Press Announcement 1280 X480

Abraaj Capital unveils Wamda under ‘Inspire. Empower. Connect.’ platform

• Online platform created by Abraaj Capital and its subsidiary Riyada Enterprise Development (RED) will help transform entrepreneurial landscape in the MENASA region
• Content and community-rich Wamda will transform entrepreneurial landscape in the region through new “MentorMatch” mentoring, angel finance platform and Webinar functionality alongside content innovation
Dubai, UAE: Wamda.com, the MENASA region’s most comprehensive online content and community portal, operating under the “Inspire. Empower. Connect.” platform and built entirely in the region, was unveiled today at the ‘Celebration of Entrepreneurship’ event in the presence of more than 1,500
members of the region’s entrepreneurial community.
Wamda, which means ‘spark’ in Arabic, has been created by regional private equity group Abraaj Capital and its subsidiary Riyada Enterprise Development (RED) and is the most comprehensive project of its kind in the region. It features a constantly evolving library of video, audio and written content covering the various stages of the entrepreneurial journey – from the initial spark of an idea to leadership and sustainability, as well as select news and social media feeds connecting a growing community of participants from the MENASA region.
Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group CEO of Abraaj Capital said: “An enabling environment is the most important factor in supporting entrepreneurship in developed economies. We need an entire ecosystem at work: good regulation, accessible finance, mentors, an engaged academic sector, incubators and so on.The web is a platform common to the region and one available to all. Regional Internet and broadband availability is growing exponentially. The Arab world is at the forefront of Internet penetration and social networking growth.
“However, to date, there is no single pan-regional movement – online or offline – dedicated to regional entrepreneurship. Wamda.com is an essential component filling that void.”
Wamda’s interactive content put together by its Dubai-Amman team and more than 60 Knowledge Partners is specifically created with a view to addressing the needs of the region’s entrepreneurs, taking dialogue and discussions at the Celebration of Entrepreneurship to the online community, where the buzz and debates will continue.
Wamda currently has over 100,000 units of content, 1,000 registered users since “beta” launch on September 25 and over 100 specially-commissioned Wamda Videos, as well as over 1,300 pages of dedicated Country Information Center content from 14 regional markets. Entrepreneurial heroes and heroines, who have had a tremendous impact on their communities and people through their determination to succeed and innovation focus, will be able to share their stories with the rest of the region, creating much-needed regional role models for aspiring entrepreneurs, who can put the spirit of enterprise into a familiar geographical and cultural context.
“Wamda is a multi-stakeholder dialogue with entrepreneurship at its core, and will address the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs. It will spawn a richer culture of mentorship as promising entrepreneurs will benefit from the wisdom of business leaders and peers. It will be reciprocal, as the successful will be invigorated by the passion and innovation of the new. It’s going to be a priceless exchange,” said Samih Toukan, Director, Jabbar Internet Group, and one of the region’s ambassadors of entrepreneurship. Toukan is the founder and former CEO of Arab online portal Maktoob, in which Abraaj Capital was an investor.While launching the portal, details of ‘Wamda 1.5’ were also announced, including additional features such as enhanced navigation, communication functionality and design innovations.
Wamda 1.5 will partner with Mowgli Foundation, a UK-based non-profit organization whose mission is to harness the power of mentoring worldwide, to offer a unique and powerful functionality called ‘MentorMatch’ that matches up the region’s entrepreneurial mentors with mentees.
Additional Wamda functionality includes a Webinar series aimed at providing much needed education on a whole range of topics to entrepreneurs. With over 60 knowledge partners, Wamda will be able to draw up on experts across the full range of relevant disciplines.
Finally, Wamda is also launching an angel investor platform through which budding entrepreneurs in need of seed capital will apply online. The platform will help sift through the ideas and allow a network of angel investors also hosted on Wamda to select opportunities to invest.
The Celebration of Entrepreneurship takes place from November 8-9, 2010, at the Madinat Jumeirah Conference Centre in Dubai, UAE.