Saturday, September 27, 2008

Origin Oman Logo Launched

Locally made goods and services will now display new labelling in an initiative driven by the Origin Oman campaign to encourage consumers, businesses and institutional buyers to think, buy and eat local.

The new logo, a spiral sticker displaying the words ‘Omani’ in Arabic and English, was launched on Monday evening at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel by HE Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce & Industry.

“This is a very exciting day for Oman. The re-branding is a natural extension of the Origin Oman campaign’s commitment to help local manufacturers, service providers and farmers deliver excellence to their customers, and to broaden the reach of Oman-made goods both domestically and internationally. Indeed, Origin Oman’s new dynamic visual identity clearly represents the government’s optimism for the future,” said Ibtisam Al Faruji, who has been running the Origin Oman marketing campaign since January.

According to the Origin Oman marketing team, the new logo will appear on everything from packaging, stationary, fruit, billboards, the Internet through to supermarket displays. “Thanks to the Origin Oman campaign, consumers, businesses as well as institutional buyers right across the sultanate are becoming ever more aware of where their products comes from. From an economic, environmental and community perspective that has to be healthy,” remarks Azzan Al Busaidi of Oman’ Brand Management Unit.

“In the short time we’ve been running the Origin Oman campaign, the response has been very enthusiastic. People want to find locally made goods, but perhaps don't know how to identify them. We hope the new logo will help solve that problem. The campaign is all about connecting manufacturers, service providers as well as farmers with local consumers,” comments Al Faruji.

The idea behind replacing the national products logo was initiated in April when Al Faruji and her team launched the Origin Oman Student Logo Design Competition. “We wanted a more modern and edgy logo, one that reflected Oman’s vibrant and dynamic economy. Given the winning logo design, I think we found exactly what we were looking for,” smiles Al Faruji.

Haitham Al Busafi, the competition winner, and final year architecture student at Sultan Qaboos University, said: “I’m thrilled to have won the competition, it’s a great honour to have my design going out on Omani products that will travel across the world, that’s absolutely fantastic. Moreover, the feedback I’ve received so far on the new visual identity has been highly complimentary.”

The Origin Oman campaign aims to help people find out more about buying locally made goods and services. “In fact, over the past year or so, we’ve seen peoples’ interest in where and how goods are produced skyrocket,” remarks Al Faruji.

Oman boasts a wealth of quality manufacturers, service providers and farmers. We should be proud of them and support them. I’m confident the new logo will give local businesses a real boost,” says Oman Brand Management Unit’s Al Busaidi.
Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Smart Manufacturing Heats Up

PEIE organizers of Oman’s annual Smart Manufacturing Conference have announced the program for this year’s event, scheduled to take place 3 – 4 November at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel.

Many in the manufacturing sector view the Smart Manufacturing Conference as one of the Gulf region’s most important industrial events, “it’s where industrialists learn first hand about emerging issues that are impacting on today’s ever-more sophisticated and hi-tech manufacturing industry,” suggests Hilal al Ahsani, CEO, PEIE. “The 2008 conference program is one of the strongest line ups in the history of the event and has been carefully designed to give attendees an invaluable source of information,” added PEIE’s CEO proudly.

Smart Manufacturing 2008 boasts an impressive range of presentations covering a broad spectrum of industry sectors. This year’s speakers include: HH Sayyid Faisal Al Said, Oman’s Brand Management Unit; Dr. Salim Al Ruzaiqi, ITA; Abdullah Lootah, Microsoft; Dr. Mohammed Al Wohaibi, Omantel; Abeer Abdullah, Knowledge Horizon; Rafid Mukadam, Infocomm; Graham Porter, Cisco; Malak Shaibani, The Youth Fund; Abdullah Al Jufaili, Intilaaqah; Geoff Walsh, DHL; Peter Hughes, Arrow Logistics Services; P Varghese, Oman Polypropylene; Sub Ramanian, National Biscuits Industries; Edward McNally, Tabreed Oman; Yousuf Ahmed, Oman Textile Mills; S. Gopalan, Reem Batteries; Mahavir Jain, Sweets of Oman; Dr. Bhaskar Dutta, Al Jazeera Steel Product Company; and Anwar Sultan, Majan Glass Company.

Britain’s industry guru, Mark Eaton, will present the conference keynote address entitled: “Where’s Manufacturing Heading?” on the first morning of the event and will set the two days up in his own inimitable style.

