Arab Women in Computing & IT - Challenges & Opportunities
Women Entrepreneurs in the Arab World Experienceby @rchakakiMay 25 2013at NYUAD1Monday, May 27, 13I use a new version of Presentations .. in an age of shrinkingattention spans.. pictures speak a thousand words.. so here it is..in pictures..for all the reasons Rhoda, Sana and Nadereh listed.. I will startwith my role model.. but ﬁrst..
Contributions• Egypt -Reham Nasser - HP Enterprise Services• Jordan - Salwa Katkhuda - Oasis 500• Marianne A. Azer, - Assistant Professor, School of Communications and IT- Nile University Egypt• Palestine - Abeer D. Abu Ghaith - Stay Linked• Saudi -Badir Program - Noor A. Al-Abdulkarim• UAE - Zayed University - Dr. Manar Abu Talib & Dr. Muna BarachiMonday, May 27, 13Thank you to all who contributed.. Their perspectives on challenges helped formulate thepresentation.
Monday, May 27, 13This was my role model.. my grandmother was the one of the ﬁrst female gliderpilots in the Arab World. Her plane crashed, and after her recovery she ﬂewagain.Therefore I have a genetic bias towards seeing the positive. Consider this adisclaimer..On Sana’s recommendations, I have presented the collective sighted challenges.But I will state up front that I see them as opportunities and will presentexamples of how entrepreneurs in the region have tackled these challenges.For every one example there are 5-10 others that I haven’t presented..
Examine the narrative - the challengechange the way you look at things and the things you look at changeMonday, May 27, 13I’d like to suggest that our primary challenge is in our resistance to change ourperspective. I’m betting my career on it! There are challenges.. but there aresolutions to every challenge.My experience summarized by the next photo further solidiﬁes my commitmentto intelligent optimism.
Monday, May 27, 131 million dollars in a year in online fundraising, a 2 fold growth in theendowment while spending on treatment of hundreds of children and building acancer treatment center and a cardiac treatment center. Tech-enabledorganization & campaigning.
Monday, May 27, 131. Last year, at the conference, a speaker from AUB Opened my eyes to thisfact. The Killer of innovation in our world = CONSUMER CULTURE - we areraising consumers instead of producers with management experience..
Monday, May 27, 13You learn to manage if you start early and practice.. Management Experience.. in theUS, they are starting businesses as early as age 7.Here’s a business I learned about recently in the US.
Monday, May 27, 13This was started by a 7-year old.Started barakabits an online news source that enables youth to contribute content andbe creators rather than content consumers.
Intelligent Optimism - The other narrative - Good News from the Middle EastbarakabitshopefulaspirationalinspirationsintelligentspiritedsustainabletraditionalfuncreativehealthycollaborativeGOODinspirationscleanMonday, May 27, 13Reaching out to schools and universities to get contributions from students.before they get jaded, become negative and demoralized.
Monday, May 27, 132. Financial Acumen of Entrepreneurs was another reason sighted by researchers - Ageneral lack of understanding of investment.. Nima saw it as an opportunity
Monday, May 27, 13She educates people of all ages and social groups on managing their ﬁnancethrough a web platform and off line events. By engaging mainstream businesswith UAE Save Week and other activities on cashy, Nima created a “different”sustainability model for her company.. NO investors.. All sponsors.
Monday, May 27, 133. Access to ﬁnance is another challenge - only 5% successfully attained funding. Mostdo ﬁnancial Management by crisis, paying from their own pockets till they’re dry.Women Entrepreneurs don’t know how to ask without feeling shy about it
Monday, May 27, 13A network of women (some featured above) collaborate and created a WOMENCENTRIC INVESTMENT Network - The women entrepreneurs adopt andencourage a collaborative culture as well as ﬁnance others.
Monday, May 27, 134. GOVERNMENT & LEGAL - Navigating the legal system to license a business
Monday, May 27, 13Take the path of least resistance.. You are not breaking the law by starting yourprototype before you register. You only need the law when you start making money.The little Engineer founder - Rana El Chamaitelly showed us how to build ﬁrstthen structure. When she presented at the 4site forum in 2009, she didn’t havea business, but had already done a few competitions with schools. - LEGAL..To do that.. you need Gumption, perseverance, communication skills, relations with the media..
