Saturday, October 10, 2009

Big Ideas Final

An SMS service, website templates and accounting software solutions make up the new ventures shortlisted for this year's TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition Final.

The TKM – Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition, the largest such competition in the region, has selected three potentially high-growth businesses, drawn from entries from around the sultanate, to compete on Tuesday 13 October at the Grand Hyatt Hotel for the prize of RO5,000 plus 12 month’s rent free office accommodation in The Knowledge Mine (TKM) business incubator based at Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM).
According to Ibtisam Al Faruji, KOM’s Marketing Director: “The three finalists are in the early stages of setting up businesses based on innovative science, technology or design.” The finalists are:

Abdullah Al Shuraiqi, Said Al Abri and Ghalab Al Abri of SMS Search Services; Hafidh Al Jufaili and Mafoud Al Jufaili of Twin Link; and Salim Al Mushaifri of Smart Accounting.

Finalist Hafidh Al Jufaili said: “I’m happy and excited about Tuesday evening’s final because it’s a dream come true. It's been fascinating to work with everyone involved in the competition. In fact, we hope to come out of the process with a budding business, so we’re feeling very positive toward the whole experience at the moment”

In the earlier rounds, entrants presented their business plans to an audience of experienced investors and consultants from leading local firms. They considered each plan based on three criteria: whether the plan identified a market opportunity that could realistically be met; whether the team offered a competitive advantage, should the plan become a business and simply, whether local investors would be prepared to invest in that company.

“Everyone involved in the competition congratulates and commends all entrants and finalists for their hard work throughout the competition process,” said Mohammed Al Maskari, KOM’s Director General (pictured).

The competition already has an impressive track record for creating new ventures. Last year’s winner, Mazoon Environmental & Technical Services, which develops environmental solutions for oil spills has according to Al Maskari: “had a fantastic 12 months.” Indeed, the company’s CEO, Rayan Al Kalbani will be the master of ceremonies at Tuesday night’s gala dinner.

The environmental entrepreneur said: “The competition gave us the training to prepare a top quality business plan which has been invaluable in our search for business and the prize meant we were in a stronger equity position than would otherwise have been the case. I’m very excited about Tuesday night, it’s going to be a marvelous event.”

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