Tag Archives: Egypt

Events that will support startups in Middle East

Increasing access to the latest technologies in countries where the largest social group are young citizens, lets us hope that technological revolution in the MENA region will come. In countries where the main problem is unemployment, the best alternative for many young entrepreneurs is to develop their own startup. A significant proportion of women in technology industry in the Arab world shows that, in the future, it can have a positive impact also on increasing their professional activity.

Development of the industry and encouraging innovation in emerging markets is an opportunity not only for the local community. The potential of the IT sector in developing countries is increasingly perceived in the West. Interest in the Middle East and achievements of local startups increases due to significant success of projects undertaken in this region.

Nowadays, five years after the Arab Spring, the economy in the region is slowly stabilizing, and entrepreneurs who want to develop their own startup have more opportunities for business growth and success. There are numerous programs such as accelerative Oasis500 in Jordan or MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab, which currently runs recruitment for the ninth edition of the program in the MENA region.

In the Middle East they are also organized numerous international events, which aim to promote local projects outside the region, as well as integration of the market with Western entrepreneurs and investors. During such events it is possible to exchange experiences and knowledge, and to become familiar with achievements of local startups in the Middle East region, which has the potential to play an increasingly important role in the global market. In the last year, conferences in the Middle East were attended by: Mike Butcher from TechCrunch, Boris Veldhuijzen Van Zanten from TheNextWeb or Dave McClure from 500 Startups. It is worth looking at some major events in the Middle East, whose further editions will be held this year: Step Conference (Dubai, 5-7 April 2017); MENA Games (Beirut, April); ArabNet Digital Summit (Dubai, 16-17 May); Startup Istanbul (Istanbul, 6 -10 October 2017); Webrazzi Summit (Istanbul, October 18-19 2017); RiseUp Summit (Cairo, December 2017).

The main objective of the organizers of these conferences is to gather specialists who want to share their knowledge and experience. An important point of events such as ArabNet, Turkey Startup or Startup Istanbul is to present startups, whose creators throughout duration of the conference participate in numerous workshops and compete for the opportunity to present in front of investors. During the events organized by Webrazzi in Turkey, as well as RiseUP Summit, a conference on the latest technologies in Egypt, the creator of the best startups also has the opportunity to meet with the conference participants and present their ideas in designated areas at the festival. MENA Games, organized in Beirut, is in turn one of the largest festivals dedicated to computer games in the region.

The organizers believe that promotion of local innovations and projects in the technology industry in the Middle East is crucial for accelerating economic growth and consistently improves quality of life in the region. The stories of many successful local startups can also be inspiring for Western companies, who are increasingly thinking about expansion into emerging markets.

IBM plans to train 25 million Africans at its IT academy

IBM is going to train 25 million Africans in digital skills development during the next 5 years. The aim is help improve the level of digital literacy and expand capabilities of the workforce. IBM will spend $70m on the program which will cultivate skills for jobs in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence and the cloud computing.

The initiative is called “IBM Digital – Nation Africa” and it will offer a range of programs from basic IT literacy to highly sought-after advanced IT skills: social engagement, digital privacy, and cyber protection. Advanced students will study career-oriented IT subjects like programming, cybersecurity, data science and agile methodologies, and also business skills like critical thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

The initiative will be organized via platform that is based on IBM’s artificially intelligent system Watson. It will analyze several interactions that the initiative will have with it users to guide them to proper courses and help IBM enrich the courses to better adjust the topics to students’ needs. It will also gather anonymous info from students to further rationalize the service, and establish tips to help users better find adequate courses for them.

In South Africa 31% of people between 15 and 24 are unemployed. Other countries which are supposed to benefit from the IBM’s initiative are: Nigeria, Kenya, Morocco and Egypt. This will let to expand the initiative across the African continent. Africa will have the biggest workforce by 2040, so IBM is already setting the base to create a digital workforce. The company has been present in Africa since the 1920’s, and has a long history of partnership with educational institutions and assuring transformational solutions concentrated on ensuring value to higher education and its input to community.

The IBM’s initiative will be merited by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), which aims to promote market-driven ICT skills in Africa and the Middle East. IBM will work together with UNDP on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) skills delivery, certification, and accreditation. UNDP will cooperate with their network of existing government collaborations to develop the initiative across Africa.