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Over 200 business people and executives representing companies from every sector in Oman recently came together for an evening of networking at the Grand Hyatt Muscat, for the sixth annual Back 2 Business event.

The Oman American Business Centre (AmCham Oman), in conjunction with ABGO, BBF and EPBG, hosted the event, with event partners Grand Hyatt Muscat and Oman Air.

Attendees were joined by H E Marc J Sievers, US Ambassador to Oman, H E Hamish Cowell, UK’s Ambassador to Oman, H E Qais al Yousif and a number of other distinguished guests and Oman business leaders. The evening included a special address by H E Yousif, chairman of the Board of Directors, Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

H E Yousif discussed the lasting importance of face-to-face, real-life networking and encouraged the groups to continue such meetings, stating that ‘business in Oman is all about people’. He also shared about the great strides made recently in various sectors in Oman, including a huge leap forward in the fisheries and aquaculture sector, stating that although there were recent economic challenges, Oman has come through it all stronger and more resilient than ever.

Ali Daud, president of the OABC, said, “Back to Business is a chance for the whole business community to come together under one roof for some very real conversations.

Rebecca Olson, executive director of the OABC, said, “This year, the biggest change was that the invite was for members only, and it was still a huge event. Our experience is that despite recent challenges in the region, more companies are joining our membership now than ever.”

From Muscat Daily.

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Members of the Oman American Business Center were invited to a sneak peek of the newly renovated Al Bustan Palace on October 22nd.  The tour divided members into several groups and highlighted the brand new lagoon rooms and new features of the hotel.  Drinks and canapés were enjoyed during a special indoor and outdoor networking time at the Beach Pavilion, which features an expanded deck area.  General Manager Katrin Herz welcomed members and explained the new activities, weekly events and ongoing benefits for residents of Oman looking for relaxation or luxury ‘staycations’.

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This September, U.S. Chamber’s Middle East team worked very closely with the Oman American Business Center to revitalize this important organization in Oman which serves as the AmCham and the bridge between the two business communities. During the visit, Steve Lutes, Vice President of Middle East Affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, met with many key leaders to discuss ways to strenghten the U.S.-Oman business relationship, including Ministry of Commerce & Industry Undersecretary Al-Dheeb; the Head of the Public Authority for Investment Promotion and Export Development; and leadership from the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the U.S. Embassy in Muscat. In addition, the U.S. Chamber was proud to partner with U.S. Embassy Muscat and OABC to host a networking session with OABC’s members, which provided a timely opportunity for a discussion on the administration’s trade agenda.

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Pictured: Oman Ministry of Commerce & Industry Undersecretary Ahmed Hassan Al-Dheeb; Steve Lutes, U.S. Chamber of Commerce; Andrew Barwig, Economic & Commercial Officer, U.S. Embassy Muscat;  and Rebecca Olson, Executive Director, Oman American Business Center. 

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U.S. Chamber, OABC, and U.S. Embassy Muscat representatives meet with Oman Chamber CEO and his team. 

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U.S. Chamber, OABC, and U.S. Embassy Muscat representatives meet with Ithraa’s head of Investment Promotion. 

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Connecting businesses, people, and opportunities through exclusive events, the Oman American Business Center (OABC) hosted its first ever ‘Tech Talk’ in collaboration with Mercedes-Benz Oman. At the event, held at Mercedes-Benz’ flagship showroom in Muscat, CEO Lawrence Good spoke about the leading technologies in autonomous driving and electric vehicles, providing OABC members with a sneak peek into the future of mobility.
Rebecca Olson, Executive Director at the Oman American Business Center said, “Innovation is critical to the success of any company, as is the ability to adapt to changes. For many new technologies entering Oman, it’s not a matter of if, but when. Successful businesses are already getting prepared for what’s to come. At OABC, we provide a forum for the exchange of insights, information, and ideas with the hopes of providing the member companies with real, tangible opportunities for growth.”
Lawrence Good, CEO of Mercedes-Benz Oman said, “Mercedes-Benz is known for its innovation. Pushing the boundaries to create superior vehicles, we are constantly looking at ways to provide drivers with something that is more than just luxurious: a product that is also powerful and beautifully designed. It was a pleasure hosting the OABC members at our showroom and speaking to them about how Mercedes-Benz is looking to the future of mobility, inventing new technologies and making them accessible to everybody.”
On the local front, renewable energy within Oman is gaining traction. Earlier this year the country celebrated the installation of its first ever Electric Vehicle (EV) charging station as part of the Middle East Global Electric Vehicle Road Trip, which showcased EVs as a sustainable solution for drivers and businesses.

From Oman Observer.

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The Oman American Business Center launched the Discover America Festival, a month-long celebration of US foods and products in Oman, at a special networking event sponsored by Lincoln.  Over 150 businesspeople representing companies in every sector, enjoyed fantastic US foods from Lulu Hypermarket and US beverages sponsored by OUA.  US Ambassador Sievers shared about the full month of American-themed activities for the Oman public in October.

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People in Oman can look forward to experiencing and celebrating American cuisine and products through October under the Discover America Festival.

The festival, designed to highlight the strong economic relationship between the US and Oman, has returned for the fourth year. The official launch reception of the Discover America Festival 2018 will be on October 8 at the Hormuz Grand Hotel. The Oman American Business Center (OABC) will host this event for member companies, festival partners, and other VIPs, with special guest H.E. Marc J Sievers, US Ambassador to Oman.

