TN-Emploi: A Resource For IT Jobs In Tunisia

| May 1, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

TN-Emploi, a.k.a La Tunisienne pour l’emploi, is a new project that was recently launched in Tunisia by Mahmoud Gourar, and that attempts to use a simple blog format to bring job offers and opportunities to Tunisian job seekers, with a focus on IT-related jobs.

Job opportunities are posted daily, organized by category, and tagged with keywords, to make it easier for job seekers to find the jobs that match their goals and skillsets better.

It being a blog, people can access these offers directly through the blog, through the RSS feed or by subscribing to the email feed.

Recruiters and companies can post their offers simply and for free by sending them to a provided email address.

The blog is in French only, and is quite an interesting resource for Tunisian programmers, web developers, database administrators and so forth who need a place where they can find focused job offers for their respective IT fields.

Even though most posted job offers are for opportunities in Tunisia, some others are posted for opportunities in France or the rest of Europe, for those who might be interested in working abroad.

# TN-Emploi.com

Do Arab Startups Really Need An Arabic Interface? [Poll]

| Apr 30, 2008 | comment 4 Comments

A new poll has gone live on StartUpArabia, you can find it on the first sidebar on the right or vote straight from this post.

This poll’s question is quite specific to Arab startups, and it asks:
Do Arab startups really need an Arabic interface?

Is it really a necessity? For each and every startup? No matter where in the Arab world the startup is from?

What do you think?

Feel free to further expand on your response in the comments section of this post.

Otlob, Free Online Food Ordering Service

| Apr 30, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

Otlob is a free online food ordering service that was first launched in Egypt back in 1999, and which has expanded to three other countries in the Middle East ever since: Saudi Arabia (Riyadh & Jeddah), United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Bahrain.

Otlob provides its users with the complete menus of their favorite restaurants, enabling them to order meals online easily and quickly; they can even add comments with their order if they need to be specific about certain details.

Users can also save their favorite orders so as to save time the next times they need to order the same meals, they can order from a number of restaurants at the same time, and set the delivery time of their choice.

Restaurants are organized by category and by the neighbourhoods they serve to, and their latest menus are available on the website for users to choose from.

The interface is very well designed, really simply and easy to use; and it comes in two languages: English and Arabic.

Otlob was developed by LINK Development, and manage by LINKonLINE, both subsidiaries of LINKdotNET, an Orascom company.

# Otlob

Is It Important For Startups To Have Blogs? [Poll Results]

| Apr 29, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

In the first poll on StartUpArabia, the question to the readers was:
Do you think it’s important for startups to have blogs?

The result of reader voting came out as follows:

- 85% of readers thought it is definitely important for startups to have blogs.
- 15% of the readers thought that it wasn’t really necessary.

Personally, I share the opinion of the 85% who think it is important: At the very beginning of a startup’s life, it’s very important for the project team to be in touch with users, to communicate on what’s going on, and what new features they’ll be rolling out; creating buzz around their project, offering a transparency that garners users’ trust and builds a sense of community around it; getting as much feedback as possible from the people who are using their service/product daily; keeping their ears as wide open as possible, being flexible to integrate any interesting new ideas into their original plans and having discussions with people on what they really need and how the product can better serve them.

A blog is certainly one of the best ways out there to do all the above, and build a direct connection with your userbase, helping you to develop the best-suited solution for their needs, which would clearly translate into happier clients, good word-of-mouth marketing, which also means more clients, and therefore more success for your business.

Muslim Heritage Images; Manuscripts, Artwork, People & Architecture

| Apr 29, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

Dubai based Muslim Heritage Consulting recently launched the world’s first Muslim history image library online.

The library, at MuslimHeritageImages.com includes manuscripts from the 10th Century as well as contemporary images of people, architecture and museum artifacts.

Collections telling the story of Muslim civilisation have been brought together from museums, archives and private collections across the world. Many images recreate pivotal moments in history such as pioneering early surgical work carried out in the Middle East centuries before similar treatments were available in Europe.

The images are available for sale as downloads or prints, and with specific usage licenses, mainly a single country and single language licence for commercial users, suitable for print and publication use.

Images are organized by category and searchable by keyword; and detailed descriptions are provided for each image.

# Muslim Heritage Images

Almost One Million Egyptians Have Broadband Internet Access

| Apr 28, 2008 | comment Leave a comment

In a new survey of connectivity among Egyptian urban households, titled ‘Egypt Households Telecoms and Media Survey Report 2008‘, in which the Arab Advisors Group sampled 700 households in urban areas of the country, the results show almost a million Egyptian households have access to broadband connections.

According to official figures from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, Egypt had 427,085 ADSL lines by the end of 2007. The Arab Advisors Group estimates that 75% of those are residential ADSL lines, and based on the survey results, 63.4% of Egyptian households share the connection with their neighbours, around 3 other households to be precise, which puts the estimate for households with ADSL connections in Egypt at 956,000 households by end of 2007.

The survey also showed that 81.2% of Egyptian Internet users preferred to browse Arabic language websites, and that Internet cafes remain an important connection point for many Egyptians, with 27.8% responding that they used Internet café services.

