HRH The Prince of Wales visits joint University and UKBI project

University news

Wednesday 03 April 2013

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HRH The Prince of Wales talking to two womenDuring his recent tour of the Middle East, HRH The Prince of Wales visited the recently launched ‘Sas Programme’ - an initiative developed jointly with United Kingdom Business Incubation (UKBI) and Coventry University to help develop ICT business incubation in Oman.

His Royal Highness visited the programme in its newly created business incubation environment located just outside Muscat in Oman. The Sas Programme is a recent initiative by Oman’s Information Technology Authority (ITA) and has been developed through a UKBI-led project with CUE Ltd as a major partner.

The programme provides business incubation specifically to support entrepreneurially-minded Omani nationals with ICT or technology related business ideas. It also aims to assist socio-economic development and establish a globally competitive ICT industry in Oman by 2020, by helping ICT start-ups become sustainable and increase their growth and global potential.

Accompanied by Dr Ali bin Mas’oud al-Sunaidi, Minister of Commerce and Industry, and Jamie Bowden, UK ambassador to the Sultanate, HRH was greeted upon his arrival by Dr Salim bin Sultan al-Ruzaiqi, CEO of ITA, Peter Harman, CEO of UKBI and John Latham, deputy vice-chancellor, Coventry University, and was understood to have been very impressed by the entrepreneurs he met, their creative ICT ideas and the Sas environment that has been created by the UKBI-led partnership.

Commenting on the recent launch and royal visit, Neil Hannah, business incubation director, said:

The official launch on March 12th was the culmination of a major international team effort spanning many months. To then have HRH The Prince of Wales visit so soon afterwards on March 19th was a tremendous boost for the incubating ICT businesses and the Sas team. His Royal Highness spent time talking to a number of our incubatees including a recent graduate, a couple of female entrepreneurs and a newly retired public sector employee turned business owner. He seemed to be very impressed both with our facilities and our approach to supporting the businesses.

Best practice business incubation processes are delivered including mentoring and a progress review process. The Sas Programme also provides business workshops and seminars, access to on-line and web based resources, entrepreneurial development and ready access to expertise from the business incubation team and local partners in Oman. In addition, companies have access to experts from UKBI and CUE Ltd and the programme’s partnerships wider global network.

The entrepreneurial development is provided by the Institute of Applied Entrepreneurship, Coventry University through the delivery of a tailored entrepreneurship accelerator training programme in Oman.

The Sas Programme is well connected to an extensive range of organisations in the education, government and commercial sectors. With a central hub located outside Muscat, this new and unique environment provides vibrant office and networking spaces, currently including eighteen flexible offices, spaces for meetings, networking, teleconferencing and entertaining plus hot-desking facilities and an access point for virtual or non-resident business incubation clients. Workshops and seminars are also delivered in a number of regional locations, enabling wider access to the business incubation services.