DemoCamp Dubai 3 – The Agenda

| Oct 22, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

DemoCamp DubaiAs previously announced, the third DemoCamp Dubai will be taking place at the Radisson SAS in Dubai Media City on October 28th at 7:30PM.

The following four demos will be taking place at the event:

  • Jawaker is a multi-player online gaming site that is dedicated to card games from the Arab world. 
  • Twffaha is a job portal for women, aiming to promote recruiting women in the region. (Previously reviewed here)
  • Untiny is a new service that given a shortened URL, expands it to retrieve the original web address behind it. (Previously reviewed here)
  • Industrials Directory is an industrial search engine and locator that provides one source for finding the exact product, service, or supplier and locate them.

The format will be the same as the first two events, with the presenters giving 10 minute presentations of their work, with 5 minutes for Q&A.

The presenters will also be available to answer any further questions, receive feedback and share some thoughts after the event.

Muxlim Wins World Summit Awards Nomination

| Oct 20, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

MuxlimAt the Mindtrek conference in Tampere,  Muxlim, an online Muslim social media community service, was awarded the World Summit Awards Finland nomination in the “e-Inclusion & Participation” category.

This award gives the company the opportunity to compete in the WSA 2009 with some of the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications.

Muxlim was founded by UAE raised Mohamed El-Fatatry and Pietari Päivänen in December 2006. The company aims to provide cutting-edge services to the Muslim-Lifestyle Market around the world. 

Muxlim WSA Award

The World Summit Award (WSA) is the global initiative to select and promote the world’s best e-Content and innovative ICT applications. WSA was started in 2003 in the framework of the United Nations’ World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) as a contribution of the Austrian Government to the global effort to bridge the digital divide and close the content gap. WSA activities include national contests and selections of best practice, a global contest held every 2 years and content-focused national and international conferences with exhibitions — the WSA Road Show.

WSA works to strengthen entrepreneurship within content industries and to bring about economic and cultural development through the creative use of ICTs. It supports the UN Millennium Development Goals of ending poverty, hunger and disease, saving the environment and giving a fair share to women.

WSA is an invitation project and a global activity for all who share the understanding of the crucial importance of excellent e-Content creation within the information society. Partners in over 160 UN member states are actively involved in WSA.

Muxlim founder Mohamed El-Fatatry is one of the speakers at SIME Denmark in Copenhagen on November 6th, and at The New Media Event in Dubai, taking place from 14-18 December. 

Muxlim

New Startup Job Vacancies On StartUpArabia

| Oct 20, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

A number of new job vacancies have been posted to the StartUpArabia job board.

The jobs available now are at a newly launched startup in Lebanon called Wikeez, that will be reviewed very soon here.

The open positions are all based in Beirut, Lebanon, and are as follows:

For those of you interesed in filling in one of those positions, click on the position of your choice to find more details.
And if you’re a startup operating in the Arab world and looking to hire someone just right for your startup, you can post your job vacancies for free at the StartUpArabia Job Board.

StartUpArabia At Gitex Technology Week 2008

| Oct 18, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

GitexStartUpArabia will be present at Gitex Technology Week 2008, that kicks off tomorrow at Dubai’s International Convention and Exhibition Centre, through my humble self, Mohamed Marwen Meddah.

The Gitex Technology Week will be going on from tomorrow, October 19th to Thursday 23rd.

If you’ll be exhibiting at the event or visiting, and you’re interested in having a little chat, just drop me an email at: gitex@startuparabia.com, I’d be glad to meet you.

I’ll be moving around meeting people most of the time, but will also be hanging around the Tunisian pavilion at Gitex between meetings, so you could also check if I’m there when/if you pass by.

If you’re in Dubai, not going to Gitex, but still interested in getting together for a little talk, please also drop me an email, and I’ll truly do my best so that we can set things up.

Blog Action Day: What Can We Do About Poverty?

| Oct 15, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

Blog Action Day 2008Today is Blog Action Day 2008, and the theme is ‘Poverty’, with thousands of blogs around the world making an organized effort to raise awareness about global poverty and ways to fight it.

Unfortunately, as much wealth as we have in the Arab world, we have even more poverty, with people in various Arab countries barely making ends meet, many of them living under the poverty line.

With StartUpArabia being a project covering internet and technology startups and entrepreneurship in the Arab world, I thought I’d try to tackle the issue of poverty from the point of view of what we in this Arab startup scene can do.

