PEIE was involved in the recent MEED Sohar Port Conference (www.emapconferences.co.uk/oman) held at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel.
Establishing plastics and metal clusters in Sohar was a topic raised by a number of panelists at the MEED event. Indeed, the concept of "cluster" has attracted growing interest in recent years as a way to encourage economic development and growth at the regional and national level. PEIE’s existing foundation in manufacturing and technology-based activities, innovation focus, access to national and international business networks, strong local presence, as well as its mix of services to SMEs places it in a strategic position to foster cluster development and innovation in Sohar.
In partnership with Oman Oil (www.oman-oil.com) and Sohar Aluminium (www.oman-oil.com/newsdetails.asp?id=69), PEIE is looking to initiate and develop a downstream aluminium metals cluster in Sohar. In this regard, Quebec's Aluminium Valley (www.transformactions.net/english/val_alumi.html) model is of particular interest to PEIE.
How can Oman-based clusters benefit businesses and the economy?
PEIE believes that clustering can bring a wide range of benefits to both business and the wider Omani economy. For example:
o Companies can increase the expertise available to them if they locate amongst a cluster of other firms.
o They can also can draw upon others with complementary skills to bid for large pieces of work which each of the individual firms would have been unable to complete.
o Advantage can be taken of economies of scale by further specialising production within each firm, by joint purchasing of common raw materials to attract bulk discounts or by joint marketing.
o Social and other informal links are important and can lead to the creation of new ideas and new businesses.
o Reputations spread quickly within the cluster, enabling finance providers to judge who the good entrepreneurs are and business people to find who provides good support services.
o The cluster enables an infrastructure of professional, legal, financial, marketing, technical and other specialist services to develop.
If you’re interested in reading more about clusters, we recommend: