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.
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