Sunday, October 21, 2007

Big Business Idea Finalists Announced

E-security, online retail, internet research and survey and multimedia projects, are among the new technology ventures short-listed for this year's TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition final which will be held Sunday 28 October at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Muscat.

The TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition, the largest such competition in Oman, has selected four potentially high-growth businesses, drawn from entries from around the sultanate, to compete on 28 October for RO6,000 of start-up finance and 12 months rent free office accommodation in the TKM incubator program based at Knowledge Oasis Muscat.

The four outstanding finalists are in the early stages of setting up businesses and are based on innovative ideas. The finalists are:

Saleh Al Shukairy – multimedia;
Badriya Al Baqlani, Anwar Al Tobi and Abdulhakim Al Tobi - online retail;
Majid Al Yaqoobi - online research and survey project; and
Jafer Al Mamari - e-security.

The TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition is a prestigious launch pad to raise investment and create high-value technology companies. The finalists will present elevator pitches to the competition’s judging panel on 28 October at the event’s annual gala dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel. According to Mr. Mohammed Al Maskari, Director General, Knowledge Oasis Muscat: “The judges look at a wide range of criteria; in particular, business success either by increase in sales and unit volume, market research and identification of customer focus, organizational and team building effectiveness, strategic planning, overcoming obstacles and barriers to success, visionary leadership and social and community responsibility.”

Hilal Al Ahsani (pictured), CEO, Public Establishment for Industrial Estates said: “This is the second year that we’ve run the TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition and it’s developing an impressive track record for creating new ventures. However, we could not organize such an important initiative without the critical support of Ernst & Young, Nawras, Talal Abu Ghazaleh Intellectual Property; Ericsson, NCR, Grofin; Oman Economic Review and Times of Oman. We’re thrilled with the calibre of this year's entries and it has been tough job for the judging panel to narrow it down to the final four.”

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Saturday, October 20, 2007

OMG on Branding

According to Eng. Hamad Al Harthy, Director General of Rusayl Industrial Estate (pictured) the dictionary definition of branding is: “the act of giving a company a particular design or symbol in order to advertise its products and services,” and this is indeed the topic of discussion for PEIE’s Oman Manufacturing Group (OMG) seminar scheduled for 7:30pm Monday 29 October at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.

Al Harthy is amazed with how few domestic businesses understand the importance of branding. Indeed, he points out that recent research suggests that many businesses see no reason for investing in design, public relations, web innovation or in communicating core messages. “This is disappointing and something we really need to address,” remarks the PEIE Director General.

How a business, product or service is branded plays a major role in whether it succeeds or fails. “Let’s be honest, a brand isn’t a logo, it’s your ethics and persona. It’s your story. This includes your style of design, your execution of that design, your attitude, your marketing, your internal policies and your business process,” says Al Harthy. All of these influence your brand image. Indeed, according to Ernst & Young, up to 40 per cent of a company's market value is based on intangible assets - the emotional and psychological factors that enable a person to feel comfortable with, and relate to a brand.

Backed by some of Oman’s best known brands including Reem Batteries; Oman Cables; Ericsson; Agility; Omani Marble; Jotun; Videocon; Muna Noor Manufacturing & Trading; Future Pipe Industries; Al Mudhish; Oracle; Oman Oasis Water; and Khimji’s Permoglaze, OMG has been designed specifically by PEIE to bring manufacturers and those connected to the sector closer together.

“Creating the right identity doesn’t happen by accident but takes considerable understanding of target markets, a well-defined competitive strategy and the ability to communicate this effectively. These are the issues the next OMG seminar will tackle,” says Al Harthy.

“Many believe we’re on the cusp of a major shift in how Omani firms think about branding,” comments Mohammed Al Maskari, Director General, Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM). Historically, a brand was seen as a promise that said: “You can rely on what we’re offering because of our brand attributes.” This, in my opinion, is beginning to be replaced with a more customer centric branding where the message is: “I know you better than the competitors and you can trust me to put together the right products or services to meet your individual needs.” This branding paradigm shift is more than evident on KOM where firms have become very image conscious. They’re concerned about how they look, the quality of service they deliver and the messages they send out. ”

Blog contents copyright © 2007 PEIE