Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Face to Face With Origin Oman

The government’s newly-launched Origin Oman marketing campaign, a domestic initiative created to promote Oman-made products and services will organize Face-to-Face – a meet-the-buyer event scheduled to be held at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel on Tuesday 25 March. The event is open to all and free-of-charge.

The Face-to-Face initiative has been designed to help Omani businesses understand the commercial opportunities that exist in the public sector and with larger private sector organizations. “This is a unique one-day event which will give Omani businesses the chance to meet, and find out how sell to buyers from the public sector and large firms,” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE’s Head of Marketing and the person spearheading the Origin Oman marketing campaign.

“Omani businesses know only too well how time consuming, frustrating and expensive selling can be. In fact, ninety per cent of the battle is just getting though the door – and with some large companies and public sector organizations, it can be a daunting experience, but we hope Face-to-Face on 25 March will help businesses and public sector organizations connect with one another and lift barriers,” comments Hamida Al Balushi of PEIE’s Marketing Department and Origin Oman Project Co-ordinator.

The objective says Al Balushi is simple – get businesses in front of buyers who need their products or services, so that businesses can sell to them. Indeed, the event will allow companies to pitch their goods or services to purchasers who are actively looking for contractors. Face-to-Face is also intended to reach out to a talented pool of Omani suppliers who can not only add value to the sultanate’s supply chain, but also provide innovative and cost-effective business solutions. It’s an event we on the Origin Oman team are really excited about, adds Al Balushi.

"Taking part in Face-to-Face will open up new ways of working with both the public sector and large firms and give participants the confidence to build relationships and win business,” stresses Al Faruji.

If you would like to get involved and be part of Origin Oman’s Face-to-Face day, contact Hamida Al Balushi on:

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Origin Oman - Buy Local Campaign

“Our aim is to raise the profile of locally made goods and services” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, Head of Marketing at PEIE and the person spearheading the government’s newly-launched Origin Oman marketing campaign, a domestic initiative designed to promote Oman-made products and services and urge institutional buyers and consumers to buy local first.

While buy local campaigns have been around for generations, "the idea behind Origin Oman is to get people to think more about where their Rials are being spent and what it means to the sultanate from an economic, community and environmental angle to buy locally-made goods and services," Al Faruji says.

As part of the Origin Oman campaign, PEIE is organizing a series of events to help local manufacturers and service providers raise their domestic profile. “We start the program on Monday 25 February with a half-day workshop at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel on How to Win Public Sector Business,” says Al Faruji. The workshop is being carried out with the support of the Tender Board, Oman Fibre Optic, Oman Cables Industry, Infocomm and Knowledge Horizon and is intened to introduce local firms to the in and outs of the tendering process.

PEIE’s Head of Marketing points to a range of international studies that show the impact local businesses have on the economy. Research indicates that for every RO36 local retailers bring in through sales, businesses return RO25 to the local economy through salaries and benefits, purchase of goods and services like office supplies, marketing, PR, IT and accounting, profits to local owners and charitable contributions.

In recent years, businesses and government organizations in countries around the world have united to launch campaigns encouraging citizens to buy local, and many of these have proven to be highly successful.

Of course local manufacturers and service providers keep more money in the local economy - but less obvious is just how much difference buying locally made products and services can make. Research from San Francisco found that even the smallest shift in customer spending can have a tremendous impact on the local economy. If 10% of residential spending were redirected toward local businesses, the study found, it would give San Francisco an RO75 million economic boost and generate nearly 1,300 new jobs.

“Given the bank of evidence from buy local initiatives carried out around the world, if we can convince institutional buyers and consumers to redirect just 10% of their spending toward locally made goods and services it would have a tremendous impact on our local economy,” suggests Al Faruji.

