The increasing impact of digital content on people’s daily lives, is driving more regional entrepreneurs to launch Arabic platforms.
Products and services showcase, in Arabic
Driven by the need to offer online demand-offer service in Arabic, Saudi entrepreneur Osama Abdo, launched a digital platform called Mnassa (منصّة). It connects supply and demand in all business categories, including cars, clothing, electronics, and furniture. It also provides its users with an opportunity to offer, search or request any products and services, knowledge, events, and activities. Abdo said: “We believe that closing the gap between supply and demand in all aspects will create new opportunities. It will also allow small businesses to grow. Everyone deserves to live his passion, and if that was done professionally someone else is willing to pay for it,” he said.
The platform’s website was launched in January 2016. Afterwards, the mobile application saw the light. Mnassa’s digital community also known as ‘Mnassawya’ reached over 10,000 members and exchanged around 4,384 services and products. The platform currently relies on the funding of its investors, and seeks to monetizes through web ads. Whenever it manages to increase its users base, it will move to paid subscriptions model.
Mnassa also minimizes restrictions that traditional jobs would entail. Through its platform, people can post job opportunities. This offers freelancers the chance to get in touch with people seeking their services, For example, a math tutor (supplier of a service) whose profile is on Mnassa, could be hired by a person seeking such service, at this specific fee.
Saudi youth represents a large segment in the country, and are the main target for Mnassa. “We started building strategic partnerships with universities to motivate young talents and to strengthen their abilities by driving them to seek freelance job opportunities through Mnassa,” Abdo told Wamda. Mnassa makes sure to have the hire talented and creative team members.
Online digital platforms that matches between demand and offer are not new to Saudi Arabia. Founded in 2008, Opensooq is one of the leading classifieds platforms in the Middle East & North Africa region (MENA), where sellers can offer products and services to millions of users online without intermediaries. Buyers can browse a wide variety of goods and services, including cars (automotive), real estate, and electronics among others. Haraj is another Saudi platform also offering its users the ability to surf products in different categories and contact the post maker for details and potential deal.
Though it offers similar services, the Mnassa platform gives its users the opportunity to have an active community: Users can join different groups in different fields of interest. They can also follow each other to see their posts and activities. Thus, Mnassa is not only a platform to exchange benefits, allows its users the opportunity to build their digital community.
Similar to any startup business in the Saudi digital market, Mnassa is facing some challenges. These include driving people to engage with the digital community and to start searching for their needs online rather than relying on traditional mediums. However, this might require both time and effort. Yet Mnassa's team is optimistic about the market acceptance and they are ambitious to expand their reach.
Feature image via Mnassa.