“The two-day program will be of interest to professionals from a wide range of vertical markets, including plant, production and logistic managers, control and process engineers, marketers and sales personnel, finance and IT professionals as well as those involved in environmental issues related to the manufacturing process,” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE’s Marketing Director.

In addition to the eight discussion panels, the conference will also have an area dedicated to product and service demonstrations, allowing delegates to participate in specialist briefings targeted to their particular areas of interest. “This, we feel, will facilitate a hands-on, relevant and more personalized event,” says Al Faruji.

Summing up the overall objective of the conference, Al Ahsani remarks: “At this year's Smart Manufacturing Conference, PEIE aims to give industry professionals an understanding of how modern manufacturing is developing, and most importantly, how these developments will impact on how they work and serve their client base.”

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Origin Oman Go Green Guide Launched

Residents of Oman are being encouraged to ‘go green’ and a new booklet packed full of useful tips and advice has just been published to help you do so.

Supported by Omran and the Environment Society of Oman (ESO,) the Origin Oman Go Green Guide was launched at a recent press conference under the patronage of HE Ahmed Al Dheeb, Under Secretary, Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI).

ESO’s General Manager, Nida Helou, says, “The Origin Oman Go Green Guide contains a lot of helpful, practical advice on how we can do more to protect the environment. I’m sure people of all ages and backgrounds will find it extremely useful and we hope that everyone who reads it learns something new. Our particular hope is that people take something from the Guide, no matter how small, and make their life a little greener.”

Nasser Al Rahbi, Media Co-ordinator for the Origin Oman campaign added, “The Go Green Guide is divided into sections including buildings and the landscape; in the home; recycling; in the garden; at work; at school; travel; what we eat and how to generally ‘green’ up your lifestyle. It’s a fantastic resource.”

Clearly enthusiastic about the topic Al Rahbi goes on to say, “The notion of local products isn’t exactly new. Of course, most things start their life produced for local sale but recently there’s been a revival of interest in buying goods, food and services from closer to home. It’s driven by desire for quality, originality, a will to invest in our own communities and a concern for the environment. Origin Oman’s Go Green Guide is a response to that.”

The Origin Oman campaign believes that nurturing local business can bring substantial economic rewards, create all important job opportunities, spread more money around the sultanate and help reduce CO2 emissions. Indeed, a recent study found that for every US$100 local busineses brought in through sales, they returned US$68 to the local economy through wages and benefits, purchase of goods and services like office supplies, IT, accounting and advertising, profits to local owners and charitable giving. “Statistics like these clearly illustrate the power consumers have in influencing the growth of local business,” remarks Ibtisam Al Faruji, the Origin Oman Marketing Director.

“If we can influence even 10 per cent more consumers to spend their money on locally produced goods and servics, that'll have a significant economic impact,” says Al Faruji. “Indeed, it can make the difference between life and death for local busineses.” The message is clear declares Al Faruji, “It's time to think, buy and eat local.”

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Green Manufacturing

Taking steps towards being a ‘green manufacturer’ isn’t just about being eco-friendly, it’s becoming an economic necessity, as customers and shareholders are now demanding it, suggests PEIE’s Mulkie Al Hashmi and Co-ordinator of Oman’s annual Smart Manufacturing Conference.

”Omani manufacturers that don’t address issues such as energy wastage, the integration of recycled or biodegradable materials in products, excess packaging, carbon offsets and shorter supply chains will be held to account,” warns Al Hashmi. Indeed, manufacturers the world over are facing a new ‘green’ reality and those that don’t adapt to this new environment will suffer.

For any manufacturer, points out Al Hashmi, ‘green’ covers a wide range of areas from the materials they buy to the energy they use; to transportation costs for inbound and outbound freight; to the amount and type of paper they use in their office; through to the amount of waste they create and what’s done with it. According to the Smart Manufacturing Conference Co-ordinator: “Oman-based manufacturers are spending large amounts of energy, time and money to improve their sustainability, operations and image. In fact, we’re witnessing manufacturers across Oman develop new products and procedures that are more environmentally friendly. Firms are certainly working hard to reduce their eco footprint.”

In response to this new economic reality, November’s Smart Manufacturing Conference will include a ‘green panel’, led by Graham Dergens of the Environment Society of Oman. “The panel’s been specifically designed to help senior manufacturing leaders understand and implement today’s ‘green’ issues,” sys Al Hashmi. Participating on the panel is Amrou Al Sharif, CEO, Seeb Systems (pictured) a leading supplier of industrial measurement tools and services and PEIE tenant.

