The MENA region is rich. While the World Bank records the region as one of the richest in oil, gas, and other mineral resources, yet, MENA has made itself relevant in tech. Home to some of the world’s major players in technology, such as Dubai, Egypt, and Israel, it is also home to countries that are tech-striving. The aforementioned countries take the spotlight in funding, innovation, and VC population, but countries like Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Oman, and the rest are worth the critical look for tech development.
There are a few components that come together to make a scaleable tech ecosystem. While funding and innovations seem to be the surface of activities, it is important to note that components such as policies, entrepreneurial mindset, etc are foundational structures to a developed tech ecosystem. UAE and co have developed strong foundational structures to propel their ecosystem, in this article we analyze the foundational structure of one of the countries that are still tech-striving, in this case, we look at Oman.
Oman and Tech
Oman, a country that seats on the coast of the Arabian Peninsula seems to be rapidly developing its technology ecosystem. It has begun to invest in and promote the growth of its tech industry, with the goal of becoming a regional leader in the field. The government has created a number of initiatives, such as the Oman Technology Fund, to support local startups, and has also established a number of incubators and accelerators to help entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.
These are governmental responsibilities and the act of doing them is basic progress.
While the effort of the government is important for sectorial developments (in this case technology) there are other components that could hinder its growth. Population. Governmental Policies, Entreprural development, Internet penetration, and VC activities, can equally affect then tech-ecosystem growth, and we shall see their situation in Oman.
Economist, Adam Ozimek, in one of his publications verifies that the size of a population does have an effect on the growth and development of a trade ecosystem. In this case, the population size of Oman can be a hindrance when startup launching and expansion are considered.
When compared to other tech-game changes in the ecosystem Oman’s population is lower than average. In a situation where Egypt’s population is 109.3 million, UAE is 9.365 million and Israel is 9.364 million, Oman’s population is 4.52 million, this is as of the last census. With such growth, there is only an amount of success the ecosystem can attain.
While some ecosystems can scale regardless of population size, governmental policies have a significant impact on startup development within the nation. Oman has implemented a range of policies to support startups and entrepreneurs in the country. These include a range of tax incentives, access to funding, and support from the government. The government has also set up a number of incubators and accelerators to help entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground.
In addition, the Omani government has established a Startup Council to provide advice and support to entrepreneurs. The council also works to create a business-friendly environment and to facilitate the exchange of ideas and resources. In addition, the government has also launched a number of initiatives to promote innovation and entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial development is essential for the growth and prosperity of any country. It encourages innovation, creates jobs, and drives economic growth. Entrepreneurship helps to diversify the economy, as it encourages businesses to explore new markets and develop new products and services. Entrepreneurship also encourages investment, as it provides an opportunity for businesses to access capital and resources.
Entrepreneurial development is proven to encourage startups by providing resources, guidance, and support to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. These resources can include access to capital, business planning, and strategy, marketing, and sales support networking and mentorship.
While Oman has consistently tackled unemployment, the country is supporting entrepreneurial development as an alternative. Noting the importance of entrepreneurial development within its society, the government has been able to provide initiatives in that aspect, such as the Omani Entrepreneurship Program and the Omani Entrepreneurship Fund. These initiatives are designed to help startups succeed and to create a vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem in Oman.
Internet penetration is very important to startup establishment. Internet penetration is an important factor for startups because it allows them to reach a wider audience. This is especially because most tech startup solutions are internet and data-reliant, and will not function without this instrument.
As a tool, it also allows startups to access a variety of online tools and resources that can help them to develop their business. These tools and resources can include marketing, analytics, and customer service solutions, all of which are essential for any startup to succeed.
Data Reportal reveals that the nation has a 92 % internet penetration rate. This figure seems fair enough for a tech startup establishment. It becomes an aid for their solutions and links to their audiences.
According to research, there is a reasonable amount of venture capitalists for startups in Oman. Some of the most prominent venture capitalists in the country include Oman Technology Fund, Oman Investment Fund, and Oman Arab Bank. These venture capitalists provide financial support to startups in the form of investments, loans, and grants, helping them to grow and develop.
Also, there are a number of other venture capitalists in the country, such as Oman Venture Capital, Oman Investment Holding, and Oman Investment Authority, that are actively investing in startups in Oman. With such a VC presence in the nation, only a few startups were able to raise funds in 2022. This could also be because of the size of the ecosystem.
With each structure highlighted, it shows that the ecosystem has the potential to scale. The major set back that seems to stand in the way are population and VC activities. Regardless of the situation, some startups have been able to scale with the provided avenue.
Such startups will include, Wish Work, a software solution startup. Although it is gaining traction, it has only raised $50,000. Another startup will be Bon, a B2B Marketplace that provides a link between coffee shops and shop providers. So far the startup has raised Pre Seed Funding of $200,000.
With the available infrastructure established, Oman youths and startups are encouraged to be more active to have a more robust ecosystem. This will attract more international spectators and VCs, causing rapid development in the nation’s tech and economic situation.