Connecting Women in Technology event takes place in Dubai
LinkedIn, Dell, Facebook and Ericsson held the first ever MENA Connecting Women in Technology (CWIT) event in Dubai this week.
Sahiba Watson, Talent Acquisition Partner – MENA, LinkedIn, explained that the the objective of the event was to help 'our top female talent connect and grow in the region'. The invite-only event was attended by 80 technology executives who took part in networking, workshops and panel discussions. The first series of sessions were held under the theme of Diversity in Tech, with the aim to connect and inspire women in different industries across the Middle East .
Watson added: "Two of the core values guiding everything we do at LinkedIn are integrity and collaboration. To live our values fully, we believe it’s critical to have our employees represent as diverse a range of backgrounds and viewpoints as our members do. This balance of perspectives helps us achieve our goal of making the world’s professionals more productive and successful, and ultimately creating economic opportunity."
Amira Rashad, Regional Head of Brand Advertising at Facebook Middle East, North Africa, and Pakistan, said: "At Facebook, driving diversity is integral to our mission of creating a more open and connected world. Our Chief Operating Officer literally wrote the book about the importance of women leaning in, coming together, and transforming economies. The CWIT event is one of the many steps we take to fulfill that goal."
Read the June 2016 issue of Business Review Middle East magazine
Nybl: Saudi Startup to Expand AI Solutions
According to co-founder Nour Alnahhas, nybl was formed for the greater good. A visual data mining and machine learning platform, the platform will help organisations streamline their operations. ‘We wanted to centralise our vision around AI and machine learning’, said Alnahhas. ‘Something not just for profit, but added value. Conscious capitalism’.
Nybl aims to democratise artificial intelligence by making it possible for anyone to build an AI solution. What website builders like Wix and Squarespace did for site design, nybl will do for AI—allowing even non-coders to feel comfortable creating solutions. In fact, Alnahhas calls it a ‘Shopify of AI’, or a third-party platform that helps businesses deliver better service.
With hubs in Kuwait, the UAE, North America, and India, nybl is focused on launching operations in Saudi Arabia, Alnahhas’s home country. When the company first launched, it was difficult to convince Saudi Arabian businesses to work with a startup. Yet now, nybl has proven itself. ‘We had support in the UAE, so now we’re coming back’, said Alnahhas.
Alnahhas has launched a pilot with Saudi Aramco and has slowly built partnerships with paper, heating, HVAC air conditioning, and manufacturing companies. In addition, the Saudi government has started to invest in the Kingdom’s National Strategy for Data and AI, which means that nbyl, as a tech startup, has finally gained credibility.
No War for Talent
One of the most critical parts of nybl’s expansion will be hiring the right individuals. Thankfully, there’s a current surplus of talented researchers, developers, and data scientists within the Kingdom. Like nybl’s Alnahhas—educated at the University of Houston, the Wharton School of Business, and INSEAD— many Saudi Arabians have benefited from government-sponsored education abroad.
Last year, Saudi Arabia signed several partnerships with tech firms to advance the Kingdom’s skills in artificial intelligence. ‘It’s exciting to be in Saudi Arabia where there’s alignment and support’, Alnahhas concluded. ‘You’re getting an increasing talent pool. And even old and big family conglomerates are finally changing to use AI’.