Monday, May 27, 136. MOUNTING SOCIAL CHALLENGES - inadequately addressed by society andgovernment. Social entrepreneurs.. trying to solve them with technology.They either view you as competition or don’t understand the sector.. eEducation,crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, gaming .. let alone any innovative devices are unheardof and don’t have licenses.
Monday, May 27, 13Ingy Ghuzlan is one of the co-founders of Harras Map.. like many other youngladies throughout the region, she is taking advantage of the perceived“Disadvantage”. She’s changing the narrative and using technology to do so..
Monday, May 27, 137, COMPETITION & Unattractive market for women - View that the market is Highlycompetitive.. when in fact there’s tremendous opportunity in green ﬁeld spaces
Monday, May 27, 131. Understand the competition.. WAMDA RESEARCH - why are girls opting out ofcomputing?2. if it’s staying at home.. then give them alternatives of working part-time, examples ofwomen who started computer business, worked from home..3. Who are their role models in the ﬁeld?
Monday, May 27, 13Dropouts are at the top of the ﬁeld! Great business role models.. they had valid reasons for leavingschool, our youth don’t know the reasons and circumstances.
Monday, May 27, 13Bring the private sector to universities - THE SMEs & new sector companies - Crosspollenate incubators - engage mainstream business with university with socialentrepreneurs and government in one go. Reaching out and connecting with Unistudents to solve problems in hiring.. and build capacity at a younger age.
Monday, May 27, 13Showcase workspaces.. this is GOOGLE’s space.. make it fun, and make itsimple.. and attainable.. this isn’t just for companies in high income places..this applies to palestinian territories and Irbil..
Monday, May 27, 13Glam sells! Not advocating that all CS women & entrepreneurs look like this,but these are people they aspire to be emulate. Make it look good for aspiringteenagers. Marissa Mayer. These are not the images of CEOs of tech companiesin the arab world, but some should be.
Monday, May 27, 138. COMPETITION & women not supporting each other.. - Unfortunately womenaren’t always supportive of each other in the work place, it all depends on thepersonality. says Marianne Azer Assistant Prof. IT & Comm. - Nile University -Egypt this was paralleled by research from the UAE (Anonymous respondent).Fact in some places, but can be inﬂuenced to change.. more importantly..
Monday, May 27, 13evident by the success of the online campaign for “intifadat almar’ah” a viralnetwork that is strong among arab women and their supporters..That’s one small example of a huge collaborative movement in the tech / webspace. We are connectors.
Monday, May 27, 13Other examples exist in SA, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain. We collaborate with womenacross the region who support us in proposals, grant requests, training andcountless other activities.. Grow the pie, and show how collaboration helps all.
Monday, May 27, 139. Language is a barrier for most of the population.. whether they speak arabicOR english and target an arab audience.
Monday, May 27, 13This time last year, we met one example of a solution for language barrier,there are many others relevant to the problems identiﬁed.
Monday, May 27, 1311. Salwa Katkhuda of Oasis500 sighted the following challenges in herresearch..Long working hoursTransportationBeing taken seriouslyWorking side-by-side with menStereotyping “weaker gender”Social restrictions “family roles” - is an issue imposed by families and witnessedby employees as noted by a participant in the UAE ResearchWorking outside the home.. this was paralleled by views from the UAE.. FatimaAl Dhaheri a network engineer from AD Marine Operating company.. “can’t go tooil drilling sites to do work”
Monday, May 27, 13Again an opportunity! for Jordan.. If lady-driven taxis exist in the UAE andsolve the transport issue for young college females, then the same can work inJordan.. doesn’t solve all the problems, but you see where I’m going.. there aresolutions to any problem. It’s a matter of perspective.Saudi and Palestine’s transportation issues are another story...