E-commerce and online transaction penetration remains very limited though with only 1.3% of respondents saying they have bought products or services or paid bills online.

# Source: ITP

Language Analytics Release Yamli API

| Apr 28, 2008 | comment 6 Comments

Language Analytics, the company behind Yamli, the really cool web-based tool that solves the problem of Arab users who don’t have an Arabic keyboard or who aren’t as comfortable typing in Arabic, by enabling them to type Arabic words out phonetically using English characters, and then converts these transliterations into Arabic characters, have recently released an API for the service.

Language Analytics previously released a Yamli facebook application that lets users plug in Yamli features into facebook textboxes for message writing. And now to further open up their service comes the API, which should be pretty easy to setup and integrate with any other service.

This is a great move from them, giving developers the possibility to tap into their technology and use it in their own platforms; Something I wish more and more Arab startups would start doing.

I also hear the Yamli team are working on a WordPress plugin to bring its functionalities to WordPress blogs; which is really cool, and something I was going to ask for when I launch the Arabic version of this blog.

The API is in beta now; If you’re interested in testing it out to integrate their functionalities into your own service, you can apply for an invite to the beta; and check out the API documentation.

Startup Tips Straight From The Entrepreneurs eBook

| Apr 27, 2008 | comment 2 Comments

A really interesting eBook I came across recently, and that is very useful for any entrepreneur, is the CenterNetworks Startup Tips Month eBook, that was published by CenterNetworks of course, and that holds hundreds of tips by a diverse set of entrepreneurs, all in one easy-to-print 40+ page pdf.

The eBook contains insightful tips from the likes of Andy Sernovitz, Alex Bard (goowy), David Weekly (PBwiki), Angie Chang (Women 2.0), Ben Elowitz (Wetpaint), Rachel Cook (Minti), Richard Anson (Reevoo), Jan-Joost Rueb (eBuddy), Craig Walker (GrandCentral), Benjamin Gott (Indistr) and many more.

You can download the eBook from CenterNetworks; here are just a few of the tips as an incentive to download and delve deeper into it, it’s really worth it:

“Make sure you think through why you are starting a company, what are your personal / professional goals and where you want your company to be in 5 years. It will help you make the right decisions along the way.”
– Alex Bard from goowy
“Business model should NOT be ‘get acquired by Yahoo or Google’ – generate real dollars and cents as early in the startup life as you can.”
– Angie Chang from Women 2.0
“Be clear on your market and how you intend to make money in it.”
– Rachel Cook from Minti
“Get as much feedback from people as possible – ideas are cheap, its the execution thats tough, so dont be too concerned about others stealing your idea.”
– Richard Anson from Reevoo

MBC iMatter, First Social Networking Site For Arab Women

| Apr 26, 2008 | comment 1 Comment

Saudi media giant MBC Group have made a new online move, this time aimed at Arab women, in the form of a new social networking site for Arab women, called iMatter, that was just launched a couple of days ago.

iMatter invites Arab women to join an online community tailored to their needs and that takes their specific cultural needs into consideration.

Like all the other social networking sites out there, you get to search for and befriend other users, join specific groups and events, post photos, vote on polls and discuss different topics in the forum section.
There is also an internal mail system built into the service, as well as a personal blog/journal feature.

The site isn’t just a social networking site though, as it also aims at empowering Arab women through their iMatter Achievements Awards program, in which women get to submit their entries on or more of four separate award categories: Art Matters (Pieces of art, poems, …), Community Matters (Outline of how to make a difference in community), New Media Matters (Ideas on how to maximize benefit of new media) and Entrepreneurial Matters (Business plan); and then get the chance to win prizes that could change their lives.
All entries should be themed around “Culture” or “Education”, or a collaboration of both.

An online magazine featuring articles on women-related issues is also part of the service.

The site was designed and built for MBC by UK agency Leftfield Digital.

Along with previously reviewed Twffaha, this new service signals a push from Arab businesses and entrepreneurs towards women-oriented services, in an attempt to empower Arab women, and help them reach their full potentials in community.
Both are great initiatives, and hopefully we’ll see more soon.

Twffaha, Job Portal For Arab Women

| Apr 25, 2008 | comment 22 Comments

Twffaha, a new service based in Sudan, and founded by Sudanese entrepreneur Ashraf Mansoor, has recently launched in private beta, promoting itself as the first job site devoted to recruiting women in the Middle East.

The aim of the service is to empower Arab women, and address the problem of women unemployment in the region, by providing them with an online job service geared towards their needs, and that contributes to their career advancement.

Twffaha joins a number of already established players in the region’s online job and recruiting market, although they’re one of the first who focus only on a subset of the market.

Upon launch the service will be available in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Oman , Kuwait, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Iraq and Yemen.
They aim to add more countries as the service grows and they get to scale their underlying infrastructure.

The user interface is in English only for the time being.

The service should be launching into public beta in June. But if you’re interested in trying it out now, just send an email to beta@twffaha.com with the following referral code: startuparabia included in the subject line. This offer is valid for the first 100 people who request invites.

# Twffaha

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