Microsoft deepened its commitment to supporting Oman’s economic vision, by using the second day of COMEX 2019 to sign memorandums of understanding with two organisations dedicated to strengthening the sultanate’s technology skill base and entrepreneurial spirit.
“Microsoft has long been committed to helping enterprises fulfil Oman’s economic vision,” said Sheikh Saif Hilal Al Hosni, Country Manager, Microsoft Bahrain and Oman. “Digital transformation’s power to engage, empower, optimise and reinvent is an important tool for entrepreneurs and their leadership teams. We must ensure that people with the right skills stand ready to take their places in the country’s digital future.”
Upskilling for future-readiness
Microsoft announced that it will work with nationally renowned training institute Oman Technology institute (OTI) a subsidiary of Oman Line to up skill the sultanate’s higher-education students & graduates in cloud computing, with a strong focus on artificial intelligence. Microsoft will advise OTI on the best partner fit for building training programmes that the institute will offer on its Learning-as-a-Service platform.
Oman Technology institute will focus on creating competitive, well-versed professionals who go on to bolster the nation’s digital transformation culture that is currently underpinning Economic Vision 2020 and Vision 2040. Microsoft will further support OTI by offering internships to certain trainees. The duo will additionally collaborate on the formation of a national professional-certification programme designed to formalise the skills of new professionals.
“Our partnership with Microsoft will allow us to offer a unique training platform to Oman’s technology-minded young people,” said Ali Al Hashmi, CEO, Omanline. “As we step forward into our shared digital future, the responsibility of educators is clear. Digital transformation is ongoing; and filling important skills gaps with competent professionals should be the goal of every training institute.”
Accelerating the start-ups ecosystem
The second MoU Microsoft signed was with Omani venture capital group, Phaze Ventures. The two will work together on multiple schemes to promote and accelerate the growth of the country’s small-business and start-up ecosystems. Microsoft will support SparkLabs Energy, a startup accelerator programme created by Phaze Ventures that focuses on ambitious digital disruptors in the energy industry that are focused on areas such as renewables, water management, Industrial Internet of Things, enhanced oil recovery, data analytics and logistics.
Additionally, Microsoft will assist with Phaze Education, an initiative that organises coding bootcamps, hackathons, and a variety of training courses, lectures and competitions for the purposes of offering upskilling in key technologies to entrepreneurs and start-up leadership teams.
“Like Phaze Ventures, Microsoft understands that the startup sector is the backbone of many a nation’s competitiveness,” said Abdullah Al Shaksy, CEO of Phaze Ventures. “We need digital disruptors to catalyse the energy sector and Microsoft is going to help us do that by injecting much-needed skills and mentorship into an already enthusiastic innovation culture.”