Sunday, September 25, 2022 | Safar 28, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Spreading biodiversity and genetic resources-based innovative ideas

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MUSCAT: Mawarid (Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Center) of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, alongside with the Environment Authority, has organised a virtual preliminary workshop on Manafa’a 2021 Program.


The virtual workshop, led by Eng Abdullah al Balushi from Mawarid, consisted of a series of presentations in relation to the program and its objectives as well as introducing the 15 teams participating in this year’s program. The theme for Manafa’a 2021 Program is the ‘National Initiative for Plantation of 10 Million Trees’.


Dr Thuraya al Sariri, Assistant Director General for Nature Conservation, who is also the Head of the Technical Committee for the ‘National Initiative for Plantation of 10 Million Trees’, provided details during the workshop about the theme of this year’s program and what it entails. She explained that with this theme, the program aims to support this national environmental initiative, encourage innovative ideas that will contribute towards the embodiment of the initiative on the ground, and maximize its environmental, educational and economic benefits, through attracting biodiversity and genetic resources-based innovative ideas and transforming them into real creative economic projects on the ground.


Manafa’a 2021 Program is implemented within a strategic partnership with the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at Sultan Qaboos University and Falha Investment Company, and is sponsored by Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), SGS company and Oman India Fertilizer Company (OMIFCO).


Zakariya al Wahaibi, Incubations and Business Development In-Charge at the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre at Sultan Qaboos University, discussed the center’s incubation program and its importance especially in encouraging innovation and entering the market. Dr Salim al Wahaibi, Chairman of Falha Investment, elaborated on the different stages of business accelerator services provided by Falha Investment such as product testing and development, business model validation, establishment of commercial entity, intellectual property management, marketing assistance, providing specialized advisory and supervisory staff, communicating with strategic partners in the market and communicating with investors.


During the workshop, members of the previous winning teams of Manafa’a also shared their experiences in participating in the program, such as Ghadeer al Amri who shared the journey of ‘Rataq’, one of the winning ideas of last year’s Manafa’a Program, and how they benefitted from Manafa’a as well as their future plans. There were also presentations about converting an idea into a product, building an identity and marketing mechanisms that were beneficial to the participating teams for the upcoming stages of the program.


For the upcoming events for Manafa’a 2021 Program, the qualified teams will present their ideas for commercial products to the panel at the 48-hour Manafa’a Ideathon event on September 24 and 25th. The ideas will be evaluated on the September 27, and then five teams will be announced at a later date during the closing ceremony, and they will receive a financial grant of RO 2,000 to develop their products in incubators.


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