Muscat: The Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) said that innovations play a vital role in the success of small and medium enterprises and start-ups, as there is real competition in these projects, which distinguishes one from the other.
These establishments see commercial works in terms of society. They work for technical improvement and simplification of the method of production and the reduction of costs. The innovation helps in achieving quality products, better methods and speed of services given to customers resulting in the trust of costumers and loyalty towards these establishments.
Eng. Khalid bin Hamoud Al Hinai, Acting Head of Intellectual Property and Industrial Design Department of the Intellectual Property Department, said: "Small and medium enterprises play a major role in economic and social development through their products and services which are required by the society. This is despite the simplicity and lack of complexity of their organisational structure, which includes management and operation together and does not require large capital, as is the case with large enterprises."
"They help in the increase and diversification of exports and in the gross domestic product, as well as contribute to the creation of opportunities for researchers from various levels of qualifications, particularly those who have the ability to think creatively and innovatively for providing excellent products and services. They also have the ability to solve problems affecting the economy in terms of trade, industry, health, agriculture, environment and other areas which contribute to the development of the society in a sustainable manner," he pointed out.
"This leads to the positive development of the business environment and the revitalisation of these establishments and their development and improvement, as well as their adapting positively according to the current changes to ensure sustainability and profitability," he added.
Stimulate the innovation environment
Al Hinai said that in view of a growing interest in the system of innovations carried out by the authorities concerned in the Sultanate and their efforts to support this system, the incentive environment for innovation in the Sultanate has improved. This led to the Sultanate's advancement to eight positions to reach 69th in 2018, from the 77th position in 2017.
He pointed out that the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, in late 2018, reduced the fees of industrial property services by 50 per cent for small enterprises, particularly in the area of patent of innovations and industrial designs. This decision was meant towards encouraging this category of enterprises and entrepreneurial projects and to stimulate them to spend on research and development to produce more innovations and provide practical solutions to problems, which appear in the products and services markets and the protection of these creations to ensure the achievement of financial returns for these creations and innovations.
Innovation contributes to problem solving
He said that innovations might be a solution to real problems, which has real value in the market. Something which already exists can also be improved and presented in a different way. The projects, which do not depend on innovations cannot grow and compete in an ever-changing market, which wants excellence and uniqueness. Therefore, many large companies disappeared only because they could not improve and innovate in their services. Other companies which focused on improvements and innovations in their services and products models expanded in the markets and grew.
Advantage for small businesses
Al Hinai said: "Innovation distinguishes small enterprises from other traditional projects. These establishments have the advantage of directly understanding their markets, requirements of the society and consumers. The repeated failures of many such experiments show that there should be innovations in the point of view of society. The establishments, which innovate using this approach, grow and expand and make huge achievements. Small enterprises can provide solutions or can find solutions to many problems in the market. They have the capability to analyse the situation, and re-work in the technical, productive and marketing skills. They can easily adapt to the ever-changing requirements of consumers."
Importance of protecting intellectual property rights
He said that the legal protection of intellectual property encourages creativity and innovation. This provides innovators a competitive environment and incentives for their inventions and creativity. The opening of the local market to international markets demands patenting of innovations for small and medium enterprises. This would ultimately contribute to the promotion of investment and the motivation of economic activities. The protection of innovations, in the form of patents or useful models and industrial designs, can enable small and medium enterprises to safeguard their innovations in the form of long-term non-material assets. This gives them the opportunity to merge with other enterprises to form larger establishments or sell and transfer ownership of these assets to achieve substantial financial profits and to use these profits in research and development or spend them on more sophisticated innovations in the market