Omantel Innovation Labs to push innovation in Omani tech startups
Muscat, July 07, 2021 - Omantel, the leading telecommunications company in Oman and a key role-player in MENA, is excited to announce the launch of the Omantel Innovation Labs, which will contribute to Oman’s Vision 2040 and promote innovation and entrepreneurship in new and emerging technologies. Under this new initiative, Omantel will leverage its expertise, partnerships, reach, and access to technology to build a tech-based startup ecosystem.
The key focus of Omantel Innovation Labs is to cultivate entrepreneurial skills among the youth and accelerate the growth of relevant Oman-based technology startups across five technological verticals: 5G, Internet of Things, Cybersecurity, Customer Experience Technology, and Big Data.
Located in a 1100m2 facility at Omantel headquarters in Muscat, the Innovation Labs will organize, participate in, and host multiple activities to support the Company’s internal innovation agenda by providing systematic spaces, approaches, events and activities that can accelerate product conceptualization, prototyping, testing and deployment of solutions to Oman and Omantel-centric challenges.
“We want to support and tap into new ideas and technologies, stay ahead of the curve and drive local innovation. For this, we need to optimally deploy our resources and create an environment wherein caliber and opportunities match national digital transformation goals. Omantel Innovations Labs have been conceptualised and designed to fit perfectly into this ecosystem and aim to put the company at the heart of Oman’s emerging culture of entrepreneurial growth, knowledge sharing, collaboration and economic development through digitization,” said Talal Said Al Mamari, Chief Executive Officer of Omantel.
Omantel has been showcasing innovation possibilities with frontier technologies through numerous recent projects that add efficiency to operations and excitement to everyday activities. Omantel has piloted two major 5G projects in Oman’s transport and logistics sector that offer showcase the use of 5G infrastructure beyond network speed and efficiency but also bring more accountability and streamlining to port operations.
Omantel is enabling the Middle East’s first Artificial Intelligence and IoT-powered store. Soon, shopping at the Ahlain Store in Oman Oil’s filling station at Omantel’s headquarters in Madinat al Irfan will be a queue-free, cashless, grab and go experience. Omantel has also successfully conducted a 5G test using the mmWave, paving the way for enhanced user experience especially in crowded spaces such as during festivals and events. The trial has demonstrated Omantel’s ability to deliver multi-gigabit speeds with eight cell carrier aggregation functionalities and used a carrier bandwidth of 800MHz at 26GHz.
Keeping such developments in mind, the aim of the Innovation Labs is to build a platform that can generate use cases for prioritized technologies and facilitate an ecosystem that complements Omantel’s differentiating activities.
Registrations open for Omantel Accelerator
An off-shoot of this initiative is the Omantel Accelerator program, designed in collaboration with the UK Oman Digital Hub. It will be delivered in partnership with Oman-based regional accelerator OTF (Oman Technology Fund) and the global venture accelerator and ecosystem developer; Brinc.
The six-month program intends to de-risk innovative startups across multiple stages of their lifecycle. Startups will be guided through the myriad challenges in the highly competitive tech industry through mentorship, networking, and fundraising support.
Mohammed Al Rasbi, the managing director at OTF Accelerator, has expressed his enthusiasm for the project. "We are very excited about this partnership with Omantel. After accelerating over 100 companies in Oman, the Middle East, and North Arica, we have found that corporate partnerships are vital in increasing the growth rate of our portfolio companies".
Al Rasbi stressed the importance of having a carefully curated cohort of companies for the Omantel acceleration program. "OTF Accelerator will be assisting Omantel in selecting Oman's next top startups. We believe that having great founders is at the core of having a successful start-up. With our wide regional selection expertise, we are now eager to see that Oman's best entrepreneurial minds will be part of Omantel's Innovation Labs, and Omantel Accelerator specifically".
“The global pandemic has underscored the value of innovation, technology and connectivity to business continuity and economic growth, making collaboration a core requirement to accelerating their pace,” said Yasin Aboudaoud, Managing Partner and CDO at Brinc. “Wherever we go, there are tech game-changers that require guidance to support their journeys, de-risk their ventures and ensure that they continue to play an active role in solving local, regional and global challenges. Whether students, employees, or early-stage startups, we ensure that they acquire the necessary tools to succeed. We are thrilled to collaborate with Omantel to transform the region into one of the leading tech telecommunication startup hubs.”
The program is tailored to meet the needs of each participating startup to ensure that they commercialize, multiply, and scale effectively while providing the technical feasibility, market desirability, and financial viability of their products and operations.
The startup companies joining the program will be eligible for perks worth over USD 250,000 in cloud computing, legal services, accounting and other areas and the potential to gain up to USD 50,000 in investment from OTF. The program will also provide the startups with free desk space at the Omantel Innovation Labs, and to access to a network of over 100,000 investors, corporates and mentors.
To be considered for this opportunity, startups should demonstrate that they are developing proprietary technology that directly corresponds to or is dependent on one or more of the five program focus areas, that they are post MVP stage and are ready to scale. Earlier stage companies and technology startups in other industry verticals will be considered. For more information on the Omantel Innovation Labs and to apply online, please visit: https://www.omantel.om/Innovation
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Omantel is Oman’s leading telecommunications services provider with a mission to provide people, organizations, and businesses with unparalleled communication solutions, promoting efficiency gains and global scalability. Omantel strives to reshape ways of doing business while delivering a world of information and entertainment right to its consumers' fingertips. At the core of Omantel's technological innovation and creative environment is its intrapreneurial culture that enables employees to push the limits of what's possible. Omantel’s commitment to enriching the social and economic fabric of the Sultanate goes beyond its daily operations. With extensive expertise, global partnerships, and cutting-edge technology, Omantel is committed to promoting digital inclusion, entrepreneurship, and pushing the global innovation frontier.
Oman Technology Fund aims to put Oman firmly on the map of knowledge leaders in the Middle East. The fund focuses on supporting the Middle East and North Africa’s most promising startups, while also encouraging startups to launch their operations in Oman to enhance the country’s knowledge-based economy, and to develop the ICT sector in general.
OTF operations focus on curating innovative commercial ideas in the technology sector amongst entrepreneurs who have high-potential technological business concepts, within a geographic area covering Oman, the Middle East, and North Africa. The fund supports the ecosystem through initiatives that includes investment, guidance and cooperation.
OTF has three investment sub-funds. Early-stage investments are made through the “OTF Techween” fund. Pre-seed investments in more established start-ups are made through the “OTF Wadi” fund, whilst pre-series A funding is undertaken under the “OTF Jasoor” fund. Through making investments and providing extensive support to regional startups, OTF aims to position Oman as the preferred destination for national and international entrepreneurs.
Brinc is a different breed of venture capital and accelerator platform. Core to their business is the belief that some of the world’s biggest challenges can be solved by entrepreneurs, who they like to call GAME CHANGERS. Brinc believes that deep technology-focused startups can fundamentally change how we move, what we eat, how we feel and where we live for the better if they are given the right backing. That’s what Brinc believes they are here for. To support and mentor founders and their teams from across the world and provide investment to help them grow. Brinc currently operates eighteen multi-disciplinary accelerator programs across eight countries and has made 180+ investments. Learn more at www.Brinc.io