I recently wrote about major challenges that startups are facing in Saudi Arabia, but as support programs at KAUST and Badir work to empower for-profit startups, 4 Saudi entrepreneurs are combining their experience to use these same techniques for non-profits.
Mubaraka (which mean ‘blessed technology’ in Arabic), recently
launched to support local non-profit tech projects and charities,
is planning a new incubation program while also working to map the
ecosystem of non-profits across the country.
CEO Abdullah Obeid previously worked with volunteer organization ‘Azm’, which launched a number of technical non-profits, including a website for religious legal pronouncements (Fatwah) search called AlFatwah.
“We felt the need for a local entity that specializes in offering technical services for non-profits,” says Obeid. The team also includes two technical co-founders, Mashari Al Joweirah and Majed Al Osaimi, and a charity supervisor, Omar Al Nahdi.
They tailor their services on a case-by-case basis; for each organization the team helps to identify their mission, goals, and technical needs to begin prescribing solutions. Some include social media strategy recommendations, how to organize a team internally, who to partner with to get funding, what technology or tools they may need to scale their work, or even how to better market or brand themselves.
“We’ve made field visits to 22 different charity organizations, and continue to research international initiatives similar to ours", says Obeid. "We also organized a workshop bringing together the leads of local tech and charity organizations, which really helped us form and focus the project into what it is today."
To cover their own expenses, the team has partnered with the AbdelRahman Saleh Al Rajhi & Family Charity Establishment, but later received further sponsorship from the Sheikh Saad Al-Musa & Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Musa Endowment, and the Al Aradi Charity Endowment. The company ultimately hopes to become self-sustaining by relying on fees for services they offer client non-profits.
Currently, Altqniah Al Mubaraka supports four non-profit projects, helping them work more efficiently with an eye toward sustainability. In the future though, they hope to solidify their incubation role and open an official “non-profit technical incubator” to better support, train, and better prepare these organizations to have a more global reach.
Though the founders wouldn’t reveal all of their plans, one assures me that they have some new programs in the works. “We’re currently designing several new services for non-profit organizations which we’ll announce soon,” says Al Nahdi.