The booming startups are changing the Arab world

Business Contributor
Today's Focus
Photo : Dreamstime

Across the Middle East in recent times, young educated, and energetic men and women have started to build new products. They have initiated new companies. It has inspired hopeful words going round to replicate the startup scenes that boomed in Europe and America. In short, entrepreneurship is booming across the Middle East and North Africa.

In 2018 and 2019, nearly 900 million dollars were invested in more than 386 deals. It was an increase in total funding of 2017 by 31%. This report was released by World Economic Forum.

From Cosmetics and antibodies manufactured from camel milk to glasses that help visually impaired people to live independently, Arab startups are actually shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution in the world.

Mirek Dusek, Deputy Head of the Centre for Geopolitical and Regional Affairs at the World Economic Forum, says: “The Arab world will need its private sector to address youth unemployment, the current skills gap for the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the inclusion of women in the workforce.

Here is a list of some potentially promising startups that are helping the Arab world to flourish and live their own dreams.

1. The startup called Careem (UAE):

This is an app-based car service which helps the common man to travel safely and on a low budget. It was valued at more than One billion dollar after Uber purchased it for 3.1 Billion Dollar. It is now operating in more than 120 cities in 15 countries in the world. The service can be seen in UAE, Bahrain and Morocco. The cars are driven by the drivers called ‘captains’ and they follow strict respect for the passengers.

2. The startup called Amal Glass (UAE):

These glasses have artificial intelligence that can detect colours, read Arabic and English. Moreover, it can help the wearer in navigation using GPS. These glasses also help blind and visually impaired people to live freely.

Mohammed Islam, who is the founder, discovered these glasses after eight years of research. Now it is planned to add another 14 languages to the glasses.

3. The startup treating acne with camel milk, MonoJo (Jordan):

This company was started in the year 2005 by Penelope Shihab. She is a bioscientist from Jordan. Her company created skincare products that treat acne and cure digestive infections using antibodies from camel milk. Not only that, Shihab won the EY’s Jordan Emerging Entrepreneur of the year in 2014. She hopes, her success will encourage more Muslim women to take up careers in science.

4. The app which predicts traffic accidents, Derq (UAE):

The app Derq wanted to reduce death by traffic accidents. This app uses AI, GPS, and vehicle communication technology to help predict and prevent collisions and accidents. It also detects the movement on roads to warn drivers of potential dangers.

5. The startup which warns of seizure, Epilert (Tunisia):

This startup wanted to help people with epilepsy. Thus, it founded Epilert, which is a wearable device that helps the epileptic patient live a safe life. Using AI, this device bracelet syncs with the users mobile phone. Then it monitors his or her health, moreover, it contacts caregivers and doctors in the case of a sudden seizure. It also, through machine learning, predict when a seizure may occur again. It is waterproof and can be worn all the time. This is indeed a helpful device.

6. The app which uses trash exchange of cash, Bekia (Egypt):

This app is pretty simple. It allows people to trade their household or business waste for food and other household items. This startup arranges the collection of recyclable materials and users can then order food and domestic items.

Businesses can also buy office supplies using points based on how much they recycle.

7. Revolutionizing healthcare, Proximie (Lebanon):

Proximie uses virtual and augmented reality to connect with doctors of developed countries during an operation. It is actually manufactured by doctors for the doctors. It is co-founded by Dr Nadine Hachach-Haram. The app allows doctors from anywhere in the world to transport themselves in any OT virtually to assist in surgery. It helps to deliver the best possible care to the patients.

Thus, these 7 startups can be considered as best of best in the Arab world. These startups give an overview of the state of entrepreneurship across the Arab region.

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