OBM CEO: we eye reaching 1 mn students, holding biggest student summit in Riyadh

Jul 2, 2024

Mohamed Gamal 

 

In a fast-paced changing world, it is inevitable for young people to constantly work on their interpersonal and professional skills in a way that they can cope and keep up with the rapidly evolving labor market. Notably, there is still a significant gap between the skills possessed by graduates and the market needs leading to most of them having barely decent job opportunities hindering them back from building up their aspiring professional careers. 

 

Omar El Barbary, Founder and CEO of OBM Education seemed to find an effective solution to this dilemma, coming up with a wide array of programs and services serving this quest in the Egyptian and the Saudi Markets.

 

In the following interview, El Barbary tells the story of his company, OBM Education, and what it has to offer to students of services and events, as well as the objectives he aims to realize within the coming time.

 

When was OBM Education founded?

 

I co-founded the company in Egypt with my partner Ezz El Din Farag, co-founder and operational executive director, back in 2020 as the first all-inclusive startup to support and mentor the process of preparing high school students for university onboarding in the Middle East and North Africa region.

 

What is the main idea that OBM Education is all about?

 

First of all, we observed the huge gap between what our students learn at schools and what the job market actually needs in a candidate. It’s safe to say that basic skills are not enough anymore for a job seeker to stand out given the huge demand and fierce competition in the labor market.

 

Can you take me through the programs/ services your company offers to create relevance between students and the labor market?

 

Of course, OBM Education has introduced the “Taleb” application, MENA’s first integrated tool mainly designed to provide mentorship to students in their journey to build up a fruitful career. Our platform also offers many programs including the “BUILD YOUR FUTURE SUMMIT” a tool particularly prepared to cater to high school students and alumnus in the MENA region to navigate them through choosing the perfect majors, and thus, apply to their desired universities.

 

Moreover, there is the “EDUCATION STAKEHOLDERS FORUM” which can be defined as the first B2B educational platform in Egypt. This tool creates a connection between the concerned entities such as The Government, investors, universities, schools, service providers...etc., to give a hand in solving the rising challenges by exploring brand new ideas and solutions for improving educational sectors of the MENA Region.

 

What do you aim for with expansion into Saudi Arabia?

 

We considered this expansion for the kind of similarity the Egyptian and the Saudi market bear together, for instance, sharing Arabic as a mother tongue. We are striving to extend our operations into Saudi Arabia during the coming period as well as assist in qualifying as many Saudi students as possible for the job market.

 

Moving to funding rounds, what have you managed to achieve so far?

 

We managed to close rounds of funds with “EdVentures” and Saudi Vms fund that we are willing to pump into our expansion endeavors, the “Taleb” app launching, and more programs ahead.

 

As a startup founder, what kind of challenges do you have to handle right now?

 

We share the most common challenges of many startups in the market, on top of which is the increased Tax amounts, in addition to the constant surge in financial expenditures and staff wages.

 

What does OBM Education aspire to accomplish in the near future?

 

We really wish for the “Taleb” App to reach a million students this year after already being downloaded by nearly 250,000 users previously. We are also planning to hold the biggest summit for pre-university students in Riyadh and advance more expansions in the Arab Region.

 

Translation: Ghada Ismail

 

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How to build up your dream team for any startup owner

Ghada Ismail

 

There’s one fundamental factor for any startup to be able to make a booming success and sustain it that can seriously be a real deal maker or breaker! building a powerful cohesive team.

 

 It’s only your team that can make your business bloom or die at its early stages as per the experiences of almost every business owner all over the globe, so you do want to choose your team members so wisely and carefully. 

Before we dive deep into the thing, it’s safe to say that choosing people who share the same views, values, and perspectives with different takes but adhering to one ultimate goal can really make one phenomenal team that is constantly engaged, motivated, and in a good harmony with each other. Now to assemble your dream team, we have a few tips for you that you want to reconsider for your search process:

 

  • A good leader leads the way for his team to brilliance: this might sound cliché, but we are going to take the risk and say it! It starts with you and requires a lot from you, you have to earn the title of “a leader” and be responsible for the whole package that comes with it starting from having to make important decisions and be an honest mentor for all your team members. With an observant eye, you should identify with all your strengths and weaknesses points and work on them and try to acquire further skills such as good communication, problem-solving, flexibility, and self-awareness in order to be able to play the role of the ship captain.

