Muscat – The Promising Omani Startups Forum commenced at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC) on Monday under the patronage of H H Sayyid Bilarab bin Haitham al Said, Honorary Chairman of the Promising Omani Startups Programme.
The event drew 1,500 participants, including entrepreneurs, students, experts and academics, and aimed at spotlighting the accomplishments of the Promising Omani Startups Programme while nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit.
The forum focused on three core aspects of the startup ecosystem: capacity building, financing and investment, and legislative support for startups. It featured insightful discussions on each aspect, enlightening attendees about the future of the startup sector, the impact of education in encouraging innovation, and the significance of acceleration and incubation programmes such as those run by Omantel Innovation Labs.
A key part of the forum was the exploration of policies that bolster startup and SME growth, legislative and financial frameworks tailored for startups, and an overview of the Omani startups ecosystem and venture capitals in emerging sectors.
The event also showcased the programme’s key initiatives of 2023, including a startups podcast, an educational game 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 Startup Weekend event for universities.
One notable initiative was the allocation of 10% of the Oman Future Fund’s capital to SMEs and startups, alongside the launch of an investment page for emerging Omani companies on the Dealroom platform. The forum also celebrated the winning ideas in an entrepreneurial ideas race, seeking innovative solutions in tourism, energy and water resources, conducted in partnership with Oman Investment Authority companies.
On the sidelines of the forum, an exhibition showcased 50 emerging tech-driven companies from diverse sectors and the projects that triumphed in the entrepreneurial ideas race.
In her address, Halima bint Rashid al Zaria, Chairperson of Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises Development, highlighted the programme’s alignment with Oman Vision 2040 and its emphasis on economic diversification and financial sustainability.