“I think one of the most interesting aspects of the Origin Oman campaign is its capacity to bring local manufacturers, service providers and business owners together to reach their customers collectively and deliver a stronger punch. In fact, the Winning Public Sector Business Workshop that Origin Oman is hosting on Monday at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel is a clear example of this,” comments Karim Rahemutulla, MD, Infocomm and supporter of the Origin Oman initiative.

In general, business owners see buy-local campaigns as an easy sell. According to Al Faruji, “The public is highly receptive to the message, and even if many may not initially consider whether they’re buying locally-made goods and services, all it takes is a gentle reminder for them to change their spending habits.”
Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Origin Oman - Wining Public Sector Business

Small business often ignore public sector tenders because of a perceived big company bias and the reams of red tape involved. But recent efforts to open up the procurement process to more SMEs means Oman-based entrepreneurs should consider securing a slice of the millions of Rials worth of contracts up for grabs.

In an effort to help local SMEs learn more about the tendering process, Origin Oman, the buy local campaign spearheaded by the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE), will hold two free-of-charge seminars on Winning Public Sector Business 25 February and 4 March at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel.

Much of the perceptions about dealing with the public sector are true. It has on occasions been difficult to find out which tenders have been released and with small business owners already having to cope with huge amounts of form filling, the prospect of dealing with further paperwork which can be rejected because of a simple mistake can be off putting. “Representatives from the Tender Board as well as the private sector will be presenting at the two workshops, this will give small businesses a real opportunity to get an insight into how the tender process works. We’ve already received a number of companies register, particularly from the manufacturing sector,” comments Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE’s Head of Marketing.

But with efforts to encourage local SMEs to enjoy a share of the money spent every year by government on procuring goods and services, Oman-based entrepreneurs should not shun the idea. “Yes, the process can be time consuming and bureaucratic but if you're prepared to do your research and establish a good relationship with the public sector, your company could reap huge benefits,” says Al Faruji.

Indeed, by achieving greater involvement of local SMEs in the government market place there will be wider benefits to Oman’s economy thereby promoting competition and innovation in government procurement.

Once a firm has established ties with a public organization, the chances of securing further contracts will rise dramatically. “Like their private sector counterparts, many government organizations prefer to work with suppliers they've dealt with before so if you've proved yourself you'll likely be able to get another slice of the pie,” suggests PEIE’s Head of Marketing.
Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Monday, February 11, 2008

KOM to Host eGames Conference

Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) will host its third eGames Conference on the Rusayl-based technology park, 31 March – 1 April. According to Mohammed Al Maskari, KOM’s Director General: “this year’s program will consider the application of virtual environments (VEs) to tourism, heritage, culture, health, education, defence and the generation of local web content.”

Presenting at the two-day program include some of the world’s leading VE experts – including Professor Lizbeth Goodman, Director, SMARTlab, Digital Media Centre at the University of East London and Professor Bob Stone from Birmingham University.

“Virtual worlds have hit the mainstream,” suggests Ibtisam Al Faruji, KOM’s Head of Marketing. Today they are being used not just for consumer applications, but also for a wide range of serious professional purposes. These purposes range from scenario planning to medical training and from collaborative role play to cross-cultural awareness sessions. “KOM’s eGames Conference will look at how private virtual worlds are being used now as the basis for serious collaborative activities in a variety of professional domains,” says Al Faruji.

For over a decade, there has been worldwide interest in the prospect of using VEs to recreate historic sites and events for such purposes as education, special project commissions and showcase features at national and World Heritage sites. According to Professor Stone (pictured): “The power of VE lies with its ability to open up places not normally accessible to people from all walks of life, to allow them to explore objects and experience events that could not normally be explored without alterations of scale or time and to support interaction with remote communities and interaction with virtual (historical) actors.”