 

  • Determine key roles in your institution: depending on the market or the industry you are part of, decide what roles you need and start building your hierarchy from top to bottom with a balanced mix of juniors, seniors, and people with managerial skills. Always opt for reliable and engaged team players who can take on various tasks and manage different directions of the business. You should be wise in selecting and spending as much time looking for ideal candidates who can perfectly fit their positions as you need.

 

  • Team diversity is required: the team that will translate your ideas into actions and quantifiable results should be diverse simply because creativity does not accept monotony. Your team should not be homogenous but rather interchangeable as people with different personalities coming from different backgrounds and cultures can cover different areas of work needs creating the elements of balance and competitiveness that every team truly needs for a non-ending momentum.

 

  • Hire the action takers, not the Daydreamers: search for those individuals who can be described as result-oriented people, or else you’ll find yourself inside a meeting room only juggling ideas with no satisfying outcome! you want to build a team that’s capable of accomplishing things and coming up with creative solutions to each and every hurdle you come across. 

 

  •  Craft a clear vision and get your team to believe in it: your story always matters as not all candidates are looking for just monetary benefits. Only extraordinary candidate will consider what you stand for before making up their minds to be a part of your adventure. When you adopt transparency and make your grand plan clear to all your team members, this will subconsciously make it theirs too and consequently will transform their performance and keep them motivated and ready to go the extra mile for what they truly believe is their collective ultimate goal. 

 

Now that you’re equipped with the essential kit, it’s important to bear in mind that maintaining a harmonious work environment, and managing workloads to avoid burnout is crucial for sustaining the high spirit and productivity in your team. 

Mastering the Art of the Proposal: Tips for Landing High-Value Projects on Sharikat Mubasher

Crafting a winning proposal is key to securing projects on Sharikat Mubasher. This guide equips you with the strategies to write compelling proposals that grab client attention and showcase your expertise. 

 

1. Proposal Structure: 

 

   - Introduction: Start with a strong introduction that captures the client's interest. Briefly state who you are, what you do, and the purpose of your proposal. 

   - Understanding Client Needs: Demonstrate that you understand the client's needs and the project requirements. Refer to their project description and highlight key points. 

   - Solution Overview: Provide an overview of your proposed solution. Explain how your services will address the client's needs and achieve their goals. 

   - Detailed Plan: Break down your approach into clear, actionable steps. Include timelines, milestones, and deliverables. 

   - Qualifications: Highlight your relevant experience, skills, and successes. Include case studies or examples of similar projects you have completed. 

   - Budget & Pricing: Provide a transparent and detailed budget. Break down costs and explain the value of your services. 

   - Conclusion & Call to Action: Summarize the main points and include a strong call to action. Encourage the client to reach out for further discussion or to proceed with the proposal. 

 

2. Highlighting Your Skills: 

 

   - Use specific examples to showcase your skills. Instead of simply listing your skills, demonstrate them through real-world examples. 

   - Quantify your results. Use metrics and data to highlight the impact of your work. For example, mention how you increased a client's ROI by a certain percentage. 

   - Tailor your proposal to the client's needs. Customize each proposal to address the specific requirements and goals of the client. 

 

3. Call to Action: 

 

   - Craft a compelling call to action that prompts the client to take the next step. Be clear and direct about what you want the client to do. 

   - Include contact information and suggest a follow-up meeting or call to discuss the proposal in more detail.

Fintech Unplugged: A Deep Dive into the Innovative Types Transforming Our Finances

Kholoud Hussein 

 

The financial technology (fintech) sector has undergone significant transformation over the last decade, revolutionizing the way people manage money, conduct transactions, and invest. Fintech is an umbrella term encompassing various technologies and innovations designed to enhance and automate the delivery of financial services. Below, we explore the different types of fintech and their impact on the financial landscape.

 

1. Digital Payments

One of the most recognizable sectors of fintech, digital payments facilitate electronic transactions between consumers and businesses. This includes mobile payment apps (like PayPal, Venmo, and Apple Pay), contactless payments, and various online payment gateways. Digital payment technologies have made transactions faster, more secure, and more convenient, helping to reduce the reliance on cash.

 

2. Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

Blockchain technology underpins cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. This decentralized ledger technology enhances security and transparency, making it ideal for tracking transactions and ownership across various industries. Beyond cryptocurrencies, blockchain applications include smart contracts, supply chain management, and identity verification, indicating a growing interest in its potential beyond traditional finance.

