A new online platform in Saudi Arabia is seeking to develop the startup sector in the country, through a combination of news media and education.
Entrprnrshp was launched in late December by Egyptian Tamer Imran, the editor-in-chief of leading Saudi technology news portal Tech World. His new project includes small business ideas, articles which publish entrepreneur success stories, classifieds allowing entrepreneurs to market their services, specialized sessions in digital marketing, blogging, SEO, and business technology consultancy. The platform recently launched Notebook, a section that provides courses on YouTube and Snapchat.
Imran spoke to Wamda about the message he wants to deliver through Entrprnrshp, how he balances Tech World and the new project, the online press in the Arab world, and entrepreneurship challenges.
KSA online news portal Entrprnshp specializes in news and information in Arabic for entrepreneurs. (Images via Entrprnrshp)
Wamda: What is the message you are trying to convey through Entrprnrshp and how do you find stories worth covering?
Tamer Imran: Our aim is to cover all sensitive topics that entrepreneurs care about, especially the young ones.
In terms of finding topics and ideas worth publishing, we adopt strict criteria that are critical to our selection process. The article must answer an important question asked by visitors – whom we call “business visitors” – which adds the real value intended by the website, which is enriching visitors’ entrepreneurship-related knowledge.
Research is carried out to find sources that make the article both fun and beneficial to the reader.
Wamda: How many visitors does the website currently have, and who is in the team?
Imran: Entrprnrshp is relatively new and although it was only launched five month ago, it managed to draw an unexpected number of visitors. We now have more than 22,000 monthly users.
The team is made of a group of volunteer experts, including HR trainer Omar Arifi, SEO specialist Khaled Harbi, online marketing specialist Imane Zoubeidi, business systems consultant Dahlia Jambi, and management and PR specialist Dalal Madouweh.
Wamda: How do you balance between Tech World and Entrprnrshp?
Imran: My work at Tech World is an integral part of my work at Entrprnrshp; because they both represent my career success. Moreover, my great colleague Saoud El Hawawi – founder of Tech World – was the first to support Entrprnrshp and still does.
I believe that no entrepreneur should leave his full time job for his business, regardless of whether or not he likes his job, because his current job is the funder through which he supports his small business. And the entrepreneur has to choose between staying at his job and hiring someone to run his business, or leaving his job to dedicate his time to developing his business.
Wamda: How do see the current online press scene in the Arab world? Do you think that working in this field is profitable?
Imran: Online press is now in a real growth mode, especially given that media can control public opinion, but I believe - and this is my personal opinion - that Arab press needs writers and journalists who have skills beyond just writing typical articles and news updates.
The online press currently faces difficulties in satisfying readers. Not all websites face this problem and the rule here is simple: a mere attractive title to click on or share, along with a messy picture and monotone content will only waste the reader’s time. That’s why I recommend to those websites [that do this] to improve their content and to guide readers towards higher quality content.
Regarding imposing fees on the work, that’s up to the author himself and his needs.
Just 5 months old, Entrprnrshp now has more than 22,000 monthly users.
Wamda: What are the legal and logistic limitations preventing young Saudis from launching their projects and how does Entrprnrshp address that?
Imran: That’s an important question. The biggest obstacle facing youth is how they think about making the project successful, based on the messages we get every day which are often requests for funding.
The entrepreneur should first look at the resources he has instead of waiting for funding, because investors aren’t waiting around for an entrepreneur to launch a project that they can then fund. The entrepreneur should start with whatever he has, study his idea well enough, and [be ready to] provide all the required information for whenever an investor comes along, whether before or after the project enters the implementation phase.
Through Entrprnrshp, we explain at length these concepts and how entrepreneurs can save their projects from failure.
Wamda: What’s the next step?
Imran: We will be providing both free and paid audio-visual sessions on everything an entrepreneur or a startup needs, and we will also be launching a new section for the development of the entrepreneurship concept among children.