Under the distinguished patronage of H H Sayyid Bilarab bin Haitham al Said, Honorary Chairman of the Promising Omani Startups Programme, the Promising Omani Startups Forum kicked off on Monday at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC). The forum, a gathering of 1,500 participants, including entrepreneurs, students, experts, and academics, aims to celebrate the achievements of the Promising Omani Startups Programme while fostering a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit.
Divided into three focal points – capacity building, financing and investment, and legislative support for startups – the forum hosted insightful discussions that shed light on the future trajectory of the startup sector. Participants gained valuable insights into the role of education in stimulating innovation and the importance of acceleration and incubation programs, exemplified by Omantel Innovation Labs.
A significant highlight of the forum was the examination of policies conducive to the growth of startups and SMEs. This included discussions on legislative and financial frameworks specifically tailored for startups, an overview of the Omani startups ecosystem, and insights into venture capitals in emerging sectors.
The event unveiled the key initiatives of the Promising Omani Startups Programme for 2023, such as the introduction of a startups podcast, an educational game developed in collaboration with Alizz Islamic Bank, the launch of six guidebooks, an entrepreneurship card for startups, virtual courses for startups on the Riyada Academy platform, training camps, and the much-anticipated Startup Weekend event for universities.
A noteworthy announcement revealed the allocation of 10% of the Oman Future Fund’s capital to SMEs and startups. In addition, an investment page for emerging Omani companies was launched on the Dealroom platform. The forum concluded with the recognition of winning ideas in an entrepreneurial ideas race, focusing on innovative solutions in tourism, energy, and water resources, conducted in collaboration with Oman Investment Authority companies.
An accompanying exhibition, held on the sidelines of the forum, showcased 50 emerging tech-driven companies from diverse sectors. Additionally, it featured projects that emerged triumphant in the entrepreneurial ideas race, providing attendees with a tangible glimpse of the innovation flourishing within Oman’s startup landscape.
In her address, Halima bint Rashid al Zaria, Chairperson of the Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, underscored the program’s alignment with Oman Vision 2040. She emphasized its pivotal role in supporting economic diversification and fostering financial sustainability, marking a significant stride toward the realization of Oman’s ambitious long-term vision.