In the context of heritage, VE goes much further, however, in that it offers a means of protecting the fragile state of historic sites and can help educate visitors not so much about their history, but in how to explore, interpret, understand and respect those sites. Despite some impressive projects executed during the Virtual Reality era of the 1990s, the limitations imposed by the very costly – and often unreliable – technologies meant that many of the Virtual Heritage demonstrations were committed to digital obscurity. Professor Stone’s eGames presentation will look at the resurrection of interest in Virtual Heritage and, using the Virtual Stonehenge and Virtual Scylla (artificial reef) projects and how lessons learned from the 1990s should be taken forward to underpin serious games developments in the early 21st Century.
“Given Oman’s rich history and outstanding cultural heritage, particularly our tangible cultural assets, I fully expect this year’s eGames Conference to be of substantial interest and value to those working in heritage, culture, leisure and tourism,” remarks Al Faruji.

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

10 Reasons to Buy Local

1. Keep money in our community: Significantly more money re-circulates locally when purchases are made at locally owned businesses. This multiplier is due in part to locally owned businesses purchasing more often from other local businesses, service providers and farms. Research indicates that for every US$100 spent at a locally owned business, US$45 goes back into the community.

2. Support community groups: Non-profit organizations receive an average 250% more support from smaller locally-owned business owners than they do from large businesses.

3. Keep our community unique: Where we shop, where we eat and have fun - all of it makes our community home. Our one-of-a-kind businesses are an integral part of Oman’s distinctive character. Our tourism businesses also benefit. When people go on holiday they generally seek out destinations that offer them the sense of being someplace, not just anyplace.

4. Reduce environmental impact: Locally owned businesses can make more local purchases requiring less transportation. This generally means contributing less to sprawl, congestion, habitat loss and pollution.

5. Create more jobs: Local businesses are large employers and provide job opportunities.

6. Get better service: Local businesses often hire people with a better understanding of the products they are selling and take more time to get to know customers.

7. Invest in the local community: Local businesses are owned by people who live in the community, are less likely to leave, and are more invested in the community’s future.

8. Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy: A marketplace of small businesses is the best way to ensure innovation and competitive prices over the long-term.

9. Encourage local prosperity: A growing body of economic research shows that in an increasingly homogenized world, entrepreneurs and skilled workers are more likely to invest and settle in communities that preserve their one-of-a-kind businesses and distinctive character.

10. Locally grown food tastes better: Food grown in your own community was probably picked within the past day or two. It's crisp, sweet and loaded with flavor. Several studies have shown that the average distance food travels from farm to plate is 1,500 miles. In a week-long (or more) delay from harvest to dinner table, sugars turn to starches, plant cells shrink, and produce loses its vitality.

Monday, February 04, 2008

PEIE's Big Ideas Tent Opens 10 February

PEIE in partnership with the private sector is organizing a Big Ideas Tent seminar program and exhibition on Sohar Industrial Estate, Sunday 10 February.

The Big Ideas tent forms part of a series of PEIE-led initiatives that are intended to increase marketing, finance, education and technology awareness among manufacturers. The seminar and exhibition are free-of-charge and an excellent opportunity to meet with fellow business professionals and network. Over 35 leading manufacturers will be exhibiting at the event

“Manufacturing has certainly had some tough times, not just here but across the world,” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE’s Head of Marketing. “But the fact is that Omani industry is producing more today than ever before – our non-oil exports are on the increase and we’re creating jobs in the sector. We have world beating companies – our potential in plastics, metals and logistics, for example, is tremendous. Indeed, many of the seeds for tomorrow’s manufacturing success are being sown in Sohar. The “Origin Oman” stamp has a great future, The point is that you don’t have to look far to see manufacturing alive and kicking here in Oman. What our success stories have in common is that that they are about the appliance of science and technology with highly skilled people,” says PEIE’s Marketing Head

With increasing global competition, Oman-based manufacturers face a number of growing challenges from reducing costs, improving marketing, packaging, design and product quality, training, introducing new technology through to speeding up production processes. “The Big Ideas Tent has been designed specifically to help our tenants respond to these challenges,” comments Al Faruji.

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE