Archive for the ‘Featured’ Category

Al Jazeera Launches First Creative Commons Video Footage Repository

| January 14, 2009 – 7:55 am | comment 1 Comment

Last night, Al JazeeraAl Jazeera Network launched the world’s first online repository of broadcast quality video footage released under the ‘Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution’ license. Select Al Jazeera video footage – at this time footage of the War on Gaza – will be available for free to be downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcasted by users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgement to Al Jazeera.

The repository is available online at http://cc.aljazeera.net, and through it Al Jazeera will release its exclusive Arabic and English coverage produced by the Network’s correspondents and crews in the Gaza Strip, that should make it a key resource for anyone producing content on the current situation especially with the scarcity of news footage available.

This step makes Al Jazeera the first news organization to release its footage under the ‘Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution’ license which allows for commercial and non-commercial use.

Mohamed Nanabhay who headed New Media at Al Jazeera and launched the project stated, “As one of the only international broadcasters in Gaza, our coverage of the war has been unsurpassed. The launch of Al Jazeera’s Creative Commons Repository means that our Gaza footage will be made available under the most permissive Creative Commons license (CC-BY). With the flexibility of the license we expect to introduce our outstanding coverage to an even wider audience across the world. This means that news outlets, filmmakers and bloggers will be able to easily share, remix and reuse our footage.”

Al Jazeera Creative Commons Repository

Lawrence Lessig, the founder of the Creative Commons organization and Professor of Law at Stanford University, stated, “Al Jazeera is teaching an important lesson about how free speech gets built and supported. By providing a free resource for the world, the network is encouraging wider debate, and a richer understanding”.

Joichi Ito, CEO of Creative Commons and a world renowned Web 2.0 entrepreneur, added, “Video news footage is an essential part of modern journalism. Providing material under a Creative Commons license to allow commercial and amateur use is an enormous contribution to the global dialog around important events. Al Jazeera has set the example and the standard that we hope others will follow”.

DemoCamp Dubai 4 – Radisson SAS, Dubai Media City (Jan. 28th)

| January 13, 2009 – 8:10 pm | comment 2 Comments

DemoCamp DubaiThe fourth DemoCamp Dubai; the Dubai-based launch event for new products, technologies and companies; will be taking place at the Radisson SAS in Dubai Media City on January 28th at7:30PM.

This will be the first DemoCamp of 2009, and it is set to be held at the same venue and in the same room as the last time, the Al Nada Ballroom, 2nd floor in Radisson SAS hotel, Dubai Media City. Attendance is free, and everyone is welcome to join in.

A few interesting demos are already lined up for the event, but there are still openings for a couple more; So, if you’re going to be in Dubai around that date, and you are working on an interesting new web application that you would like to present, then just send an email to: contact@spinbits.com or leave a comment on the blog post announcing the event.

Startups and web applications presented at DemoCamp Dubai will also be reviewed here on StartUpArabia as usual.

Qatar Science & Technology Park Opens Registration For Next Investor Readiness Program

| December 13, 2008 – 6:42 pm | comment 3 Comments

Qatar Science & Technology ParkThe Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), has announced that registration is now open for its next Investor Readiness Program seminars.

Comprising five consecutive Monday-evening seminars starting 19 January, the free program focuses on how to become “investor ready” and raise finance. They are open to any Qatar resident that wishes to learn how to plan and build a start-up technology company.

Together the five seminars cover the full process of planning a successful start-up, from idea development through to raising capital and steering the company through its early years.  

Topics covered include:

  • Project selection, development & commercial evaluation
  • Building a management team
  • Business planning
  • Pitching to investors
  • Business development

The seminars and workshops are free, however places are limited and require registration. 

Those interested in attending can register online here: QSTP Investor Readiness Program Registration.

Report: MENA Advertising Growth To Double In 2009

| December 10, 2008 – 9:08 pm | comment 1 Comment

An industry report released by ZenithOptimedia, a media-buying arm of one of the world’s largest advertising firms, Publicis Group, says 2009 advertising growth for the MENA region will grow by 10 percent, nearly the double of this year’s expected growth rate of 5.8 percent.

Egypt should be a strong contributor to the growth of advertising in the region, with most of the gains coming from the GCC and the growing pan-Arab advertising market.

