Pact to support Omani tech entrepreneurship

MUSCAT:  Oman Technology Fund (OTF) and Ithraa, the Sultanate’s inward investment and export development agency, signed a forward looking Memorandum of Understanding on Monday. Capitalising on Ithraa’s commercial expertise and leveraging OTF’s peer-to-peer mentoring networks and generous financial support for tech entrepreneurs with ambitions to go global, the agreement is designed to enhance the competitiveness of Oman’s business ecosystem.

Speaking at the signing, OTF CEO Eng Yousuf al Harthy remarked: “OTF is firmly focused on establishing Oman as a regional tech location, connecting local talent and providing finance required to take fast-growing businesses to the next level. The fund is keen on enhancing the principle of partnership with the marketing authorities in the Sultanate to attract more investments in these technical companies, which aim to support economic diversification in terms of logistics, agriculture, food, industrial and other vital sectors in which the fund invests.”

He added: “Ithraa’s extensive experience in attracting investment to the sultanate as well as promoting Oman made goods and services internationally and OTF’s tech expertise will be a potent combination, helping Oman’s hi-tech start-ups stand out at home and in overseas markets. We’re excited about putting today’s agreement into action.”

Commenting on the agreement, Azzan al Busaidi, Ithraa’s CEO said: “OTF’s work is directly contributing to Oman’s growing reputation as a tech cluster one that will help nurture as well attract talent and investment. By developing a strong tech sector we can generate employment opportunities, jobs that offer good salaries and long-term, sustainable career prospects. And together we can nurture innovative in-demand tech services to add to our export offer.”

Ithraa’s CEO continued: “The COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique set of problems but new opportunities are emerging and they’re inspiring Omani tech entrepreneurs to think more freely, generating ideas that are already being put into action. They are focusing on areas large and small that we have either ignored or simply been unaware of. They are looking at and experimenting with how existing products, services and systems work. This is a process that will allow our businesses community to learn, move forward, expand and capture new market share. Of course, this more innovative business community will also lure further investment.

“Looking ahead, if I had to nominate one sector that will shine as we emerge from the pandemic, that would be Oman’s hi-tech sector – a sector that was already getting increasing foreign interest and investment attention pre-coronavirus. We have a wealth of ambitious tech talent in country and given this, I believe we will see a marked increase in the presence of Oman-made tech products and services in international markets in the coming years.”