Monday, May 27, 13It is just not happening in Saudi.. Women’s mobility is limited. SO WHAT?
Monday, May 27, 13The book states that being isolated from their neighbors, economic sanctionsand immobility as the reason why their telecom, mobile and distance learningsectors have thrived.
highest consumption of youtube in the world is SAUDI - arabnetMonday, May 27, 1378% of the population penetration - saudi satire programs are all overyoutube.. started by women, funded by women, hosted by women. more can bedone..building channelsbuilding video related productsbuilding video related mobile apps
Monday, May 27, 13In Palestine the issue of transportation is huge. Entrepreneurs can spendhours a day on Qalandia and other checkpoints. They live in Isolationfrom Role Models, Mentors and sponsors. But also their business!67 women gave birth at the checkpoint in 5 years! Someone saw this asan opportunity..
Monday, May 27, 13Visualizing Palestine co-founder Joumana Jabri creates infographics from big-dataabout palestine social challenges and spreads them on the web using social networks.There are many like her.. so .. Support social entrepreneurs with technology. Help themsolve or shed light on our social and environmental challenges.
Monday, May 27, 13On the same issue of “hanging out at checkpoints” a conversation with theWelfare Association’s Youth Employment Services The Audibale Idea came up. -Masmoo3.com is out there.. If you’re stuck at a checkpoint, listen to a book onaudio. Get an education in the car. It’s not the ideal situation, but it is acreative solution.
Monday, May 27, 13Odeh Quraan who’s supported by the Welfare Associations Investment inEntrepreneurs didn’t ﬁnd information locally, and couldn’t travel.. online universitiesand open source forums. SELF Taught.. now teaching others.. because we have him inthe media spotlight.. team is 50% female
Monday, May 27, 1312. A “brick and mortar” investment ecosystem favoring tangible easily understood,and well packaged investments That coupled with A push to invest abroad - bankssecuring their investments in silicon valley rather than silicon oasis
Monday, May 27, 13• We must showcase the “Geek” community & culture - Arabnet is starting it.. but weneed more of it, a school levels, and more.. make it tangible.. Convince friends andfamily before seeking outside funding. use the media to reach a broader audience..
featured 120 tech entrepreneurs on radioMonday, May 27, 13This time last year I recommended we engage the media.. since then, we haveused our platform on the radio to feature nearly 120 tech & IT entrepreneurs
Monday, May 27, 13There’s a wealth of untapped stories.. and a starved media.. within 2 years wehad our stories on CNN, BBC, TED, Forbes, Grazia, MBC, The National, WSJ andothers.. ﬁll channels with
Monday, May 27, 13• Communication skills training, support & media platforms
GROWINGTHE PIEMonday, May 27, 13We have Startup nations and we have a wealth of opportunityto create companies in education, social, economical,environmentalThere’s a global trend to look at women different.. BCG sponsored a bookWe are not men who wear skirts! its a huge market... creating products bywomen for women..
Monday, May 27, 13Alexandra Tohmeh - founder of The Perfect ﬁt is tapping into the largestpurchasing market in the region with her eCommerce site after ﬁnding out thatVictoria’s Secrete success in the Saudi market.
Monday, May 27, 13Founders of Super Mama Yasmine. Mehairy and Zeinab Samir are takingadvantage of untapped markets and using their strength in numbers as acompetitive advantage
a global competitive disadvantageArab . Female . Scientist . Entrepreneur . Emerging MarketMonday, May 27, 13Change the narrative means looking at our “labels and challenges asstrengths”.. The media loves Buzzwords, labels, stereotypes.. use them to ouradvantage to gain traction..
Monday, May 27, 13This woman knows how to do it. She’s Arab - Female - Scientist - Entrepreneur - in a Green-ﬁeldThere’s a buzz around entrepreneurship globally... tap into it.Entrants into science are on the decline globally.. conservation and affirmative action efforts.Women + Arab and you got the media’s attention..The web is virtually unexplored.. as are opportunities for women businesses on it. Example Glambox,Dia,
developments & recommendationsIt is in the contemplation of power that you manifest this power.Monday, May 27, 13Focus on what’s going right and expand that rather than tackle the barriers. Examine success storiesand grow them..