Entrepreneurs involved with launching new startups know how it feels to have to bootstrap, to have so little money for them and their startups to live on, and they know how much they have to rely on the community and their network of friends and family to get through the day and make things start to happen.

I’m not likening the early days of a startup to poverty, far from it, all I’m trying to do is establish an order of magnitude; if those early days were bad, then imagine what a person who is living under the poverty line, who has no hope of things getting any better, and who can barely feed his family to get them through the day feels. Definitely and obviously so so much worse.

And the thing is that for the solution, things point back to the community and its efforts as well as the best way to help. The community can help fight poverty through people lending a hand, sharing, giving back to the community, investing in a better future for everyone.

So, what can we do?

  • Well there is no lack of organizations and foundations in all countries of the Arab world that are dedicated to fighting poverty, through a variety of programs, and that we can support in several different ways or make donations to.
  • Startups by nature are a great way to create new jobs as they grow, choosing to hire the qualified person who needs the job the most, and giving them a way to enhance their income and cover their living is a great way to help.
  • Raise awareness about poverty through our different services and websites, and convincing people to play a bigger role.
  • Use online microloan service like Kiva.org, MicroPlaceProsper, Zopa, or GlobeFunder to help people around the world finance their small projects to get themselves out of poverty.

Finally, I thought I’d share with you a great list of 30 simple ways to battle povery with technology that I came across today and thought could come in handy and inspire some people on how they could contribute.

Up To August, 1.2 Million Dinars Invested In Online Advertising In Tunisia In 2008

| Oct 13, 2008 | comment 1 Comment

TunisiaAccording to estimative numbers released by Tunisian market research firm Sigma Conseil, that cover the first eight months of 2008, a total investment of 1.2 Million Dinars  (US$ 930,000) has been made in online advertising, a third of which is by the Telecom sector, followed by the Financial and Automotive sectors.

The study shows that Tunisiana, the private mobile operator that is a subsidiary of Orascom Telecom, is on the top of the list of online advertisers, followed by the Arab Tunisian Bank (ATB), TopNet (an Internet service provider), Hannibal Lease, ANG Consulting and Tunisie Télécom (Public mobile and fixed line operator).

In a previous study released in the beginning of 2008, Sigma Conseil estimated the total investment in online advertising in 2007 at only 2% of the total advertising budget in Tunisia which was estimated at 100 Million Dinars (US$ 77 Million).

So mainly, even though there was a 1% growth in online advertising in Tunisia from 2005/2006 to 2007, according to Sigma Conseil’s numbers 2008 isn’t showing that much growth so far in comparison to last year.

Yooyaland – Education & Entertainment For Arab Children

| Oct 12, 2008 | comment 1 Comment

YooyalandYooyaland is a Palestinian startup that aims to fill the need for creative educational resources for 3-9 year old children in the Arab world; providing resources that blend technology with an enlightening learning process, and utilize Internet as a medium to deliver across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and the rest of the world.

Its exclusive, original content is carefully created to stimulate the children and challenge their intellect; provide teachers with entertaining, educational material; and transform the home educational cycle by giving parents an ever growing library of resources ranging from Yooyaland’s interactive portal to worksheets, toys and other products.

Yooyaland delivers a rich variety of age-appropriate activities to each user, providing parents with the possibility to change the level of difficulty to each activity, according to their child’s pace.

It also focuses on the educational skills that are most important to the child’s development, including basic language skills, number recognition and mathematical thinking, critical thinking, spatial reasoning and logic.

The animations are based on flash technology and demonstrate effective use of e-learning methods such as dividing the content into few learning steps, examining the knowledge gained in each step, and interacting with the child to keep him/her playing online.

To get access to all the lessons and contents of Yooyaland, subscribers have to charge their accounts using one of the supported payment methods: Visa, CashU, OneCard and Yooya Prepaid Cards.

Yooyaland

Alia Abu Shmeiss submitted the Yooyaland project to PICTI (Palestine Information and Communications Technology Incubator) back in 2005, where it was then incubated for a period of 18 months, through which it went from idea to reality with support and consulting from PICTI.

PICTI then linked Yooyaland with Hadara, a member of Paltel Group, which launched it to the private sector, making Yooyaland the first case of a merger and acquisition from the incubator in Palestine culminating in transfer of equity shares in exchange of US$450,000 and an additional US$1Million of investment in the company.