This stands out against a gloomy worldwide outlook, forecasting a 0.2 percent drop in advertising spend next year, with the North American market taking the worst hit, expected to decline 5.7 percent. 

Internet advertising is expected to grow 18 percent next year though, both globally and in the North American market, taking a 15.6 percent share of global ad expenditures in 2011, 5.2 percentage points ahead of magazines and 5.6 points behind newspapers. The gap between internet and newspapers currently stands at 15.1 points.

Reduced advertising budgets are expected to help boost internet advertising, which costs fractions of what it costs to advertise via traditional media, and offers advertisers a clear way to track audience.

The report also expects television to do relatively well in the downturn, making up a record 38.5 percent of global ad expenditure in 2010 and 2011.

StartUpArabia Launches Arab World Tech Events Calendar

| November 28, 2008 – 10:07 pm | comment 4 Comments

CalendarIn an attempt to provide Arab entrepreneurs and technology fans with information about the various events taking place all around the Arab world; that are related to technology, internet, entrepreneurship, investment and more; and that might be of interest to them; StartUpArabia has gone ahead and launched its Events calendar.

The events calendar can be accessed through the ‘Events‘ link in the menu above, where a monthly calendar displays events all over the Arab world for each month.

On the site’s sidebar, you’ll also be able to quickly find the next five upcoming events around the region.

By clicking on the events in either the calendar page or the upcoming events list, you will be redirected either to the event’s official website or to a local page providing more information on the event.

Another option is to add the event calendar’s iCal feed to your calendar software (iCal, Google Calendar, Lightning …etc), and have all events pulled automatically from StartUpArabia into your own calendars.

And finally, if you have an event that is related to Arab startups, entrepreneurship, investment, or technology; that isn’t already included in the StartUpArabia Events Calendar, you can submit it by following this link: Submit Event.

MIT Arab Business Plan Competition 2008

| November 24, 2008 – 11:55 am | comment 4 Comments

MIT Arab Business Plan CompetitionThe MIT Arab Business Plan Competition is a competition designed to encourage all entrepreneurs in the Arab world to start their own company and, ultimately, create a nest of leading firms in the Arab world. It also brings to the Arab world all the MIT expertise in entrepreneurship and in running such competitions.

The equivalent of the MIT Arab Business Plan Competition in Boston is called the MIT 100K Entrepreneurship Competition and has created a number of leading firms and thousands of jobs. 

Teams interested in joining the competition must register through the competition’s website. Registrations opened on November 10th, 2008. Users are required to fill the online application form consisting of 16 questions that summarize their business idea and the means of implementing it.
The deadline for submitting the applications is Thursday, January 8, 2009 at 23:59, Beirut time. 

The competition is open to all Arab nationals with a business idea, with the only requirement being to be part of a team, with each team comprising of minimum 3 individuals, of which at least 2 should be citizens of the Arab world. The business concept put forward by the team should also be implemented in a country within the Arab world.

The winner of the competition will receive prize money of USD 50,000. The check will be issued in the name of the company. The members of the winning team will also be given the opportunity to attend the MIT Global Startup Workshop (GSW)

The first and second runner-ups will receive a check of USD 10,000 and USD 5000 respectively. 

Besides the financial reward, the winning teams will be provided with coaching/mentoring from the members and network of the MIT Enterprise Forum who will also help the winners get their businesses up and explore further funding opportunities by introducing them to business development centers, financing institutions, and similar organizations. 

All entrepreneurs interested can go to the competition’s website and Apply Now.

MIT Arab Business Plan Competition

StartUpArabia Launches New Mobile Version

| November 20, 2008 – 10:08 pm | comment 16 Comments

Mobile StartUpArabiaStartUpArabia, your one stop shop for news and information about and related to Arab internet and technology startups and entrepreneurship, has just launched a new mobile version.

This new version, optimized for mobile devices, aims to enable you to quickly and easily access the latest news, articles and reviews while on the go.

Reader comments left on the different articles can be read as well, with the possibility to leave comments of your own.

This mobile version is accessible at the following address: http://m.startuparabia.com

Readers visiting the site at its current address using their mobile devices will automatically be redirected to the mobile version from now on.

The mobile version of StartUpArabia is powered by MoFuse.

