Omani sets up engineering lab to help students to develop projects
November 7, 2018 | 10:27 PM
by Times News Service
While Yumna Al Sharji considers herself blessed, the company still requires hard work and faces difficulties. -Supplied photo

Muscat: A graduate from the Higher College of Engineering recently started a company for other engineers and students, helping them find equipment and to even develop their student projects into something special.

Yumna Al Sharji and her colleague Bassl Koushak began Atoms Labs during the summer of 2018 in order to provide students and engineers with facilities to work in, as well as an online shop to buy specific equipment.

“Atoms Labs is our startup for supporting students and entrepreneurs in building tech in the 4th industrial revolution era and we do that by providing three services.

“First is an online store for internet of things components that students and startups might need.

“Secondly, we have a lab with all equipment that students might need for electric and programming projects.

People can come and use the facility for a month for just OMR10.”

“Third is a service in which we help students decide on a project and implement it, in case they become stuck with one of the related aspects of their work. We charge them around OMR5 per hour for this third service,” she added.

The idea came to Al Sharji during her graduation from the Higher College of Education.

Idea is important

“I am very interested in the Internet of Things. With the number of ideas I have and the experience, I felt that I needed to share my experience with people and my advice for people is to follow their passion without worrying about the need for huge funds. You don’t need large amounts of money to begin something. What you need is an idea and a start.”

While she considers herself blessed, the company still requires hard work and faces difficulties.

“I graduated in 2018 from the Higher College of Technology in Muscat. Most of my friends who graduated with me are still undergoing training periods and waiting for a place to offer them permanent employment. We are working 12 hours every day, from seven to seven, and designing things on our own such as business cards, the website, and old projects.”

“Our first issue was costumers having difficulties with online payments, which is why we teamed up with a company specialising in online payments, Thawani,” the entrepreneur added.

As comes with any pioneer, Al Sharji faced both criticism and support when she first began work on Atoms Labs.

She said, “When we began, people would tell me to give up because as a new graduate, this might ruin my chance to find a job more easily. People kept sending me job offers and openings. My parents, however, supported me in this.”

People began to ask about Atoms Labs services even before the company began work. According to Al Sharji, the company currently services students from various fields, and has begun to contract graduates from other colleges in order to aid them in helping students develop their projects.

“My advice is to have a clear plan before you start any business and start a budget so that you don’t face financial difficulties,” she added

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