“We've always had a strong belief in doing our bit to protect the environment, despite the additional short-term expenses of time, money and manpower," says the Seeb Sytems’ CEO. "We believe that the long-term protection of our planet's limited natural resources is incredibly important. In fact, Seeb Systems has always made a concerted effort to offer quality automation tools and services that directly contribute to the reduction of energy and material waste,” says Al Sharif proudly.

According to Al Sharif, Seeb Systems’ online power quality monitoring solution will help Oman’s energy providers, distributors and consumers minimize electrical power waste. “Poor power management is a significant contributor to inefficient energy consumption and creation of CO2 gases,” says the young Omani engineer.

"Oman-based consumers are more environmentally conscious today and are seeking out ‘green’ products and services,” remarks Al Sharif, “but to differentiate yourself in a growing market, manufacturers need to move from just selling green products and services to becoming a ‘green’ company. It’s time we took green manufacturing to the next level in Oman and I’m confident November’s Smart Manufacturing Conference will help us achieve that goal,” claims Al Sharif.

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Monday, September 08, 2008

Environmentalists Win Big Business Idea Competition 2008

Tomorrow’s entrepreneurs were unveiled on Sunday evening as Oman’s hottest young business minds came together for the final of the 2008 TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition (BBIC). There was an unmistakable atmosphere of excitement as everyone waited to find out just who would walk away with their share of the impressive RO5,000 prize package and 12 months rent free office accommodation at the Knowledge Mine (TKM) business incubator program.

The awards evening held at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel marked the end of four months of hard work and anticipation as around 50 entries were finally short listed to three finalists.

The competition runs annually and is organized by the TKM incubator program based at Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) and Ernst Young. The competition is also supported by Sanad, Intilaaqah, Knowledge Horizon, Infocomm, NCR and Oman Economic Review.

“BBIC was launched in 2006 to help young Omanis develop business awareness and an understanding of the skills needed to become a successful entrepreneur. We’re delighted with how the competition has developed over the past three years. It’s critical that we encourage youngsters to embrace the enterprise culture,” says Ibtisam Al Faruji, Marketing Director at KOM.

Before the results were announced, Philip Stanton, Country Manager at Ernst & Young said a few inspirational words on behalf of those involved in the competition, and singled out the quality of the business plans submitted. “From the perspective of any lender or investor, a good business plan is absolutely crucial. I’m delighted that my colleagues and I have been actively involved in the TKM - Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition and the number ofsponsors who have committed their support speaks volumes about the importance of initiatives like this that benefit not just the business community but society at large.”

A wide spectrum of ideas were submitted, but the one which really stood out was Mazoon Environmental & Technical Services run by science graduates Rayan Al Kalbani and Yaqoob Al Mahrooqi, and their cutting edge micro-organism technology that cleans up oil spills in a cost-effective and environmentally friendly manner. Rayan and Yaqoob competed against two other teams in the Sunday night final.

Mohammed Al Maskari, Director General, KOM and head of the judging panel said: “Over the last three years the quality of entries to BBIC has never failed to impress me. This year continued this excellent trend and the judges were hugely impressed with all the teams’ presentations, preparations and business plans. In particular, the Mazoon Environmental & Technical Services team showed a first-rate grasp of the principles of finance, marketing and intellectual property and demonstrated the attributes needed to be a success. Rayan and Yaqoob intend to move into the TKM incubator program in the next few weeks. I’m sure we’re going to hear a lot about them over the coming months.”

Rayan Al Kalbani, Executive Director of the winning team said: “We’re tremendously happy to have won. We’re very grateful to BBIC for the opportunity to be part of such a valuable experience. We would also like to acknowledge the support of all those that have helped us reach this point. We’re looking forward to joining TKM and to taking our business forward.”

Runners-up in the competition were Bader Al Hamadani who presented on 3D cartoon animation and Hussam Al Amri who deliver a business idea on robotics and embedded systems.

“It’s exciting to see the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in our midst and very gratifying to be able to help turn these innovative business ideas into reality – to the benefit of those taking part and the national economy. Next year’s competition promises to be even bigger and better, bringing entrants the support of top professional and business advisers and providing more high profile exposure,” remarked Hilal Al Ahsani, CEO, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates.

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Friday, September 05, 2008

Mark Eaton Delivers Smart Man Keynote

PEIE will host its annual “Smart Manufacturing Conference” on November 3 – 4 at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel.