Middle East Economic Slowdown To Boost Online Advertising

| November 19, 2008 – 4:28 pm | comment 6 Comments

The economic slowdown in the Middle East is expected to accelerate the growth of online advertising in the region, reported The National, as companies opt for less expensive web ads over pricey traditional media.

Advertising online costs fractions of what it costs to advertise via traditional media, and makes it easier to measure the impact of advertising campaigns. 

The market now accounts for up to 20 per cent of total ad spending in developed economies, and is the driver of virtually all growth in advertising spending.

On the other hand, spending on online advertising in the Middle East is estimated to be as low as US$50 million, translating into less than 1 per cent of total advertising spending, which is one of the main factors holding back the growth of startups and web businesses around the region.

Google, which has become a giant in the area of online advertising, and which has been pushing hard into the Arab market, say they are seeing faster growth in regional demand as advertisers look for ways to increase their reach while limiting their spending.
“In an economically cautious environment, people need to continue to grow their business, making people aware of their product while also cutting costs,” said Mohammed Gawdat, the managing director of Google for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Every technology adoption follows an ‘S’ curve: it starts slow, then grows exponentially, peaks and tails off,” he said. “The Middle East is definitely in the hockey-stick part of that curve right now. Our numbers show that it is growing at a tremendous pace.”

Mazen Halawi, the corporate sales manager of Ayna, an Arabic search engine, recently said that large corporate advertisers in the region planned to put a larger percentage of their advertising budget into online media next year, with some planning for almost 10 per cent of total ad spending to go to the internet, up from just 5 per cent last year.

Globally, total advertising spending is predicted to grow by approximately 5 per cent next year, driven almost entirely by the online market, which will grow by 15 to 20 per cent according to some estimates.

# Source: The National

Intel Capital Invests In Dubai-Based Startup Sphere Networks

| October 29, 2008 – 10:07 pm | comment 13 Comments

Sphere NetworksIntel Capital, Intel’s investment arm, joined Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) by announcing its investment in Sphere Networks, an emerging Dubai-based startup specialising in next generation network management software. This move marks Intel’s first investment in a company based in the Gulf region.

The investment should help Sphere to expand both its technology base, get access to Intel technologies and develop sales and marketing to deliver its products to market. The amount of the investment was not disclosed.

The startup employs a team of 26 people, from different backgrounds, in Dubai; developing enterprise level network management solutions, which are already in use with a number of government customers in the region. 

The investment, announced today by Christian Morales, Intel VP Sales & Marketing and General Manager, Europe Middle East and Africa, is part of Intel’s drive to expand its economic, educational and technology-related support across the UAE. 

Under this program, Intel continues to increase its investment in four key areas: local entrepreneurship, education, digital accessibility and specialized technical competencies, to help promote technology skills, knowledge transfer and jobs creation in the UAE. 

Commenting on the announcement, Morales underlined the importance of fostering innovative, home-grown ideas and noted that today’s news illustrates Intel’s ongoing commitment to collaborate with local players that share the vision of taking entrepreneurial projects to the next level of global competitiveness. 

(more…)

Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 17 – 23, 2008

| October 5, 2008 – 11:38 am | comment No Comments

Global Entrepreneurship WeekThe approaching week of November 17 – 23, 2008, is Global Entrepreneurship Week, a worldwide initiative aimed at young entrepreneurs everywhere who seek to generate new ideas and to seek better ways of doing things. 

During this week, governments and partner organizations from all over the world will host events ranging from invention competitions to local entrepreneurship summits - designed to inspire, connect, inform, mentor and engage the next generation of entrepreneurs.

The Week is a global initiative that is linking all those willing to embrace it. Host organizations in each participating country are recruiting partners and coordinating related activities. The exact type of these activities, whether online or face-to-face, is limited only by the imaginations of the partners and the participants. And while a list of suggested activities such as invention competitions, entrepreneurship film festivals, networking events, school-based activities, and local entrepreneurship summits – are available on the website, the actual activities conducted by partners will vary greatly.

And while it may be global in scope, at its heart, the Week is a local initiative that reflects the customs and entrepreneurial culture of each community. After all, what works in one corner of the world might be quite different from what works in another.

Some hosts and partners have signed up from a number of Arab countries to take part in this week, by conducting activities and organizing events. To check the hosts and partners in your country, apply to be a host, sign up as a partner or member, or add an activity; you can visit the official website: Global Entrepreneurship Week

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