Muscat: Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) has partnered with the Omani investment group, Phaze Ventures, to set up a new platform to boost local energy start-ups and attract companies from around the world to the Sultanate.
The “SparkLabs Energy Accelerator”, to be hosted in Oman, is an intensive six-month programme designed by global business incubator group SparkLabs. It offers start-ups funding, a co-working space and mentorship to help grow their businesses, and develop cutting-edge products and services for the energy sector.
The Energy Accelerator also offers access to a global network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, angel investors and executives, and the opportunity to test the viability of early solutions within the real-world setting of PDO’s operations.
PDO’s Managing Director Raoul Restucci said: “Renewable energy presents an enormous opportunity for Oman. PDO is committed to playing its full part in helping to position the Sultanate as a regional leader and to develop the nation as a renewable energy centre of excellence and a technology hub.”
“We are already incorporating solar renewable energy in our operations and working closely with both academia and industry to promote, identify, develop and proficiently deploy key innovations and enablers. This announcement focuses on energy technologies and efficiencies and is another important building block in our Company’s strategy. We look forward to working closely with SparkLabs and Phaze Ventures to meet our shared ambitions for this country,” he said.
“PDO is keen to provide a platform that attracts entrepreneurs from Oman, as well as internationally to support knowledge transfer between start-ups, corporate partners and the government alike. It will keep PDO, and the wider Omani innovation ecosystem, close to emerging global trends, support local capacity building and establish a pipeline of high-potential investment opportunities in the energy field,” Restucci added.
“Our goal is to unlock the full potential of our region’s talent and youth through strategic investments, and work together with forward-thinking corporates, local governments, and international partners looking to add value in the region,” Phaze Ventures Chief Executive Officer and Co-founder Abdullah Al Shaksy said.
“We are incredibly excited about our roadmap for Oman, with the SparkLabs Energy Accelerator, in partnership with PDO, marking the first chapter of Oman’s future as a centre for innovation,” he added.
SparkLabs is the biggest Pan-Asia accelerator group, with accelerators in Korea, China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Australia and is bringing its experience to Oman, with the Energy Accelerator focused on scaling start-ups offering solutions to the future energy needs of the region and the world. SparkLabs Energy will be working with PDO and Phaze Ventures to identify and help scale start-ups from Oman, and supporting companies from around the world to expand in the Middle East via the new energy technology hub in Oman.
SparkLabs Group General Partner Eugene Kim said: “We specifically designed the Sparklabs Energy programme with PDO and Phaze Ventures to benefit from Oman’s drive to become a leading global technology hub for future energy needs and efficiencies.”
“We already have strong accelerator programmes in FinTech, the Internet of Things, Smart Cities and Agricultural Tech, and the SparkLabs Energy programme brings energy start-ups into the SparkLabs ecosystem as well,” he added.
“We are looking to develop Oman’s best energy start-ups, together with bringing some of the world’s most impactful early stage energy start-ups to the region, thereby generating a flow of information and innovation between start-ups, corporates and governments that will help transform the region’s energy sector,” he said.
The six-month programme will conclude with a “Demo Day”, open to investors, government officials, corporates and academics from across the world.