Abu Dhabi University’s Center of Innovation and Entrepreneurship “ADU Enterprise” in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) launched today (10th April) the “Digital Arabic Content Competition in the United Arab Emirates”. Aimed at raising awareness on the importance of digital Arabic content, the competition will also help in enhancing the digital Arabic content industry in the region, as well as encourage university graduates and entrepreneurs to enter the field, and promote its importance between business incubators and guide them to the market opportunities and areas of investment available. Application submissions for the “Digital Arabic Content Competition in the United Arab Emirates” are accepted from 10th of April to 10th of May, after which the best winners will receive incubation services from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Abu Dhabi University “ADU Enterprise” for 6 to 12 months.
The announcement was made during the “Digital Arabic Content Workshop” which was organized by ADU Enterprise” in collaboration with ESCWA under the patronage of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in the presence of Dr. Aly Nazmy Interim Provost of ADU, Dean of the College of Engineering and His Excellency Helal Mohammed Al Hameli, Deputy Director General of the Chamber, and more than 100 experts in the field of digital Arabic content development.
Commenting on the significance of the workshop, Dr. Aly Nazmy Interim Provost of Abu Dhabi University, Dean of the College of Engineering explained that it aims to raise awareness on the importance of digital Arabic content, and encouraging more entrepreneurs to launch start-up innovative projects and in this young industry.
“Abu Dhabi University also hopes through this unique initative to highlight the importance of expediting the move of the Arab World into the world of digital communities that publish and share their sciences, knowledge, culture, and services digitally and in their own languages. Furthermore, it will allow all participants to discuss the various challenges that impede the transformation of the Digital Arabic Content industry into a thriving field. We also hope that the launch of the “Digital Arabic Content Competition in the United Arab Emirates” will encourage young entrepreneurs to launch innovative business models in that help the development of digital Arabic content with tools, applications, and resources that enrich this growing industry”, added Dr. Nazmy.
On his part, His Excellency Helal Mohammed Al Hameli, Deputy Director General of Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce and Industry stressed that despite the fact that the Arabic language is one of the five official languages of the United Nations, however the percentage of digital Arabic content on the Internet is only 2 % of the total even though Arabic speakers constitute 5% of the world’s total population.
“Recognizing the importance of the role of digital Arabic content in helping a large number of the Arab world’s population in achieving their goals and aspirations, we must also recognize that there are significant challenges that encounter this industry. This workshop along with the launch of the competition will emphasize the importance of knowledge-based economy in the process of economic development pursued by the region. Especially in light of what ails some of its countries from different challenges that reflect on various aspects of life. On our part, the Chamber is ready to contribute to any efforts or programs that may serve the process of strengthening digital Arabic content, and we hope that the workshop and the competition shed more light on the importance of this industry,” concluded Al Hameli.
During her presentation, Chief of ICT Applications Section, and Director of ESCWA’s Initiative for Promoting the Digital Arabic Content Industry through Technology Incubators, Dr. Nibal Idlebi stressed ESCWA’s keenness in supporting digital Arabic content initiatives because of its role in the preservation of Arabic language and identity in digital space. “With the increase in the use of the internet and smart phones as a tool for economic and social development, the digital Arabic content industry offers new job opportunities for young people in the face of rising unemployment rates in many Arab countries. Although, the estimated proportion of digital Arabic content on the Internet is 2 to 3 %, but in the last few years we have noticed a surge of growth in digital Arabic content caused my the dramatic use of mobile applications and greater reliance on social media”, added Dr. Idlebi.
Dr. Idlebi pointed out that the digital Arabic content industry is an opportunity for young people to utilize their passion for information, communication and technology. “Additionally, creating start-up companies in this field will allow them to enjoy high investment returns, especially when they are supported by technology or bsiness incubators and government organizations,” said Dr. Idlebi.
Introducing the evaluation criteria for the “Digital Arabic Content Competition” Hania Dymassi explained that the competition targets entrepreneurs or teams of university graduates with innovative ideas that contribute to the advancement of the digital Arabic content industry.
“Applications should be divided to show a Technical Description, Business Plan, Marketing Plan and the teams’ skills. Once all applications are received, a committee will evaluate them to review the clarity of the idea, the level of innovation, and its enforceability among other aspects. The best applications will be selected to move to the second phase of the competition, which will include a personal interview. Winners with the highest total scores will receive an opportunity for initial incubation at Abu Dhabi University’s Centre of Innovation and Entrepreneurship –ADU Enterprise,” concluded Dymasi.
Rima Shaban, Manager of the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Centre “ADU Enterprise” also presented a detailed description of the different services offered by the Centre that supports innovation and entrepreneurship in the UAE and the region, some of which include initial incubation to support young entrepreneurs.
“Winners of the competiton will receive incubation services from the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center at Abu Dhabi University “ADU Enterprise” in collaboration with ESCWA to support the best project idea that enhances digital Arabic content”, said Shaban.
The workshop also included presentations from some of the most successful business models of companies, in the Arabic digital content industry by Omnisystems, Khalifa Fund, Taghreedat, Votech and Emirates Content.
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