Start-up of the Week: A helping hand with new hobbies

Start-up of the Week: A helping hand with new hobbies
Updated 19 September 2018

Start-up of the Week: A helping hand with new hobbies

Start-up of the Week: A helping hand with new hobbies
  • Suplift, launched in February 2016 in Jeddah, is a platform that deals with the lack of leisure activities among the young population of Saudi Arabia.

JEDDAH: Fadi Yahya founded Suplift with the goal of helping people start new hobbies and to learn new skills by bringing them together.

Yahya, the chief hobbyist at Suplift, describes himself as a builder, fixer and an artist. He realized there was a need for such an entity when he tried to learn to play the guitar for almost five years without any real progress.

Suplift was launched in February 2016 in Jeddah as a platform that “provides the opportunity to learn new hobbies and leisure skills and encourages people to share their passions with others.”

It is a platform that deals with the lack of leisure activities among the young population of Saudi Arabia, and the realized need of such activities has been highlighted in the Quality of Life program 2020 (one of the Vision Realization Programs of Saudi Arabia).

The word Suplift is the combination of the two English words, supporting and uplifting, which summarize the platform’s core activities and mission.

Yahya explained: “Relying on the 3Cs approach (classes, community, and content) and Suplift’s Discovery Events (Estakshif), we want people to discover their abilities and hobbies as well as promote their hidden talents.”

Suplift aims to organize four small discovery events a quarter featuring four different activities. The participants will have the chance to discover each one performed by experts and passionate individuals from their community. This will introduce the tools, methods, and exercises needed for a skill to be mastered or performed.

Since its launch, Suplift has arranged several discovery events in Jeddah, such as music and horse riding, for people to come and discover new hobbies and activities. Its website provides a wide range of classes/hobbies under different categories, such as learning a musical instrument (guitar, piano and oud), fitness (yoga and tai chi) and languages (English, Spanish and French).

Yahya said: “We have more than 250 coaches available on Suplift, with an extensive list of hobbies.”

The site provides the learners with a direct access to real-life classes in their cities and communities, created by local experts in those skills and hobbies. It also offers a corporate program that focuses on teambuilding activities, through sharing hobbies and skills among the team members of an organization.

The founder explained: “The program aims to improve workplace relationships and to boost employees’ abilities and loyalties.”

Ernst and Young Saudi Arabia (EY) benefited from this program in its offices across the country earlier this year as a part of the company’s International Women’s Day’s activities. Additionally, one of the Quality of Life program’s (QoL) main goals is to reach 420 local hobbies clubs in the Kingdom by 2020.

Yahya said: “Suplift objectives are already in line with the QoL program goals and objectives.” “We are committed to helping in clubs’ creation and facilitating sponsorships in order to maintain sustainability,” he said. “Our headquarters are currently in Jeddah but we are planning to launch our office in Riyadh by mid-2018, and expand further to the Eastern Province as well.”


Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
Updated 16 January 2021

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials

Saudi Arabia’s first COVID-19 vaccine set for clinical trials
  • It will go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority

RIYADH: Preclinical studies on the first Saudi vaccine against COVID-19 have been completed.

Professor of epidemiology Dr. Iman Almansour, who heads the team of researchers working on the vaccine at the Institute for Research and Medical Consultations (IRMC), affiliated with Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University (IAU), confirmed to Arab News on Friday that the studies were complete, and said clinical trials would begin as soon as “the proper approvals” had been given.

She did not specify when that is expected to happen.

The Ministry of Education is financing the team’s project. The team’s research paper has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals.

The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen.

Dr. Iman Almansour, professor of epidemiology

According to the published paper, the vaccine has so far proven effective, when used on animals, in eliciting antibodies that will target the virus. “The vaccine is given to the body to build protein inside cells, which stimulate the body to produce immunity specific to the S antigen,” Dr. Almansour explained.

Dr. Turki Almugaiteeb, director of Healthcare and Life Sciences at RPD Innovations, which runs the National Vaccine and Biomanufacturing Center, told Arab News: “There is a great focus on the results of medical research because of the pandemic. Research can play a great role in developing a vaccine that can be adopted and further developed in the future. We can say that the Kingdom has a strong infrastructure, which can help produce and manufacture a national vaccine.”

Both Almugaiteeb and Almansour stressed that the experimental vaccine will need to go through rigorous testing and several trial stages before it is approved for use by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority.

Prof. Nasser Al-Aqeeli, the deputy minister of education for research and innovation, said the ministry supported programs at the Kingdom’s universities with more than SR500 million ($133.3 million) in 2020.