March features Technology in MENA: Oman Entrepreneurial Jam

The Arabian Business Report identified the 100 Most Powerful Arab Women for 2012.  Unfortunately, only 4 women from the Science & Technology sectors ranked in the top 100: Hayat Sindi, Science (#9 – US); Dr. Hessa Al-Jaber, IT/Telecoms (#30 – Qatar); and Professor Ilham Al-Qaradawi, Science (#36 – Qatar); Manar Al-Hashash (#91 – Kuwait). PITAPOLICY does not know what is more disturbing: 1) top Arab women, who comprise a large portion of human capital in the broader MENA region are underrepresented in the Sciences & Technology; or 2) Science & Technology disciplines do not factor a large role in the sphere of power for this ranking. Either way, as related in October’s and November’s postings: globally, women are not well represented in science, technology, and other innovative fields. Hence, PITAPOLICY is breaking down the problem and focusing on the “T” in PITA (Technology) and will attend the 2012 Arab Net Summit in Beirut, Lebanon at the end of March.

The summit is open to technology professionals and entrepreneurs interested in utilizing technology in business. (Hint: Registration is still open!) To prepare for this funtabulous event, PITAPOLICY is VERY excited to announce that March will feature a Technology discussion piece every Wednesday and welcomes pita-consumers to submit their piece on innovations needed in business that technology could or should address. That means two things:

1) Contribute your essay or top ten tech practices
~March Wednesdays will give preference to engineers, technology gurus, IT specialists and web developers. They need not come from the pita-consuming region, but the pieces should apply ideas and recommend practices to some portion of the pita-consuming region. Send your piece to to be featured on March 14th, 21st, or the 28th–the day PITAPOLICY will be live-tweeting as @PITAPOLICY, attending the start-up competition, and interviewing participants!

2) Participate in Technology for Business Survey
PITAPOLICY will be conducting a 10 question survey throughout March. The survey will be posted at the end of this week and targets both technology professionals and non technology professionals who work in the Middle East & North Africa region. So yes, non Arabs are also encouraged to participate -Turkey, Berber speakers, Iran, Persian Speakers, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan and Pakistan included.

Oasis500 Concludes its 10th Startup Boot Camp
By: Arab Crunch

Jordan Amman based startup accelerator Oasis500 has concluded its 10th startup boot camp in collaboration with the British embassy in Jordan.

Out of 350 applicants 65 entrepreneurs where selected to take part of the boot camp 15 of those being from out side Jordan. The startups that participated covered a wide range of fields including commerce, online services. Mobile and digital content.

The boot camp provided entrepreneurs with training in a variety of fields, including marketing, investment techniques, pitching techniques, business model creation and market segmentation, attracting investment and how to approach investors.

Reawakening Oman’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Jam at the Entrepreneurs Jam
By: Sharifa Al-Barami
Originally posted on WAMDAME: Inspiring, Empowering, and Connecting Entrepreneurs

Oman Entrepreneur’s Network held their second Entrepreneurs Jam this past Monday at Mood café in Muscat. The event, designed to create open dialogue, attracted around 35 entrepreneurs, who turned up to “jam” about entrepreneurship and doing business in Oman.

If you’ve had the chance to visit Muscat, you’d agree that it is a quiet sanctuary with a laid-back atmosphere compared to its neighboring capital, Gulf business hub Dubai. But don’t be fooled by Oman’s apparent slow environment, where business meetings take place quietly in beachside coffee shops; the atmosphere at the second “Entrepreneur’s Jam” was charged with passion, excitement and a shared vision. You would have thought you’d stepped into a completely different market.

The event, spearheaded by the Oman Entrepreneur’s Network, which is organized by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, kicked off with an open dialogue on Oman’s entrepreneurial ecosystem from a grassroots point of view. A “Vent-Off” portion of the session highlighted entrepreneurs’ common concerns, challenges and solutions.

The “Vent-off” session is one of the most important aspects of the jam. Entrepreneurship can be a lonely place for some start-ups, yet an opportunity to discuss challenges can be what keeps them going. This is a key element that entrepreneurs in Oman currently lack, in addition to effective, efficient and easily located sources of information. (In fact, facilitating access to information is in fact a market need that could be a possible business opportunity for an entrepreneur reading this post right now).

One member of the community that came to share his insights was Anwar Al-Asmi, the founder and Art Director at RealityCG, a broadcasting, branding, and communication company that strives to provide an environment for creative works in an ’emerging marketplace.’ Asmi, who was United Kingdom’s International Design Entrepreneur of the year (IYDEY UK) 2006, and won an Emmy Nomination for graphics delivered on National Geographic’s Maximum Snake, is an active and hardworking member of the network, and never fails to sprinkle the magic dust of his creative thinking into the conversation, introducing the rest of the network to the effectiveness of utilizing Google Apps for intra-member communication and value sharing.

The session wasn’t all venting; within 45 minutes of the Entrepreneur’s Jam, the coffee shop was buzzing with optimism, inspiration and great tales of personal business experiences. A significant portion of the session was focused on ways micro and small businesses survive in relatively rigid markets, such as Oman’s. Most entrepreneurs present agreed that the secret lies in delivering a personalized and high quality service or product, made with passionate attention to detail for both the service or product and customer.

The Entrepreneur’s Jam may be a new and building community, but entrepreneurship in Oman is hardly new. Indeed, since as far back as the first century AD, Oman has been an international trading hub, a source of frankincense and home to the world’s ancient seafarers. Today, the sleeping beauty that is Oman’s entrepreneurial spirit is waking up, and take my word for it, she is one to watch out for.

Note: PITAPOLICY and Altmuslimah interviewed the Sharifa Al-Barami in October regarding her work in Oman and the challenges for female entrepreneurs. Sharifa is the receipient of Businesswoman Personality of the year award 2011 from the AlRoya Business Publication House in Oman, as well as member of the SME committee at the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI). Sharifa is an associate member of the Institute of Biomedical Scientists in the U.K. and she holds a Bachelors degree in Medical Sciences from the U.K. Driven by a passion to support projects that bring about cultural, social and business model transformation, she is working towards creating an entrepreneurial mindset that results in a culture paradigm shift through all sectors in the Omani Market. You can follow her on Twitter: @OmnEntrepreneur.


Filed under Analysis, Interests, PIDE (Policy, International Development & Economics), Technology

2 Responses to March features Technology in MENA: Oman Entrepreneurial Jam

  1. Pingback: Response to #MENA Women in STEM | PITAPOLICY

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