Female app developers launch business startups, praise Apple’s support

Special Female app developers launch business startups, praise Apple’s support
The first all-women Apple Developer Academy in the Middle East opened its doors in Riyadh in February. (Supplied)
Short Url
Updated 07 June 2022

Female app developers launch business startups, praise Apple’s support

Female app developers launch business startups, praise Apple’s support
  • US firm did an ‘amazing job’ to establish first all-women academy in the Middle East, says design winner
  • Students now creating applications for finance, education and the tourism industry

RIYADH: Ever since the first all-women Apple Developer Academy in the Middle East opened its doors in Riyadh in February, Saudi and Arab women have had the opportunity to develop their programming skills and contribute to the iOS app economy, and are now producing designs for finance, education and the tourism industry.




Fay Al-Shiban. (Supplied)

“As a Saudi woman who cares about technology, I can say that Apple did an amazing job to support Saudis and Arab women by bringing the first all-women Apple Developer Academy to the Middle East,” said Fay Al-Shiban, a student at the institution.

Al-Shiban is also one of the winners of the Worldwide Developers Conference 2022, or the WWDC22-Swift Student Challenge. The initiative enabled students to showcase their design skills by creating a Swift Playgrounds app project in any industry of their choice. 

The academy in the Kingdom received lots of attention following a video announcement during the WWDC Conference, when Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO and board member, spoke about the initiative in Riyadh. 

“In Saudi Arabia we launched our first developer academy for women in February, our entrepreneurship camps provide developers from under-represented communities with mentorship, inspiration and insights from Apple,” said Cook.

Partnered with the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones, represented by Tuwaiq Academy and Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, the program officially welcomed its students in February for a nine-month intensive coding program.

Despite many worldwide programs being held remotely, the Riyadh-based academy students attended the sessions completely in-person.

“The first time I found out that Apple was opening an academy in Riyadh I got excited,” Al-Shiban said. “I’ve always wanted to develop my skills on app development and there’s not a better way to do it than in an Apple Developer Academy. Apple is my role model when it comes to creativity and I want to become a world-class app developer.”

The programmer said she received an immense amount of support when she was accepted into the program.




Sara Al-Ghamdi. (Supplied)

Sara Al-Ghamdi, a student and apprentice developer, is currently working to create an app that will contribute to the Kingdom’s tourism industry. “I’m currently working with my team to develop a tourism-based app to promote and spread awareness about various tourist locations in Saudi Arabia.”

“Apple’s constant efforts to provide new tools and programs for app development has really made life easier for fellow developers like me … it ensures that my app, which is under development, can be made more user-friendly, user-engaging and ultimately increase the app-reach amongst people,” she said.




Lina Ismail. (Supplied)

Lina Ismail, another student, aims to take the skills she has learned to help her community. “I enrolled in the academy’s program because I always wanted to make a positive impact in the community and somehow improve the lives of upcoming generations,” said Ismail.

Ismail is currently working on her application called Naeem, which will help people save money. “My inspiration for creating this app came from my experience living alone far from my family and having to manage all my expenses while also saving a bit of money,” she explained.

The application studies the spending habits of users, including where money is being spent. “Then using machine learning it will give you suggestions and special personalized offers,” she said.

“Apple Developers Academy taught me how to find a niche idea and turn it into a business. I had a mentor who supported me along and helped me pitch the idea to big investors from Saudi Central Bank and Saudi Fintech,” Ismail said, revealing that her app was now being tested on the App Store.




Maryam Arif. (Supplied)

Student Maryam Arif said the academy helped her see the wide range of business possibilities. “What is great about the program is the infinite options of projects you can create! You can work in any field you wish,” she said.

Arif chose to create an expense-management application for the financial sector called E-pockets. “The idea came from the amount of receipts and warranties one person gathers during (a lifetime) and needs to keep.”

“The app idea and development was so revolutionary, it impressed our Apple reviewers as they came to realize this was the first time such an app was being executed,” she said.

The academy helps with skills development but also assists in bringing the apps to the marketplace, with support for enhancements such as design, Arif said. 


Prizewinning Saudi student speaks of journey to competition success

Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2022

Prizewinning Saudi student speaks of journey to competition success

Lama won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad and a bronze each at the international and Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiads. (SPA)
  • Lama Al-Ahdal scooped medals in Physics Olympiads and made her country proud

JEDDAH: Prizewinning Saudi student Lama Al-Ahdal, who has been scooping medals at Physics Olympiads, says her competition success motivates her to continue with her passion and achieve great things for the Kingdom.

She won gold at the Gulf Physics Olympiad, a bronze at the International Physics Olympiad, and a bronze at the Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiad.

Al-Ahdal spoke to the Saudi Press Agency about the beginning of her journey in the Physics Olympiad through the Mawhoob Competition, which she took part in several times.

It was her participation in 2018 that led to her nomination to attend training forums, a path that would eventually lead her to victory.

“I started attending basic courses in Jeddah, through which I qualified and passed the required tests. I was nominated for the Winter Forum at Princess Nourah University in Riyadh, then trained with the physics team, from which a number of students in the Kingdom would qualify to form the Saudi team for the Physics Olympiad.

HIGHLIGHT

It was her participation in 2018 that led to her nomination to attend training forums, a path that would eventually lead her to victory.

“At the beginning of 2019, we underwent intense eight-hour training, both remotely and at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, to prepare for international competitions. I learned how to calculate the strength of the Earth's magnetic field using a string and two pieces of magnets, how electricity can be generated by heating two pieces of metal, how to measure the thickness of a candy wrapper using a laser, and other scientific experiments.

“The top five students were then nominated to represent the Kingdom, and thankfully I made it and snatched the gold medal in the Gulf Physics Olympiad, the bronze medal in the Nordic-Baltic Physics Olympiad, and the bronze medal in the International Physics Olympiad.”

