By Ali Saeed
Many are those who described the 2011 uprisings in the Arab World as “Facebook and Twitter revolutions”. But in the case of Yemen, it seems that it is the uprising that made the social networks. More than two years after the first protests, their use is widely increasing, leading to new business ideas.
Six ambitious youth from Sana’a and Aden founded Socialpalz (from “pals” which means friends), a Yemeni social network that will be launched at the end of the month. “The key difference of this network with the existing websites is the categorization of posts users can define; so the entire website would be classified into dozens of categories such as business, news, celebrities, tourism, psychology, politics etc,” explained Saeed Alfagieh, CEO and co-Founder of Socialpalz in an interview with La Voix du Yémen. “This will also allow users to search and access information much more easily based on their criteria.”
The project, which began late 2012, aims to “change the image of Yemen in the minds of people who just hear of kidnappings and terrorists,” said Alfagieh. “People need to see that Yemen has inventors and can produce,” he added.
The website will also dedicate a section for job opportunities to help jobseekers. It will provide them with support to fill data in a resume form, which would make it easier for online employers to access candidates. The team is planning to cooperate with other websites in that field in order to gather as many opportunities as possible.
The founders financed Socialpalz from their own funds and expect to make money out of this network. “So far, we received good offers from Yemeni businessmen in Yemen, UAE, KSA, USA and Algeria for advertisements,” explained Alfagieh. “We are also working on a marketing plan and we dispose of a good network of contacts abroad that will allow us to spread the website.”
The team really wishes to make of this new network an important website that attracts Yemenis and other nationalities across the world. Socialpalz is already available in Arabic and in English, but they hope to be able to develop it in other languages with time.
Alfagieh and his colleagues attended a workshop organized by UNESCO a month ago in Beirut, to represent Socialpalz. The workshop dealt with social impact and social responsibility and gathered many different Arab entrepreneurs.
The project was also presented to the Technology Business Plan Competition in the Arab World that took place late last year in Egypt and that was organized by Science and Technology Institution. Socialpalz ranked fifth in the final round of the competition.
Alfagieh shares high hopes about the future of their social network and their ability to develop it quickly. “Graduate students of Information Technology and Computer Science will also have the chance to join our team as interns,” said Alfagieh.
Socialpalz is a proof that ambition, hope and creativity exist in the country and that it is with the new generation that change lays in Yemen.Français
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