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College of Engineering, National University of Science and Technology holds Entrepreneurship Fair 2019

College of Engineering, National University of Science and Technology organised a two day Entrepreneurship Fair 2019 from 11 – 12 March, 2019 under the patronage of Dr. Ahmed Bin Mohsen Al Ghassani, Chief Executive Officer - General Authority for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises. The event saw representation from entrepreneurship support agencies and Higher Education institutions in Oman. Entrepreneurship fair is an annual event that was launched in 2013. This is the sixth Entrepreneurship Fair at the college of Engineering with brings together the entrepreneurship ecosystem together under one roof. Student Start-ups, staff mentors, students and the entrepreneurial community join together to celebrate the entrepreneurial journey. The department of Educational and Professional Development held the first Entrepreneurship Fair in 2013 as a college wide event but over the years evolved impressively to bring together policy makers and entrepreneurial ecosystem and the graduate start-ups. The objective of organising this Entrepreneurship Fair was to discuss ‘Entrepreneurship’ and SME development in Oman, provide a platform for students to present and defend their business ideas, enable students to showcasing their business (products / services), involve the community and the policy makers in strengthening SME ecosystem available to Graduate Entrepreneurs.

Each year the Entrepreneurship Fair has a theme in line with emerging needs. This year the CoE brought together the Graduate Startups under the theme “Celebrating Start-up”.

The programme was graced by the presence of eminent entrepreneurial support providers such as Riyada, The Research Council, Oman, Agriculture and Animal Research Centre, Oman, Shell Intallaqah, National Bank of Oman and SaS- Information Technology Authority. This august gathering provided a perfect platform for exchange of ideas and opportunities for discussion on challenges Graduate Startups face. Dr. Zahra Al Rawahy, Director, Building Innovative Capabilities, TRC gave an insight into the technology based opportunities waiting to be explored under 4th Industrial Revolution.

Ms Najwa Al Kindi, Director, Shell Intallaqah introduced Shell Intallaqah programme, and what it offers. She also reiterated the great opportunities created by 4IR and how, inspite of the prospects may not replace human beings as humans have specific emotional and social quotient that robots do not have. There is scope to create jobs that are specific to the needs of the world and bring socio-economic benefit to Oman. The Intallaqah programme offers training to build awareness/ideas, business plan preparation.

At the SME exhibition, Graduate Startups had the opportunity to showcase their products and services. 25 Graduate Startups participated. The winners of NBO Innovation Award, the PURVEX Team and the Winners of Injaz College Company BASKOM were felicitated.  CoE student run companies namely, Irecycle, Badaah and Electronika that has won competitions in Oman also participated. As our community CSR initiative, other SMEs from Oman were also invited to displayed their products for sale and networking. The SME exhibition was well received.

COE’s pride is our startups. Ahmed Al Balushi, Founder “Kash5kaful” and the youngest Omani Fashion Designer is an Alumni of College of Engineering, National University and Mr. Mahmood Al Lawati CEO “Blue Synergy” and alumni of College of Engineering, NUST interacted with the participants and shared their  journey in venture startup so far.

The day 2 showcased business talents by way of business idea competition and defense. Students presented eleven business ideas in the business idea competition either in groups or individually. They presented their business idea to a panel of judges comprising of members from entrepreneurship support organisations in Oman. The judges were Ms. Shifa Al Ansari from SME Fund, Ms. Maram Al Busaidi from National Bank of Oman and Ms. Matlooba Al Busaidi from Modern College of Business & Science. The Dean of College of Engineering, Professor Dr. Ahmed Hassan Al Balushi distributed prizes to winners and delivered the closing remarks. During his address, he remarked that students should be willing to make a difference and the willingness will make them great to create opportunities for others. He encouraged the students to challenge themselves, move out of the comfort zone, and be willing to overcome failures as failures teach good lessons in the end. The first prize was won Ms Samya Abdullah Ahmed Al Zakwani for her innovate business idea to develop a Smartstick for the visually impaired people to ensure safety while they walk/cross roads. The second prize went to the team IRecycle for their idea to develop concerted community efforts to responsibly recycle waste. The third prize was won by Amar Al Abdali for his business idea to develop electric scooters to help students and staff move across sprawling university campuses. The College of Engineering, National University hosts Entrepreneurship Fair annually and is open to other colleges and universities to participate. CoE is a proud winner of Riyada Award 2015 for “Best Entrepreneurship Education Initiative”.

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