 

3. Robo-Advisors

Robo-advisors are automated investment platforms that provide financial planning services with minimal human intervention. They use algorithms to assess an investor's risk tolerance and financial goals, then create and manage a diversified portfolio. Popular examples include Betterment and Wealthfront. Robo-advisors democratize investment management, making it accessible to individuals who may not have significant capital or knowledge.

 

4. Insurtech

Insurtech refers to technology that streamlines and enhances the insurance industry. This includes digital platforms for purchasing and managing insurance policies, as well as data analytics tools used to assess risk and streamline claims processing. Companies like Lemonade and Policygenius are examples of how insurtech is simplifying the insurance experience for consumers.

 

5. Lending Platforms

Fintech lending platforms facilitate personal, business, and peer-to-peer lending by connecting borrowers directly with lenders, often bypassing traditional banks. These platforms, such as LendingClub and Prosper, utilize technology to analyze creditworthiness quickly, allowing for faster approval processes and flexible terms. This has opened up credit access to those often underserved by traditional financial institutions.

 

6. Regtech

Regulatory technology (regtech) focuses on helping businesses comply with regulations efficiently and effectively. Regtech solutions use automation and data analytics to ensure compliance with financial regulations, minimize risks, and manage regulatory reporting. This sector is becoming increasingly important as businesses navigate the complex web of financial regulations and compliance requirements.

 

7. Neobanks

Neobanks are digital-only banks that operate without physical branches, offering seamless banking experiences through mobile apps. They provide traditional banking services such as checking and savings accounts, often with lower fees and enhanced user experiences compared to traditional banks. Examples include Chime, N26, and Revolut, which cater to tech-savvy individuals looking for convenient banking solutions.

 

8. Investment Platforms

Investment fintech platforms democratize access to financial markets, enabling individuals to invest in stocks, ETFs, bonds, and alternative assets via user-friendly applications. New entrants like Robinhood and eToro have disrupted traditional trading by offering commission-free trading and social trading features, appealing to a younger, more engaged audience.

 

9. Personal Finance Management Tools

Personal finance management (PFM) tools help individuals track spending, create budgets, and manage their financial goals. Apps like Mint and YNAB (You Need A Budget) empower users to gain insights into their spending habits, set financial objectives, and improve their overall financial literacy.

 

To conclude, the fintech industry is diverse and rapidly evolving, revolutionizing how consumers and businesses interact with financial services. As technology continues to advance, each segment of fintech is likely to innovate further, enhancing accessibility, efficiency, and security in the financial ecosystem. Whether through digital payments, investment platforms, or robust regulatory solutions, fintech is reshaping our financial futures and influencing how we manage our money today.

 

Keppler: Iyris’ solutions reduce 90% of water and energy consumption in farming practices

Noha Gad

 

The agricultural technology (agritech) market in Saudi Arabia is experiencing significant growth as the Kingdom invests heavily in modernizing the agricultural sector through cutting-edge technologies, in alignment with Vision 2030 goals of diversifying the national economy and ensuring food security. 

The agritech startup ecosystem in Saudi Arabia is rapidly evolving, backed by government support, private investments, and innovative entrepreneurs. Additionally, the focus on sustainable and efficient agricultural practices aligns with global trends, positioning the Kingdom as a potential leader in agritech developments in the Middle East and beyond.

In this regard, Sharikat Mubasher had an interview with John Keppler, Executive Chairman of Iyris, one of the leading agritech startups in Saudi Arabia specializing in advancing commercial farming for low to mid-tech farmers in hot climates globally.

 

First, can you share more details about Iyris' solutions to advance commercial farming in warmer climates? 

Iyris is a pioneering Saudi-founded Agritech company. We specialize in solutions which enable sustainable commercial farming in hot climates. 

Our founders designed solutions to make it easier for farmers to grow fresh crops in difficult environments. Derya Baran, Mark Tester, and Ryan Lefers each had an academic and commercial focus on mitigating the impact of climate change to help feed the world’s growing population sustainably.

In our lead product, SecondSky, we created a range of greenhouse coverings that minimize the stress and impact of near-infrared heat radiation on plants while allowing the spectrum of light that plants need for photosynthesis. This is revolutionary in the agriculture industry. It delivers more resilient, productive, and profitable crops in regions where climate change and excessive heat make it difficult to grow fresh produce sustainably.

SecondSky’s polycarbonate, polyethylene, nets, and soon-to-be-launched shade screens are deployed to customers growing fresh produce in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Morocco, Spain, Portugal, Mexico, and North Africa. 