Yooyaland 

Artwitter.com; An Arabic Interface For Twitter

| Oct 11, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

artwitter.comEven though there is an Arabic micro-blogging service called Watwet that is very similar to Twitter in functionality, a lot of Arab users have chosen to use Twitter instead, maybe because it has mostly become the international poster child for micro-blogging, or because most of their friends already use it and it’s just easier to follow the crowd. Anyway, many of these users choose to tweet in Arabic, but as the Twitter interface is in English, thus left-to-right, Arabic script which is right-to-left gets quite annoying to read through the English interface.

So Mohamed Al Rehaili, with the help of a number of other Arab bloggers and friends, launched an Arabic interface for Twitter that can be accessed at: Artwitter.com

Artwitter.com uses the functions provided by the Twitter API, to bring its main friend timeline, replies and posting functionalities through a simple right-to-left Arabic interface, without storing any user data on its server.

artwitter.com screenshot

The site is still in early beta, and it’s still not possible to view a certain user’s timeline or search for tweets, but I’m guessing these functionalities will be implemented soon enough, especially if the service finds success between Arab Twitter users.

Artwitter.com

Forum Nokia North Africa Road Show (October 13 – 19)

| Oct 10, 2008 | comment 1 Comment

Forum NokiaForum Nokia, Nokia’s global developer program, which has built a mobile development community with more than 3.5 Million registrants, making it one of the biggest in the world, will kick off its first ever Road show in North Africa, passing through Casablanca, Algiers and Tunis from the 13th to the 19th of October.

The event will be conducted by the Forum Nokia business development management team, who will be meeting startups, SMEs, established firms, operators and developers from the three countries.

Forum Nokia will also be participating in the Mobile Monday Morocco event at the Casablanca TechnoPark on Monday, October 13th.

The Road show’s main purpose is to reach out to the local mobile application developer community in the region and stimulate innovation on top of the advanced Nokia mobile platform. The road show will be a unique opportunity for the local developers and universities to see the best technology and business platforms that Forum Nokia provides. They will also get a better understanding of the potential market and the great business opportunities for their innovative mobile applications thanks to Nokia’s large consumer base locally and globally.

Through Forum Nokia, local developers and universities have access to Nokia’s large developer community’s knowledge and expertise; they are connected to tools, technical information, support and distribution channels they can use to build and market applications around the globe.

From offices in the U.S., Europe, Japan, China, India and Singapore, Forum Nokia provides technical and business development support to developers and operators to assist them in achieving their goal of successfully launching applications and services to consumers and enterprises.

Internet Advertising In Algeria Shows 300% Growth In Q3 2008

| Oct 9, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

AlgeriaAlgeria has recorded a 300% increase in internet advertising during the third quarter of this year, compared to the same period of 2007, reports Algerian daily Le Quotidien d’Oran. This large increase is estimated at 18.6 million Algerian Dinars (US$300,500), compared to only 22 million Algerian Dinars (US$355,500) in an annual spending last year.

The Internet has become one of the main media channels used by the 59 identified advertisers across the country who have found it to be a profitable and inexpensive market, that helps them target specific potential customers.

Algeria has not reached the level of other countries in the area of online advertising yet, but it’s on its way as more major advertisers increasingly choose to explore online advertising with small budgets, pending national ADSL deployment and further development of the local content industry.

To better understand this strong increase in online advertising spending in Algeria, Med & Com, the leading online marketing agency in the country, conducted a study on fifty Algerian sites. The results revealed that the holy month of Ramadan saw a peak in online advertising, registering a record of almost 8.5 million Algerian Dinars (US$ 137,365), with 81 campaigns launched by 40 brands.

The report also reveals a strong presence for the automotive, mobile telephony and ICT sectors; The automotive sector through 17 advertisers covered 27% of the online advertising spend, closely followed by ICT and technology services companies with 22%, through 14 advertisers. The communication and web publishing sector accounts for 15% of the total spend, real esate for 8%, as air travel, food and tourism cover 3% each, leaving 14% for other sectors. 

Always according to the Med & Com report, press and news portals are increasinly attracting more and more advertisers, taking in 31% of the total online advertising spend. Professional sites get 18%, automotive related sites 17%, Youth and leisure sites another 17%, sport and football sites 11%, and mobile and ICT related sites 7%.

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