Monday, May 27, 13• collaborate with Wamda and others - They’re helping women network across theregion..• SME funds across the region (MBC, Khalifa Fund, Others in BA, SA, QA)• Tap into business plan competitions - Dubai University, Dubai4Acumen, MIT, NYUADHackathon• incubators (SA, Egypt, LB, Jo)
Monday, May 27, 13• coaching & mentoring (mowgli, C3, Dulani, iConsult) Focus on Building RIGHT skills - Capacity Building - work/life balance..speaking in the board room, climbing the corporate ladder.. applying forresearch grants, networking, communicating in the media.. collaborating onresearch, Self-esteem & self-conﬁdence development.. you can’t do it alone.. and without money..
Miracles come in moments.Be ready and willing.Palestine Children’s Relief FundMonday, May 27, 13Social Enterprise Opportunity - GREEN FIELDSSee opportunity = not competition - Help existing organizations scale. Scaling the organization with arobust IT infrastructure in Palestine, using web tools, connecting to donors, building in-housecompetencies, big data analysis we see over 200 children a week in our medical ﬁeld work. we havehuge amounts of data on them.... medical research transformation to identify source and ﬁx root ofthe problem.
Monday, May 27, 13Welfare30 - Envisioned and implemented a campaign to celebrate 30 years of achievement creates astorytelling platform featuring hundreds of stories from Palestine and launching the association intothe digital age.The change in narrative and positive focus yielded the organization 1.8 million USD in an event whereexpected returns were 300k USD. The Key difference, the way they communicated. POSITIVE. Nowwe’re working with them to grow that success through online fundraising and an angel investmentnetwork for entrepreneurs in Palestine.
Intelligent Optimism - The other narrative - Good News from the Middle EastbarakabitshopefulaspirationalinspirationsintelligentspiritedsustainabletraditionalfuncreativehealthycollaborativeGOODinspirationscleanMonday, May 27, 13For the research, I ask you to simplify it, look for thepositive and highlight it, couple all challenges withsolutions. Thank you!
References• What the Arab Spring has done for women’s equality, in one chart -‐ h=p://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/10/25/what-‐the-‐arab-‐spring-‐has-‐done-‐for-‐womens-‐equality-‐in-‐one-‐chart/• Constraints and opportuniGes facing women entrepreneurs in developing countries: A relaGonal perspecGve -‐ by Dima Jamali -‐ Olayan School of Bussiness, American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon -‐ h=p://eprints.soton.ac.uk/176955/1/ConstraintsandOpportuniGesFacingWomenEntrepreneurs.pdf• Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa: CharacterisGcs, ContribuGons and Challenges -‐ h=p://www.cawtar.org/Assets/Documents/pdf/Women_Entrepreneurs_in_the_ME_Jun07.pdf• MoGvaGonal Factors for Female Entrepreneurs in the United Arab Emirates -‐ h=p://www.europeanbusinessreview.com/?p=7797• h=p://ﬁnance.fortune.cnn.com/2012/07/10/arab-‐women/• 40% of entrepreneur companies in Jordan in the last two years are women -‐ h=p://www.alhurra.com/content/itech-‐techwomen-‐usa-‐arab-‐women/222114.html• Empowering Women Entrepreneurs in the Middle East: Sowing the Seeds for Democracy Development post-‐Arab Spring -‐ h=p://heyitsamyontumblr.tumblr.com/post/33980681556/arabwomeninvestment• 3 Arab Women Taking over the InternaGonal Tech Scene -‐ h=p://www.entrepreneurlevant.com/3-‐arab-‐women-‐taking-‐over-‐the-‐internaGonal-‐tech-‐scene/• Other references: Good Magazine, Utne, Intelligent OpGmism & Barakabits• (AN photo) -‐h=p://www.arabnews.com/node/449664 • BCG -‐ What women want• Booz & Co. -‐ Empowering the third billion54Monday, May 27, 13