Shurkum10 Discusses FOSS’ Role in Entrepreneurship
The Ministry of Information and Technology organized today at Sas Center for Mobile Apps Development, the 10th session of Shurkum highlighting “the role of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in enhancing entrepreneurship.” The session was attended by Dr. Salim bin Sultan Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of MTC and a number of specialists from government and private organizations.
The session covered a variety of topics like the actual utilization of FOSS in Oman and its influence on the economy, education and entrepreneurship. Another topic discussed the challenges facing individuals and organizations that want to benefit from FOSS in Oman. The session also discussed enabling FOSS utilization in the Omani market and the relation between FOSS and Open Data. This session targeted different audiences like interested government entities, private organizations aiming to develop their business and different members of the public.
The session featured a number of speakers from different entities. The first speaker is the Dean of the College of Engineering at Sultan Qaboos University Professor Hadj Bourdoucen who talked among other things about the importance of FOSS on the society to provide development solutions in various fields. The Second speaker representing the Ministry of Technology and Communications is Project executive Khalil Al-Maawali who said that “Oman has been leading the field in supporting FOSS based initiatives since 2010 and is now viewed as FOSS-friendly country.” The third speaker is Dr. Riyadh Al-Balushi Assistant Consultant at the Ministry of Legal Affairs who commented on the legislative perspective by saying “there are no legislative obstacles facing the users who purchase these applications whether entities or individuals.” The final speaker is Mazin Al-Saadi who represents Mazaad a success story in terms of SMEs using FOSS. He said about the subject “Licensed programs are expensive, that is why FOSS is the saving solution for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) is an important economic resource that can create job and business opportunities due to the open nature of its code, its cost-saving nature and its availability. A number of Omani startups were able to utilize FOSS successfully which enabled them to become leading businesses in their fields. Some of the leading businesses today are like Mazaad which was established during the Oman Summer of Code Program organized annually by the ministry, eMushrif which expanded to the regional market when it reached the Kuwaiti Market and the Smart Developer Company which is incubated in Sas Center for Entrepreneurship.
It is worth to mention that Shurkum is an initiative that was implemented by the Ministry of Technology and Communications in 2014 to reinforce community eParticipation in the projects that that the ministry carries out. The initiative aims to achieve interaction between the Ministry and different segments of the society to listen to their opinions to achieve more transparency and positive effective participation, thus improving the projects, initiatives and policies of the ministry. The initiative started with open discussion sessions through which the ministry’s top management meets face-to-face with the different target groups of the community in order to take public’s opinions and suggestions. All suggestions and proposals are gathered to be presented to the management and based on which they take the appropriate decisions.