MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES SENT TWO ALL-FEMALE TEAMS TO MICROSOFT’S IMAGINE CUP THIS YEAR. THAT’S NOT AS SURPRISING AS IT SOUNDS.
Asya AlJabri’s first steps toward app building started with dyslexia: not her own, but her 9-year-old cousin’s. AlJabri was trying to teach him the alphabet, but he wasn’t learning, and she kept scolding him for not paying attention. “I won’t forget what he said,” recalls the 22-year-old computer science student from Muscat, Oman. He really was trying, her cousin pleaded. He just couldn’t understand why everything felt so hard to grasp. His speech moved her to tears—and to action. She took her cousin to get tested for dyslexia and then started thinking about how she herself could help.
THE GULF STATES ARE “THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD I KNOW OF WHERE WOMEN OUTPERFORM MEN” IN SCIENCE AND TECH, SAYS COLEMAN, AUTHOR OF AN UPCOMING BOOK ON THE MIDDLE EAST.
AlJabri rounded up two of her fellow students and together they created an app called ReadX, which helps dyslexic children learn and lets parents keep track of their progress. The app was good enough to win a national Imagine Cup, a Microsoft-sponsored student competition; that earned AlJabri and her friends—Marwa AlHabsi and Safa Almukhaini, both 22—a spot representing Oman in the international Imagine Cup, July 8 to July 11 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
BY: GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON
Entrepreneurship is thriving in the Middle East, but not the means to finance it. To explore and promote different vehicles for startup acceleration from angel investing, to venture capital, to crowdfunding - we are teaming with Silatech, UC Berkeley and Shekra in two days of intense brainstorming and knowledge transfer. Our panelists and thoughts leaders include some of the world’s top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
Hosted by the Fung Inst. & Silatech, this conference is the first chance for top thought leaders from the Middle East, Silicon Valley, the Venture Capital community & the academic community to spur innovation, create jobs & encourage entrepreneurship throughout the middle east. The conference is being generously supported by a donation from Silatech, a Qatar based foundation focused on expanding economic opportunity and jobs in the Middle East.
This leading institution is partnering with UC Berkeley to bring in some of the world’s top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Islamic Finance, Crowdfunding and Accelerators, to discuss the opportunities in the region to develop a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This conference will bring together top experts from the region, scholars and venture capitalists and innovators from Silicon Valley to explore how we can work together to create economic opportunity through entrepreneurship in the Middle East.