Muscat: After an intensive day of interactive workshops and debates on the first day of Muscat Youth Summit 2012, the participating students learnt new perspectives on how to make an impact in the business world.
With viewpoints and inspiration from business owners who started small and managed to expand, as well as representatives from youth support organisations, the workshops challenged students to nurture their skills and creativity to design, develop and grow new ideas.
Sayyid Nasr bin Badr Al Busaidi, member of the National Youth Committee and one of the workshop mentors, said, "Motivating the youth to become influential adults is the key to long-term prosperity. The Muscat Youth Summit is a platform that will allow future generations to open their eyes to innovation and harness their immense potential to become leaders of tomorrow."
Louise Pulford from Social Innovation Exchange, a group dedicated to inspiring entrepreneurs and connecting them with the necessary resources to succeed, also took part in the workshop. She said, "Giving the youth of today the best start in business is the gateway to a brighter future. We need to create an environment where innovation can flourish and equip the next generation with the necessary skills to find their niche and succeed. The Muscat Youth Summit has brought students from around the globe to one of the most progressive and upwardly mobile economies in the world today. There is a lot of potential here and we have a responsibility to help shape the young minds to create bright futures."
A key component of modern day economics is the development of public-private partnerships and being able to generate interest and acquire funding for ideas and projects is an essential skill for future entrepreneurs. To that end, the workshops focused on the business fundamentals and students discussed how to write a business plan, identify target markets and figure out their competition.
By understanding new market trends and areas for potential growth, the students learnt how to build a customer base and market their business. The participants explored the facets of business start-ups and operations through interactive simulations, supported at every stage by practical advice from real-life entrepreneurs.
Jueun Choi, a participating student from South Korea said, "The Muscat Youth Summit is an innovative way to learn new things, meet new people and experience a new culture. I am lucky to have been selected to represent my school and country and it has been truly rewarding so far."
In addition, the workshops explored the benefits that entrepreneurial skills can generate, including developing leadership skills, budgeting and fiscal responsibility, marketing and communications skills and the ability to turn ideas into realities competencies that will help them excel in their careers.
Many of the students who had taken part in the last three years of Muscat Youth Summit have become real success stories and pursued their new-found passion within higher education programmes, community initiatives and other management roles.
Salim bin Mohammed Al Busaidi, a graffiti artist, said, "I joined Muscat Youth Summit three years ago as a student and I am here for the second time as a presenter to share my personal experience and passion for graffiti art. I am grateful to the Organising Committee not only for giving me this great opportunity to be here again, but also for transforming me. I have become a more confident individual equipped with the skills to express myself in ways that I would not have had otherwise. I am now a more active member of my community and have reached out to young people to teach them about this form of art and its benefits."
The next two days of the Summit will build on the skills learned on the first day and will see the students placed into groups to explore fast-moving industries and areas of high growth potential. They will learn the basics of developing and maintaining a small business as well as how to turn their nascent ideas into popular products through successful design, marketing and publishing.
The workshops will also focus on road safety and the need to raise awareness on responsible driving and also the need to increase walking and cycling infrastructure in Muscat city. Statistics indicate that one in five drivers will have a collision in their first year of driving and the 'Share The Road' workshop in particular will explore ways to make the roads safer for everyone while studying the causes and consequences of road accidents, in line with the UN's 'Decade of Action for Road Safety' project to develop safer roads and protect vulnerable road users.