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Promoting Economic Development via Entrepreneurship and Innovation: Oman and the U.S.

Date: November 1, 2018 - 9:00am to 4:30pm
Location: Arizona State University Student Pavilion, Senita Ballroom

Hosted by the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center and Arizona State University

Thursday, November 1, 2018
9:00 am - 4:30 pm
Arizona State University 
Student Pavilion, Senita Ballroom
400 E. Orange Street
Tempe, AZ 85287

This event is free and open to the public, however we ask you to register by clicking the button below.
Conference parking is available in the Apache Boulevard Parking Structure



Hosted by the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center and Arizona State University

9:00 - 9:15 am
Introduction and Welcome
Dr. Michael M. Crow, President, Arizona State University

Opening Remarks
Her Excellency Hunaina Sultan Al Mughairy,
Ambassador of the Sultanate of Oman to the United States and
Chair, Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center Board of Oversight


9:15 - 10:30 am
Session 1: Public-Private Partnerships towards a Circular Economy
In an atmosphere of both increased consumption and competition, linear economic systems are increasingly inefficient and deleterious to both the environment and the economy. In response, new circular economy initiatives are developing around the world to ensure the maximum utility and value is extracted from finite resources while transitioning towards more sustainable practices, both of which in turn foster a more robust economic system. A circular economy relies on public-private partnership. It necessitates a systemic shift that incorporates small and medium enterprises (Riyada), startups (RISN Incubator), and institutional entities (ASU and City of Phoenix) working together to generate economic and business opportunities.


  • Ms. Patricia Reiter, Executive Director, Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative, Arizona State University


  • Dr. Rajesh Buch, Director, Sustainability Practice, International Development, Arizona State University:
  • "Oman's Economy: From Linear to Circular;" Dr. Ahmed bin Mohsin Al Ghassani, CEO of Public Authority for the Small and Medium Enterprises Development “Riyada”
  • Ms. Ginger Spencer, Director, Public Works, City of Phoenix
  • Ms. Alicia Marseille, Director, RISN Incubator, Arizona State University



10:45 - 12:00 pm
Session 2: Developing Vibrant Entrepreneurship Ecosystems
Cities and leaders across the U.S. and globally are working hard to develop, support, and sustain vibrant entrepreneurship ecosystems as proven drivers towards economic growth and economic mobility. From greater Phoenix to Muscat, successful models and foundations of entrepreneurship ecosystems bring together economic development organizations and agencies (National Business Center), anchor institutions (Arizona State University), professional associations (BBB) and both private (Galvanize) and nonprofit community-based organizations (StartupAZ) to working collaboratively in support of entrepreneurs.


  • Ms. Ji Mi Choi, Associate Vice President, Knowledge Enterprise Development, Arizona State University


  • Mr. Brandon Clarke, Co-Founder, StartupAZ Foundation
  • "Growing Oman's Entrepreneurial Community;" Mrs. Malak bin Ahmed Shaibani, Director General of National Business Center
  • Ms. Kimberly Roland, Director of Entrepreneur Programs, Better Business Bureau
  • Ms. Diana Vowels, General Manager, Galvanize 

12:00 - 1:30 pm
Lunch and Luncheon Keynote
Dr. Sethuraman Panchanathan
Executive Vice President, Knowledge Enterprise Development
Chief Research and Innovation Officer
Arizona State University


Attendees are encouraged to visit the ASU Omani Students' Poster Session on display in the dining room


1:30 - 2:45 pm
Session 3: Advancing Industry
Fostering a dynamic business environment that attracts industry and economic growth is the challenge of cities everywhere. Cities across the nation and globally are navigating a shifting business landscape due to technological advances, especially automation and changing industries, while at the same time managing impacts to the workforce and citizenry in their communities. Who makes the decisions that help to grow and support economic vibrancy? Hear how cities are managing this new environment to not only leverage identified regional strengths and develop resiliency, but also drive towards a robust economic ecosystem. Economic development directors in particular have a wide-ranging role strategically managing change, in directing programs and resources, fostering partnerships, and connecting resources across communities. Hear perspectives on various successful models and best practices.


  • Ms. Megan Garcia, Senior Fellow & Director of Growth, New America Foundation


  • "Empowering Community through Open Fabrication Labs – The Innovation Factory as an Example;" Dr. Firas Al Bulushi, CEO of Innovation Factory for Research and Development
  • Mr. Micah Miranda, Economic Development Director, City of Chandler
  • Ms. Christine Mackay, Economic Development Director, City of Phoenix
  • Ms. Donna Kennedy, Economic Development Director, City of Tempe


3:00 - 4:15 pm
Session 4: Developing an Online Marketplace
Entrepreneurs face a myriad of challenges at the beginning of their business lifecycle. In their attempts to enter a new marketplace, what lessons can be learned and shared from global perspectives? Are there unique challenges to e-commerce in different global markets? How have commonly identified mistakes in developing startups contributed to failures and how can entrepreneurs, entrepreneur support organizations, and others identify startup methodologies to advance new products and services? The answers to these questions lie in entrepreneurial dialogue and collaboration both locally and globally, which will help to advance an ever connected, technology-enabled marketplace.




  • Mr. Tom Spengler, Chief Revenue Officer, Coplex




  • "From Social Media to an Online Marketplace;" Ms. Zuwaina Sultan Al-Rashdi, CEO of World of Handicrafts LLC
  • "Evolving Towards an Innovative Ecosystem;" Dr. Amal Al Abrawi, CEO of National Frankincense Products LLC (OLIBAN)
  • Dr. Heidi Jannenga, Co-Founder and CEO, WebPT
  • Mr. Bernard Moon, Co-Founder & Partner, SparkLabs Global


4:15 - 4:30 pm
Closing Remarks
Ms. Ji Mi Choi, Associate Vice President, Knowledge Enterprise Development, Arizona State University