The Industrial Innovation Centre (IIC) in Oman has launched its third Food and Beverage (F&B) Industrial Innovation Specialist Programme (IISP) of the year.
More than simply offering training in developing the innovative skills and mindset to make the most of the opportunities in this high-growth sector, IIC has designed the future-focused programme to be a launchpad for new Omani F&B products and businesses. In this regard, the centre will offer a selection of funding, development and commercialisation support options for up to 20 of the most promising innovative F&B ideas generated by participants.
Noting that the centre has made the F&B sector its main focus for the duration of 2019, in response to the opportunities presented by rising global demand for F&B products and address the challenges of food security, Dr Abdullah Al Mahruki, IIC CEO said: “Right from the start of this programme we are asking participants to think differently, to employ solutions-focused innovative approaches. We’re introducing them too to how the power of innovation can be applied not just to the development of new products and processing techniques but also to design, branding and packaging. Often overlooked, these important factors can give a product a competitive edge. It’s estimated that packaging, for example, drives 36 per cent of sales – that means it’s more impactful than television ads, online reviews and personal recommendations.”
Dr Al Mahruki added: “It’s inspiring to see that even in this early stage of the programme we are seeing some highly original ideas emerging and IIC looks forward to providing the support framework to turn as many of these unique ideas into prototypes, and then into viable commercial products. Indeed, we look forward to our programme graduates going on to launch start-ups and to seeing the prospects of existing businesses owned by IIC F&B Industrial Innovation Specialists enhanced.”
The CEO added: “Of course, every one of these ideas that is commercialised, every SME that flourishes is an achievement for the innovator or team of innovators behind it. But these aren’t just personal successes, they’re successes for Oman too, accelerating our nation’s diversification and its continued economic growth.”
Running until December, the F&B Industrial Innovation Specialist Program will divide participants into three cohorts according to their field of interest. The first cohort is focusing on plant-based food, the second will concentrate on animal products while the third will home in on beverages and liquid foods such as honey and syrups. Sessions will be led by teams of domestic and international F&B specialists from the IIC Industrial Innovation Ecosystem and include consultants from innovation experts Innovety. Modules will cover topics including innovation strategy, food manufacturing and packaging technology, food safety, branding, prototyping and commercialisation.
Amongst those taking part in the programme are existing and would-be entrepreneurs, food science, nutrition and business graduates, food manufacturers, and individuals already involved in Oman’s growing F&B sector. Programme graduates will be officially certified as Industrial Innovation Specialists by the American Institute of Innovative Management (GIMI), and receive diplomas from the World Packaging Organisation, the National Register of Food Safety Professionals, IIC and Innovety. - TradeArabia News Service