Twenty students from Higher College of Technology have set a record of sorts when they launched a full-fledged start-up business venture from their college campus. As the company, Masaar for Marketing Solutions, gears up to roll out its first product, Easy Electronic Shopping System, the delighted team members share their journey.
They are in their early 20s, pursuing higher education in Engineering, Technology or Business Studies. They love to spend leisure time with friends, share personal thoughts with them, crack a joke or two and enjoy the fun-filled college environment. But what sets apart the 20 students – 10 boys and 10 girls – of Higher College of Technology (HCT) from their peers is their ability to think out of the box and work hard to fulfill their dreams.
Five months ago, they got an opportunity to sit together for the first time. They spent hours mulling about unique ideas that would change the lives of their fellow beings and explored ways to implement them. Being keen observers of their surroundings, they discussed about developing new technology that could transform their neighbourhoods. The sessions continued for many more hours and days. At the end of it, they decided to launch an all-student business enterprise from their college campus.
No one, not even their parents, took them seriously when they floated the start-up venture with a meager budget of RO 1200 and later registered it with the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. They sold shares to raise the capital. Each student contributed RO 24 to make 40 per cent of the amount, while the remaining 60 per cent was collected from external sources. The enthusiastic bunch of students had the will, so they found the way to make their dream come true!
They charted out a professional organisational plan before beginning their activities. Sulaiman Al Mahrooqi, a fourth year Mechanical Engineering student, has been anointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The youngest CEO in Oman began working closely with the team to ensure high quality deliverables and offer fast and reliable marketing solutions.
Everyday he meets with the Vice-President Mohsin Al-Zadjali and managers of all the six departments. He discusses new plans with project manager Suleiman Al Shaqsi, a fourth year Information System student in the morning before arriving at Production Manager and fourth year Software Engineering student Assim Al-Marhuby's class to check the different stages of product development.
Later, he shares his innovative ideas with Research and Development manager Saeed Al Shaqsi, a second year Information System student. Discussions with marketing manager Ghadeer Al Hajry, a fourth year Information Technology student, Public Relations manager Ahlam Al Alawi, a fourth year Information System student, Human Resources manager Hamad Al-Mahrooqi, Information Technology Higher Diploma student, and Finance Manager Hesham Al-Khanjary, a student in Certified Accounting Technician, follow whenever he gets time after the class hours. And he makes it a point to meet the entire team once in a week somewhere inside the campus for an open discussion. Besides, the team members are well connected through Masaar WhatsApp group, where discussions and knowledge sharing happen day in and day out. Little wonder, then, that MMS has been functioning like a well-oiled professional organisation, though they operate from within the college campus. Now, all of them eagerly wait for their first product to hit the market before setting up a permanent office outside the college premises.
They claim the Easy Electronic Shopping System (EESS), the first product from the MMS stable, is here to save the time of busy shoppers. "EESS comes in the form of a kiosk. It is designed and programmed by our production department. It is an innovative product that will help save the time of those who do not want to spend their precious time in shopping malls or supermarkets," reveals Sulaiman Al Mahrooqi.
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