Sas Centers Gear toward a New Tech-Savvy Generation in Oman
- Sas Center for Virtual Reality executed 4 short training programs and two intensive programs in 2019
- Sas Center for Entrepreneurship incubated 14 SMEs in 2019
- Sas Center for Mobile Applications Development trained 541 persons in 2019
The Ministry of Technology and Communications (MTC) launched three specialized centers to establish an inspiring space for Omani specialists and graduates from different Information and Communication Technology (ICT) fields. These centers are: Sas Center for Virtual Reality, Sas Center for Entrepreneurship and Sas Center for Mobile Applications Development. The naming of these centers “Sas” is derived from the local dialect and it means the base of a thing like a house or a building. This holds a significance for Sas centers as representing the base of developing skills and talents, and encouraging entrepreneurship and development in the ICT field in Oman.
Sas - Entrepreneurship
Since its launch in 2013, Sas Center for Entrepreneurship worked towards enhancing the ICT industry in Oman through encouraging and supporting technological entrepreneurship. In addition, it encourages and supports SMEs in developing their business to be able to compete at the local and international level as well as creating new products, innovative services, and job opportunities.
Since its launch in 2013, and up to 2019, the center incubated 76 SMEs that provided more than 400 job opportunities. These incubated SMEs brought in a total income of OMR 6,426,000 million during the period (2013-2018).
The ministry made several initiatives to accelerate the growth of the incubated SMEs in the center and in Oman. For example, it signed a cooperation agreement with Google Developers Platform to launch “Sas Accelerator.” This collaboration aims to achieve the following: accelerate the growth of SMEs through connecting entrepreneurs with a selection of the best accelerators around the world to exchange knowledge and experiences, and share available resources. Sas Center for Entrepreneurship will enable communication with experts from Google and realize the benefit from the company’s experiences and research related to establishing broad businesses, products and work teams.
Last November, the center organized Sas48 challenge in collaboration with Omantel. This challenge was organized to enhance the culture of entrepreneurship and encourage creative thinking in different ICT fields. The center also participated in the second version of the “Oman Science Festival” through several of its incubated SMEs specialized in astronomy and education like “Wathiq” and “Space Tech.”
Moreover, the center provided its incubated SMEs with several services since its launch like: Offering more than 4000 hours of consultation, 4 workshops on entrepreneurship skills, and 23 training workshops, participating in 42 local exhibitions, participating in 20 international exhibitions and taking 6 work trips to Singapore, Greece, Portugal, KSA, Qatar and the UAE.
Sas Center for Virtual Reality was launched in 2014 to become a regional center to develop the infrastructure for Virtual Reality projects and Multimedia contents for the local and regional market. This center aims to achieve several goals like:
- Providing a stimulating environment for VR and other related technologies
- Enabling young Omani talents in a variety of main IT fields presented by the center
- Enabling Omani youth in meeting the market’s needs and starting specialized SMEs
- Contributing to spreading awareness and finding demand for the technologies offered by the center in local and international markets
- Encouraging research and development in the VR field and bringing in new interactive technologies based on the market needs and global trends.
The center conducted a total number of 17 intensive training programs and 18 shorter training programs. 2019 witnessed the following 4 short training programs: Introduction to Photoshop, Introduction to 3Dmax, Introduction to Programming, and Introduction to Unreal engine. In addition, the center hosted to intensive programs on “Unity” and “3Dmax” which continued for 3 months. They also organized 3 short workshops for children on producing holograms.
Through its training courses, the program benefited 1043 people, 68 of them in 2019 only and 123 in 2018. In 2018 and 2019 20% of the beneficiaries were Male while 80% were female.
Moreover, Sas for VR implemented a number initiatives like training 36 Omanis in the VR intensive training program in 2018, and participating in 8 local events. It also collaborated with Roznah Company to train 181 Omanis in short training programs through presenting 12 workshops.
Last June, the ministry signed a contract with the Chinese company “Guangxi Chance Technology CO, LTD” to train 10 students who graduated from Sas Center for VR. They participated in an on job training on projects based on Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality for a duration of 3 months from September to November 2019 in the company’s HQ in China.
When it comes to the educational field, Muna Al-Shithani and Amira Al-Busaidi conducted a study on benefiting from Virtual and Augmented Realities in education. This research was conducted in relation with “Manfath” organization. The center also participated in the “Oman Science Festival” where it exhibited some educational lessons related to building electric circuits, and the center’s experience in using interactive stories. The center also presented a workshop during the festival on using the 3D Virtual Reality technology which enables the user in interacting with what this technology offers.
Sas Center for Mobile Applications Development was launched in 2016 to offer a high quality platform that contributes in developing national skills, talents and abilities and transforming their ideas into sustainable businesses.
The center offers services like training and consultation to SMEs working in the field of applications. Since its launch, the center presented three training programs, which are:
- The 3-month technical training that targets graduates, job seekers and employees.
- The 6-month on-job training that targets people who completed and excelled in the technical training and displayed a readiness to develop their ideas into products.
- The on demand training program (5-10 days) based on the needs of the trainees and a topic of their choosing.
The number of people who benefited from the offered programs reached 2453 people, including 541 in 2019 and 1066 in 2018. The data shows a significant turnout of female trainees in 2019 which witnessed 239 female trainees as opposed to 302 male trainees who attended the programs.