms will enable SMEs in particular and other projects in general to get their required financing from a wide base of national and foreign investors,” said the CMA, adding that the platforms also play a key role in driving economic development and injecting liquidity into the market.
The regulator had, in November 2021, issued new regulations for crowdfunding platforms, and the following year, launched the mechanism for financing initiatives and projects through these platforms.
In March 2022, the Sultanate welcomed its first Islamic global crowdfunding platform, Ethis, with a license from the CMA.