Sunday, May 27, 2007

2007 Big Business Idea Launch

The 2nd TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition (BBIC) will be launched on Sunday 1 July, 8:00pm at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Muscat. This is the largest such competition in Oman and is now well established as a prestigious launch pad for new science and technology businesses.

"Last year's competition attracted over 70 entries from local entrepreneurs, business people and academics, we were delighted with the response and expect a larger number of entries to be submitted this year," said Abdullah Al Jufaili, Director, The Knowledge Mine (TKM) incubator program. Sponsored by Ernst & Young, Ericsson, GroFin Oman, NCR, Infocomm and OER, the competition is viewed by many in Oman’s business and public sector circles as a launch pad for participating entrants to successfully raise investment for their commercial ventures.

The 1 July launch will include a brief on the competition, a presentation by Ernst & Young plus a talk by Dr. Firas Al Abduwani, Founder and CEO of Hussam Technology, a telecommunications start-up firm based in the TKM.

Although the competition is limited to Omani nationals the organizers welcome entries from individuals, teams, students and entrepreneurs. According to Al Jufaili, "anyone with a good, innovative idea for a technology-driven business should think about participating in the Big Business Idea Competition.'" The idea should be original or a significant improvement on an existing business. "The 10 June launch will be an excellent opportunity for people to learn more about the competition and what it means to initiate a start-up company,” remarked the TKM Director.

“If you’re new to business and creating a business idea, you will learn a lot by participating in the Big Business Idea Competition. Entrants will receive high-level feedback on their business idea and the chance to learn more about processes of business. We believe that the competition is a highly-prestigious platform for successful new venture creation – it offers entrants access to networks, training and valuable contacts and it helps further understanding of the investment process and what constitutes a realistic marketable idea,” said Karim Rahemtulla, CEO, Infocomm and a sponsor of the competition.

Dave Pender, Advisor, Public Establishment for Industrial Estates, explained that the perfect business plan doesn’t exist because each business plan has to be designed for its particular function. His advice to BBIC entrants on pitching an idea to investors: "You’re selling futures and building credibility, so if they don’t believe in you they won’t believe what you tell them."

In partnership with Ernst & Young, Ericsson, GroFin Oman, Infocomm and NCR, TKM will run a series of pre-competition workshops at the Ernst & Young offices in Qurum. “We'll be announcing the free of charge workshop schedule on 10 June. In fact, free access to experts from Ernst & Young, Ericsson, GroFin Oman, Infocomm and NCR is an opportunity that doesn’t come along everyday,” commented the TKM Director. The workshops are intended to help would be entrepreneurs look at what it means to research and write a business plan plus how to use the business plan to raise investment for the business.

Entrants have until 9 September to enter their business plan. The four entrants with the best plans will be invited to present at the TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition Gal Dinner on 22 October. The most fundable business plan will earn its writers a prize of RO4,000 in cash and twelve months rent free accommodation in TKM.

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