Presented by OABC, in partnership with the US Embassy, the festival will feature over a dozen events, promotions, and activities across Muscat’s hotels and retailers. The event, planned in coordination with the 150-member companies of the OABC, will highlight regional American cuisines at themed events such as a Big American Brunch – ‘Taste of the American South’ – and an evening BBQ event with a movie screening on the beach.

H E Sievers expressed his support for the many upcoming events highlighting the strong commercial relationship between the US and Oman. “The Discover America Festival is a celebration of the strong brand recognition US products enjoy in Oman, almost all of which enter duty free under the US-Oman Free Trade Agreement,” he said.

Hotels across Muscat will highlight their American flavours and imported beverages from the US. “Members of the OABC, and especially the hotel members, have been planning very creative and unique events for Discover America,” said Rebecca Olson, executive director, OABC. “Many people don’t realise the variety of cuisines available in the US – we’re proud to help OABC’s member hotels highlight everything from Tex-Mex to Cajun foods this month, and hope the Oman public will come taste the many flavours and delicacies presented.”

After the launch event, promotions and discounts would be available to the public for the rest of the month. Retailers will offer sales and promotions on everything from burgers and ice cream, to scented candles and workout gear, said Rebecca.

“Some hotels have month-long special menus featuring American foods or specialty beverages. And as is true every year of the festival, Lulu Hypermarket will present a large display of US products, showcasing all of the many US brands the store has to offer,” she added. Events, discounts and other initiatives of the festival will be promoted via social media (@oabcoman #discoveramericaoman) and on oabc.org/discoveramerica

From Muscat Daily.

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Oman American Business Center (OABC) in partnership with Ernst & Young (EY) held a seminar to discuss and provide insights on the importance of preparing businesses for the Value Added Tax (VAT) soon to be implemented in the Sultanate.

The seminar welcomed OABC members, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and business owners. The EY team shared their expertise, while advising the attendees on the challenges companies face to become VAT-compliant.

“Understanding the impact of the imminent VAT tax in Oman is extremely important to every single one of our 150 member companies, from the largest corporations to SMEs,” said Rebecca Olson OABC Executive Director.

As Oman moves towards implementing VAT, EY experts, led by David Stevens and Alkesh Joshi explained various ways and methods on how businesses can ensure they are VAT-ready. They shared a number of strategies regarding VAT implementations, including recommendations for managing VAT compliance, addressing tax costs and how to avoid some of the pitfalls faced by other businesses elsewhere in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). There was an in depth discussion on the role of technology and how managing tax data is likely to be the foremost challenge in a VAT implementation project.

“While VAT is referred as an extra cost to consumers, in a broader sense it will play a crucial role in developing and strengthening a country’s economy in the long-run. It takes time for businesses to be fully compliant and these seminars are a great start to help them understand how to proceed,” said Alkesh Joshi.

Already in effect in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, VAT is part of a GCC agreement made in 2016 to implement the tax across the region affecting both consumers and the business community. Whether impacting how businesses purchase their goods, to selling to consumers, the tax is a new regulation for many organisations to familiarise with and prepare for.

From Times of Oman.

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The Oman American Business Center (OABC) recently hosted its annual Ramadan Iftar Dinner, sponsored by Boeing Middle East. Held at the Kempinski Hotel, the Iftar welcomed members of Adatee Hyattee, a Omani group of artists with various physical disabilities, and included an art exhibition of work created by local disabled artists.  The exhibition and Iftar are part of OABC’s continuing efforts to promote understanding and build bridges between communities.

Ali Daud, president of OABC said, “The Oman American Business Center was honored to host an Iftar dinner for members and guests, together with our partners at Boeing Middle East and Adatee Hyattee. We have been inspired by the art on display and by the skilled work of some of Oman’s most vibrant artists. Often as business people, we easily forget the importance of taking a break from our day-to-day busy lives, and the need to enjoy art, culture, and relating to members of our community face to face.”

He added, “We’d like to thank Boeing Middle East for their generous sponsorship of this Iftar. The company has always looked to highlight and support local partners, as they do throughout the GCC. We would also like to thank US Ambassador Marc Sievers for his constant support of the OABC and for joining us tonight.”

The event welcomed OABC members, executives, Omani artists, and distinguished guests including US Ambassador Sievers, and Bernie Dunn, President of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey. In collaboration with one another, Boeing and OABC sponsored 25 easels for the artists to display their work, in hopes of inspiring its Iftar guests through the power of the human spirit, creativity, and art.

Bernard Dunn, President of Boeing Middle East, North Africa and Turkey shared some words with attendees: “Boeing is extremely proud to be members of the OABC and we are excited to be part of this important initiative to spend time with inspiring artists that have not let their circumstances limit their creativity.”

Afrah Al Naabi, a member of the artists’ group, spoke briefly about her challenges in education and daily life following a terrible car accident during her teenage years.  She described how family, art, and the Adatee Hyattee community gave her new opportunities, meaning and hope amidst great struggle.

With over 140 guests in attendance, the OABC’s 26th event of the season was buzzing with activity and business networking. Still, the OABC not only prioritizes bringing the business community together, but values the participation and involvement from local members of the community, in order to provide its members with new and authentic experiences. Through this year’s event, attendees were able to appreciate more than the artwork on display— they were also given an opportunity to focus on the artists’ own determination; creating opportunity and beauty out of their personal struggles.