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TKM calls for 'big business ideas'.

Byline: Muscat

The Knowledge Mine--Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition 2009, Oman's annual nationwide business plan competition, recently opened for entries.

The Knowledge Mine (TKM) is an initiative of the Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM), a technology park, home to several international IT companies, as well as high-tech start-ups. The competition is supported by Ernst & Young, a leading professional services provider.

The competition is limited to Omani nationals and welcomes entries from individuals, teams, students and entrepreneurs -- anyone with a good, innovative idea for a technology-driven business should think about participating in the competition.

The idea should be original or a significant improvement on an existing business.

The competition - now in its fourth year - has a top prize of RO6,000 ($15,580) and rent free accommodation in the TKM business incubator program.

Four free workshops will be held on KOM covering issues ranging from how to write a business plan, marketing your business, sourcing seed capital through to managing risk. These sessions offer entrants an excellent opportunity to learn more about the competition, the enterprise culture and what it means to create a start-up.

"If you are new to business and creating a business idea, you'll learn a lot by participating in the Big Business Idea Competition," said Ahmed Al Dheeb, under secretary commerce & industry, Ministry of Commerce & Industry.

"Entrants receive high-level feedback on their business idea and the chance to learn more about processes of business," he added.

"We believe that the competition is a highly-prestigious platform for successful new venture creation -- it offers entrants access to networks, training and valuable contacts, and it helps further understanding of the investment process and what constitutes a realistic marketable idea."

Majid Al Yaqoobi of Real Reflection, an e-survey company, and runner up in 2007 opined that the competition provides an invaluable opportunity for young Omani entrepreneurs.

"Real Reflection has attracted a significant amount of interest since we took up residency in TKM," he said.

"The competition provided the focus we needed to refine our business plan and strategy. The document we produced to enter the competition was a valuable starting point on which to build the broader plan for the company's launch. Our appearance in the 2007 final clearly raised our profile to a national level, something we couldn't have achieved on our own."

Mohammed Al Maskari, KOM's director general and organiser of the TKM - Ernst & Young Big Business Idea Competition added: "The quality of entries is high and our experienced judges are not easily impressed, so getting to the final is a significant achievement, and one which is recognized by potential investors."

The competition will close on August 10. -- TradeArabia News Service

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Publication:TradeArabia (Manama, Bahrain)
Date:Apr 30, 2009
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