Held under the patronage of HE Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Chairman, PEIE, Smart Manufacturing is an annual two-day event specifically designed for professionals in the manufacturing sector. Featured speakers consist of leading industry experts from Europe, Asia and the Gulf who will present on key strategies and technologies that are driving today’s manufacturing industry.

“This year's event will explore what’s behind manufacturing’s efforts in marketing, logistics, finance, human resource development and product quality. The conference is open to all and will draw representation from Al Jazeera Steel Products; Oman Development Bank: Reem Batteries; Cisco; Oman Textile Mills; Infocomm; Microsoft; the Information Technology Authority; Sweets of Oman; National Bank of Oman and DHL. It’s an eclectic and exciting line-up of professionals,” remarks PEIE’s Mulkie Al Hashmi and Smart Manufacturing Conference Co-ordinator.

The keynote address will be delivered by Mark Eaton, Chairman of Britain’s Institute of Engineering & Technology's Manufacturing Professional Network. “Mark is a winner of the Viscount Nuffield Medal for his contribution to British Manufacturing and has authored a number of strategy and policy papers including the manufacturing strategy for the East of England, a region covering over 18,000 manufacturers,” says Al Hashmi proudly.

According to Ibtisam Al Faruji, PEIE’s Head of Marketing: ” I’m delighted that Mark has agreed to speak at the conference, it’s a real coup for PEIE. He will look at topics important to Oman’s manufacturing industry including Manufacturing 2.0, demand driven manufacturing and supply chain functions, customer relationship, design and contract manufacturers. It’ll be a real full on session and on top of this, he’s a very engaging speaker.”

The conference will have eight themed panel discussions with over 30 presenters. The two-day event will also feature the Smart Manufacturing Innovation Demo Space, where specific business issues, product features and recommended applications will be on display.

"The Smart Manufacturing Conference is an essential venue for Oman’s manufacturing community to exchange best practices in a focused and collaborative environment," says S. Gopalan, CEO, Reem Batteries and sponsor of the event.

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

BBIC Mentors

Volunteering to help others doesn't just mean running the local Muscat junior football league or school car boot sale. Many people are able to use the knowledge and skills gained in their workplace to help others.

Abeer Al Jasim, is Head of Professional Qualifications at Knowledge Horizon and has worked in business education and training for over 10 years during which time she has learned a thing or two about setting up a small business. For the past few weeks she has been using her expertise to help the three finalists of this year’s TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition (BBIC) master the art of presentation.

Abeer has been mentoring the three finalists from Mezoon Environmental and Technical Services; Robotics and Embedded Systems; and 3D Cartoons all nominated to present their big business ideas at the BBIC final and award ceremony on 7 September at the Muscat Inter-Continental Hotel.

“I’ve found my work as a Business Mentor with the BBIC finalists extremely rewarding and it has taught me to stop thinking like an educator and see the challenges from another angle,” says Abeer. “It’s given me an opportunity to share the knowledge and skills which I have gained during my professional career with young people who are trying to start up in business on their own. I’d like to think my expertise will help the BBIC finalists succeed.”

Ibtisam Al Faruji, Head of Marketing at the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates and organizer of the BBIC says: “Having mentors like Abeer has meant a lot to the BBIC finalists. She’s offered the support that any new entrepreneur needs - namely solid advice, a sounding board for ideas but more importantly a shoulder to lean on.”

Supported by Ernst & Young, Sanad, Intilaaqah, NCR, Infocomm and Oman Economic Review, BBIC runs a series of start-up workshops each year aimed at addressing issues related to business plan writing. “Once we’ve evaluated the competition entries and selected the finalists they undergo presentation skills training, this is where Abeer has been particularly active. The mentors we involve in the workshops need to possess business expertise, patience, a non-judgemental manner and a strong rapport with young people. Abeer has all those qualities and we’re delighted to have her on board advising the finalists,” says Al Faruji.

“I’ve got a lot of personal and professional satisfaction from mentoring the three BBIC finalists. Indeed, it’s given me a chance to give something back to the local community, that’s important in my book,” smiles Al Jasim.

“The BBIC finalists like to have someone to bounce ideas off and guide them through the tricky task of presenting their ideas. Standing up on stage and delivering a five minute power pitch to a room full of strangers is no easy task,” says Al Faruji.

Blog contents copyright © 2006 PEIE