While the nanomaterials we invented to make these benefits possible are proprietary and complex, our business model is designed to deliver this innovation as simple as possible by making it a drop-in solution to existing manufacturing and distribution channels.  That way, our customers can buy their roofs, nets, and screens using SecondSky as a one-for-one replacement for traditional plastic greenhouse roofing. 

Utilized by growers on five continents and in 11 countries, SecondSky alone delivers a reduction in energy use by over 40% and water consumption of 30% at customer installations and we have seen crop yield increases and growing season extensions by as much as 35%.

Additionally, Iyris has developed plant genetics via a novel hybridization process that has the potential to breed resiliency to salinity, head, and drought processes across a broad range of crops, ensuring stress-resistant, dependable food production. The technology is already demonstrating exciting results with some of the world’s largest tomato growers in large-scale open-field trials.

 

How could Iyris’ climate-smart solutions enhance agricultural sustainability in Saudi Arabia?

Iyris’ climate-smart solutions play a pivotal role in enhancing agricultural sustainability in Saudi Arabia and beyond. Invented at KAUST in Saudi Arabia, our technologies have been trialed and tested to withstand the Saudi Arabian climate. The academic and scientific resources at KAUST and funding and incubation provided by the university and its seed and venture funding capabilities have been a critical part of our journey in developing products in Saudi, by Saudi, and for Saudi, and then exporting to the world. 

It works well in the region because it was developed for the challenges of the region, which given the implications of climate change are having a negative impact globally.   

Iyris’ SecondSky technology blocks heat radiation effectively, making it ideal for addressing the challenges of the extreme Arabian Gulf conditions and helping to increase food security in a country where 85% of its food is imported. In targeting low to mid-tech farmers, who represent more than 70% of growers worldwide, we provide an immediately deployable solution that impacts growers from the moment it is installed. 

In the Saudi Arabian context, that means that farms that were unproductive can be brought back into the supply chain very quickly. For each kilo of produce that is grown locally, that is a kilo less that needs to be imported, or transported across the Kingdom. Every farmer who can grow both in a financially and ecologically sustainable way protects the future of their local communities and has the potential to reduce urban drift. 

We have already executed pilot projects within the Kingdom where these benefits are starting to be seen and it’s a program that we think can be widely expanded.

 

Pure Harvest Smart Farms concluded a deal to acquire Iyris’ facility in the Kingdom. In your opinion, how could this step help Iyris to broaden its presence in Saudi Arabia?

The sale of our facility in Saudi Arabia to Pure Harvest Smart Farms reflected our strategic transition into a pure-play technology company. Known for its commitment to sustainable and climate-smart farming, Pure Harvest was an ideal partner to take on this facility.

The integration of our SecondSky heat-blocking technology at the facility aligns with Pure Harvest's dedication to sustainable agriculture and solidifies our technology as a valuable asset in Saudi Arabia's agricultural landscape. 

This sale solidifies existing partnerships (e.g. Alajaweed Farm), presents opportunities for collaboration, and fosters the growth of innovative agricultural solutions in the region. The move has advanced sustainable agriculture and addressed climate-related challenges in Saudi Arabia, strengthening our presence in the Kingdom.

 

What about your recent $16 million Series A funding round? 

In May 2024, we raised a $16 million Series A round. We are proud of this vote of confidence from the investment community, which comprised existing and new investors.

The fundraising was led by Ecosystem Integrity Fund (“EIF”), a San Francisco-based climate and sustainability fund supporting high-growth companies that drive a positive environmental impact, with further support from Global Ventures, Kanoo Ventures, Dubai Future District Fund (DFDF) and Bonaventure Capital. 

The proceeds will help support increased sales coverage and delivery of Iyris’ strong international sales pipeline for our SecondSky greenhouse covers and nets. It will also fund the continued development of our innovative heat-blocking products and resilient plant genetics, which both have huge potential to improve yields further. 

We are grateful for the investors who have recognized that Iyris technology solutions deliver tangible benefits to the farming community and understand its wider potential. Our investors understand there is a clear and focused strategy for delivering scalable AgriClimate technologies into our addressable market. 

 

What are Iyris’ plans to expand beyond the Saudi market, notably in Egypt and East Africa? And how do you see the future of sustainable farming and agriculture in Africa?

We are actively expanding our footprint in North and East Africa, delivering adaptable and effective solutions to commercial farming. In March 2024, we signed a strategic MoU with Magrabi Agriculture, Egypt’s leading fresh produce provider, enabling Iyris’ cutting-edge technology to be deployed across Magrabi’s farming facilities and international operations.

