Muscat | 6th June 2016
Omran has concluded the final evaluation process to find the Omani businesses that will be qualified to operate at the new Souq Al Mina at the heart of Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront development, one Oman’s most ambitious infrastructure projects.
Over the past week, 180 local businesses and entrepreneurs, narrowed down from 260 that originally applied, have been invited to present their business propositions at a special exhibition at Omran’s headquarters in Muscat.
The extensive evaluation process, which is being undertaken by a committee made up of members of Omran, underlines the scale, ambition and importance that is behind the development of the new Souq al Mina.
Talking as he toured the exhibition, Fahad Al Hinai, Senior Development Manager at Omran, said: “The vision for Souq Al Mina is for it to be a world-class and interactive visitor destination for both locals and tourists. Therefore, it is imperative that the local businesses that are selected to operate there reflect and share our vision.
“When we initiated this process we knew that this unique opportunity would create a lot of interest in the local business community. But the sheer scale, creativity and quality of the SMEs that have applied to be part of the Souq al Mina project has been inspirational. It has given our committee a great impression of both the quality and variety of SMEs in Oman, and of the opportunities Oman’s tourism industry presents to the business community. When we started off this process we originally received 260 entries and, with difficulty, we narrowed this down to 180. Selecting the final projects is proving to be a real challenge but one we look forward to and we hope to announce the details of the final SMEs before end of June “.
The sheer scale and range of proposed projects and ideas presented by the SMEs has provided an excellent showcase of the diversity, creativity and talent that exists in Oman. Although the process is ultimately a competition, the atmosphere between the participants has been extremely positive and encouraging.
Nadia Maqbool, Architect and Director at 23 Degrees North, Lead Consultant of the Souq Al Mina project said: “It was exciting to meet the various vendors at the audition and witness their energy & passion for their craft and trade. They will be the soul of the souq inshallah”.
Badriya Al Siyabi, CSR Manager at Omran said: “The ‘Souq Al Mina’ competition is proving what a wealth of talent and entrepreneurship there is among the Omani youth.” Speaking about the various stakeholders that supported the competition, Al Syiabi said “This competition would not have been successful without the continuous support of our partners to whom we are very grateful: the Public Authority of Small and Medium enterprises Development (Riyada), the Public Authority for Craft Industries (PACI), The Fund for Development of Youth Projects (Sharakah), National Business Centre (NBC), Zubair Small Enterprises Centre and Injaz Oman.
Talking at the exhibition a number of the local entrepreneurs hoping to be selected provided their thoughts on the process:
“Although I am competing against these other SMEs, It fills me with pride and excitement to see so much local Omani talent in one place.”
“If you think about it, the Souq will essentially be the skeleton and the market will be the heart and soul, so it will be the responsibility of the SME’s selected in this competition to be that heart and soul of Souq Al Mina.”
The retail spaces will encompass 3,300 square meters of the new Mina Sultan Qaboos Waterfront, which is proposed to be 451,000 square meters. On completion the waterfront will be one of the region’s leading tourism destinations and a key proponent of Oman and Muttrah’s rich culture and heritage