100 to 1,000 Innovation centre’s new training target

Muscat, Nov 19 – The Industrial Innovation Centre plans to train 1,000 Omani job-seekers on innovation, especially new ideas, on business or other projects, said Ahmed bin Hassan al Dheeb, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. They will be trained in phases. A part of the Public Establishment of Industrial Estates (Madayn), the centre is currently training 100 job-seekers. It has already finished training 100 people. The centre’s task is to encourage innovative ideas, especially in the manufacturing sector, besides assisting the manufacturing sector in transferring new technology for enhancing productivity.
The Industrial Innovation Centre, currently located at Rusayl Industrial Estate, will move to Knowledge Oasis Muscat once the new building is ready. The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working with the University of Sohar as part of the Tanfeedh.
“We are working with the University of Sohar to establish a professional Product Design Centre, which will function as a prototype facility as well as advance manufacturing workshop,” said Al Dheeb.
“If an individual/company has a new idea, they can come to the centre and see how their product will ultimately look like. This is where they can analyse and add a new dimension to the product.”
According to him, the centre aims at producing quality products in Oman and “reducing dependence on products from outside the country”.
The ministry registers all forms of innovation in manufacturing, information technology and other services.
A centre has always been there, but it has been named Industrial Innovation Centre with a renewed focus.

“When we speak of innovation, the important element is human. We need to guide people in executing the idea.”
“We always encourage our staff to be creative that helps the investor. One such creative solution is InvestEasy. All work was done manually earlier and it was time-consuming. Today it is online and it is easy. Within minutes, people are able to register their companies,” he said.
People can register through the portal, through sanad offices or legal offices for a licenc—e. More than 80 services are online.
“Statistics indicate only 20 per cent of work requires people to come to the ministry. Everything else is online.”
Licensing also requires links with other ministries such as Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Ministry of Manpower and Royal Oman Police.
“These entities will be joining the portal. Through this portal, investors can get direct answers from the ministry. Six ministries are connected and others will be connected within this year and the following year,” said Al Dheeb.
The Ministry of Commerce and Industry has eliminated lot of procedures, he said in regard to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). “We have a record of a company registering in less than two minutes.”
“In terms of guiding SMEs, Riyada plays the role of showing them the right way in addition to the facility of Rafd Fund. We also have three incubators — one belonging to Riyada, National Business Centre with PEIE and the third incubator in the IT sector under Information Technology Authority.”
These incubators provide not only offices but also financial/marketing advice.

Lakshmi Kothaneth