This is one of several examples of successful partnerships and endorsement by key stakeholders in the region, as we continue to work closely to transform agriculture globally. 

 

In your opinion, how do Iyris’ solutions contribute to tackling climate change?

With the global population estimated to grow to 10 billion by 2050, food security and farming in a sustainable manner (both environmentally and fiscally) is a worldwide challenge. By providing sustainable and efficient solutions that reduce water and energy consumption in farming practices by up to 90%, we contribute significantly to the collective effort to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future.

We are proud to be helping feed the world in a climate-friendly manner.

Tired of Chasing Clients? How Sharikat Mubasher Streamlines Your B2B Journey

 Are you exhausted from endless cold calling and dealing with unreliable clients? Do you find yourself wasting valuable time and resources chasing leads that never convert? If so, Sharikat Mubasher offers a refreshing alternative for B2B service providers. Our platform is designed to connect you with a pre-vetted network of businesses actively seeking your expertise, eliminating the traditional B2B hustle and bringing efficiency to your operations. 

 

The Traditional B2B Struggle 

 

In the traditional B2B landscape, service providers often face numerous challenges. The process of finding and securing clients is time-consuming and frequently frustrating. Cold calling, email campaigns, and networking events can lead to dead ends, with potential clients who are either not interested or unreliable. This not only drains your energy but also diverts your focus from what you do best—providing high-quality services. 

 

Introducing Sharikat Mubasher 

 

Sharikat Mubasher revolutionizes the way B2B service providers operate. As an online platform that combines a comprehensive B2B directory and marketplace with media services, we offer a one-stop solution for all your business needs. Here’s how we can help you streamline your B2B journey:

 

1. Pre-qualified Clients 

One of the biggest advantages of using Sharikat Mubasher is access to pre-qualified clients. Our platform connects you with a network of businesses that are actively seeking the services you offer. These are not random leads; they are companies that have been vetted and are ready to engage with service providers like you. This means you can focus on high-value projects that perfectly match your skills and experience, leading to better client relationships and higher satisfaction rates. 

 

2. Streamlined Workflow 

Efficiency is key to success in the B2B world, and Sharikat Mubasher provides tools to ensure a streamlined workflow. From submitting proposals to managing projects, our platform simplifies every step of the process. Here are some features that will transform the way you work: 

Easy Proposal Submission: Create and submit proposals effortlessly. Our platform allows you to customize proposals to suit each client’s needs, increasing your chances of winning projects. 

 

Efficient Project Management: Keep track of all your projects in one place. Manage deadlines, communicate with clients, and monitor progress in real time. 

 

Real-time Project Insights: Gain valuable insights into your projects with our analytics tools. Understand where your time and resources are going and make informed decisions to improve efficiency. 

 

3. Enhanced Visibility 

In the crowded B2B market, visibility is crucial. Sharikat Mubasher offers marketing and advertising opportunities to enhance your visibility among potential clients. With our media services, you can: 

 - Gain Public Exposure: Get featured in industry reports and sponsored content. Share your success stories and expertise with a wider audience, building your reputation and credibility. 

 - Access Valuable Insights: Stay ahead of industry trends with our in-depth reports and insights. Understand market dynamics and position your services to meet emerging needs. 

 

4. Building Trust and Credibility 

Credibility is a significant factor in the B2B industry. Sharikat Mubasher helps you establish and maintain trust with potential clients. By being part of our platform, you signal to clients that you are a reputable service provider. Our vetting process ensures that only reliable businesses are listed, which in turn boosts your credibility. Additionally, positive reviews and ratings from satisfied clients can further enhance your reputation. 

 

Ready to Transform Your B2B Experience? 

 

Sharikat Mubasher is more than just a marketplace; it’s an ecosystem designed to support B2B service providers at every step. By joining our platform, you gain access to a network of pre-qualified clients, tools to streamline your workflow, and opportunities to enhance your visibility and credibility. 

 

Don’t waste another moment chasing unreliable leads. Transform your B2B experience with Sharikat Mubasher and focus on what you do best—delivering exceptional services. 

 

Sign up for a free Sharikat Mubasher account today and take the first step towards a more efficient and rewarding B2B journey. Visit our website to learn more and start connecting with clients who value your expertise. 

 

Embrace the future of B2B with Sharikat Mubasher and revolutionize the way you do business. Join our community of successful service providers and unlock new opportunities for growth and success. 

 

Sign up for a free Sharikat Mubasher account today!