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Oman creates USD200m ICT start-up fund

26 October 2016
Oman Investment Fund (OIF), a sovereign wealth fund of the Government of Oman, has created a USD 200 million venture capital fund aimed at supporting emerging technology companies across the GCC region, according to the Oman Daily Observer.

Speaking at the launch of the Oman Technology Fund (OTF), Dr. Ali bin Masoud al Sunaidi, minister of commerce and industry, described the initiative as an "innovative investment vehicle" that will help further grow the information and communications technology (ICT) industry not only in the sultanate.

According to the newspaper, the equity-based fund has partnered with three US-based venture capital firms, namely: Atlantic Bridge Capital, 500 Startups and Techstars Ventures to identify and invest in at least three high-growth tech start-ups within and outside Oman.

In addition to providing seed capital, OTF will also offer accelerator programs, which include mentorship, marketing support and business development to help ICT start-ups reach their full potential.

Shaikh Hassan al Nabhani, CEO of OIF, told the Observer that the fund was established with the goal of positioning Oman as a technology hub in the Middle East. Investing in ICT and the SME sectors are also a critical component in the sultanate's drive to transition into a knowledge-based economy.

Eventually, the venture capital fund hopes to convince regional tech start-ups to relocate their operations in Oman, which would give Omanis greater opportunity to work in high-value companies, the report concluded.

© Accelerate SME 2016

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