Joining the Saudi physics team and undergoing training helped her to discover that physics was a beautiful subject. “I learned a lot from it and the Olympiad experience.”

Her participation increased her skills and developed her thinking by getting to know competitors from different countries.

“I also developed my time management skills since the training continued even during school days. My father and mother had a major role in helping me achieve my goals and encouraging me to try new things to gain more skills and learn more,” she said.

Setting a specific goal and working to achieve it was the most important thing that motivated her to take up the challenge and try new things.

Her father, Abdul Rahman Al-Ahdal, said his daughter’s journey was full of scientific challenges.

“She has always been a talented child and a bright student, with a  promising future ahead of her. God blessed her with a group of highly experienced trainers and supervisors. It is important to focus and draw a plan and work to achieve it.

“I thank King Abdulaziz and His Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity, and everyone responsible for helping the sons and daughters of the Kingdom partake in forums of creativity, innovation and scientific Olympiad, and other scientific activities.”


Visitors take a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Taif to rejuvenate in nature

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
Updated 13 August 2022

Visitors take a trip to Saudi Arabia’s Taif to rejuvenate in nature

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape. (SPA)
  • The region has more than 2,000 flower farms that produce more than 200 million roses every season

TAIF: Visitors from all over the Kingdom and the Gulf are flocking to Taif this summer to get respite from the heat and rejuvenate in the region’s mountains.

The popular tourist location has a number of hotels and resorts designed and built to fit in with the natural landscape, several of which are also working farms or have beautiful gardens planted with the famous Taif roses and wild plants including basil, al-baitran, and marjoram.

Tourists and visitors can also stay in cozy, rural hostels made of old stone ornamented with carvings and sculptures of animals, where they can enjoy stunning views of the mountains and valleys of Taif, which are home to a variety of rare birds.

The city and other nearby areas such as Al-Hada and Al-Shifa are also famous for their fruits.

The region has more than 2,000 flower farms that produce more than 200 million roses every season. Taif roses have historic, economic and religious importance. The oil is used to perfume the walls of the Kaaba, which is also washed twice annually with its scented water.

Besides basking in nature, visitors to Taif can also visit museums, local markets, rose factories in Al-Shafa and Al-Hada, the cable car, a strawberry farm, the zoo, and historic castles.

 


 


Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu
Updated 14 August 2022

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu

Saudi forces and US marines begin joint training exercise in Yanbu
  • The month-long drill includes logistical exercises and operations with live ammunition

RIYADH: The Royal Saudi Armed Forces and US Marine Corps on Saturday launched a joint training exercise along the Red Sea coast in the western city of Yanbu, the Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense said.

The “Outrageous Anger 22” exercise was inaugurated in the presence of Maj. Gen. Ahmed Al-Dibais, commander of the western sector, and Maj. Gen. Paul Rock, commander of the Marine Corps at the US Central Command, as well as senior officers from the Saudi armed forces and US Army.

An inspection tour included sites where the two forces will conduct the joint operations.

Col. Saud Al-Aqili, commander of the exercise, said that it aims to rehearse implementation of bilateral operational and logistical plans, exchange expertise between the two sides, and develop complementary work with civil authorities.

Col. Matthew Hakula, commander of the US forces, said that the joint maneuvers will raise combat readiness, as well as strengthen compatibility between Saudi and US troops.

The month-long drill includes logistical exercises and operations with live ammunition.


Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Alotaibi, director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at Monsha’at

Abdulrahman Alotaibi
Abdulrahman Alotaibi
Updated 13 August 2022

Who’s Who: Abdulrahman Alotaibi, director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at Monsha’at

Abdulrahman Alotaibi

Abdulrahman Alotaibi has been the director of SMEs Training for Capacity Building at the General Authority for Small and Medium Size Enterprises, also known as, Monsha’at, since 2020.

Alotaibi’s current role includes overseeing the development of capacity-building solutions for SMEs and entrepreneurs through Monsha’at Academy’s online, local and international programs.

These programs support the Saudi business community by offering specialized skills in entrepreneurship, business planning, financial management and marketing.

Alotaibi started his career in Saudi Aramco in 2006 and held various roles in operations, accounting and planning.

He later joined the Saudi Export Development Authority in 2017 as an exporters training manager. He led numerous projects and programs to help Saudi companies to access and develop international markets.

Alotaibi holds a bachelor’s degree in public administration from King Abdulaziz University and a master’s in business administration from Al-Yamamah University.

He is a certified global business professional from NASBITE International and also certified in market analysis tools by the UN’s International Trade Center, ITC.  

In 2021, he published a book titled “Export Business Development —  A Guide to International Markets.” The work provides the necessary knowledge and best practices to help business people to develop and execute global business plans, evaluate opportunities, manage market challenges and grow international sales.

Working closely with various businesses and trade support organizations, Alotaibi has delivered workshops and advisory sessions in export and international trade. He also contributes to newspapers and other business media outlets.


Saudi envoy receives ambassador-designate to KSA in Dublin

Saudi envoy to Ireland Nayel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir receives Ireland’s Ambassador-designate to KSA Gerry Cunningham in Dublin. (SPA
Saudi envoy to Ireland Nayel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir receives Ireland’s Ambassador-designate to KSA Gerry Cunningham in Dublin. (SPA
Updated 13 August 2022

Saudi envoy receives ambassador-designate to KSA in Dublin

Saudi envoy to Ireland Nayel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir receives Ireland’s Ambassador-designate to KSA Gerry Cunningham in Dublin. (SPA
  • In a tweet, Al-Jubeir wished Cunningham a successful tour in Riyadh

RIYADH: Saudi Ambassador to Ireland Nayel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir received Ireland’s Ambassador-designate to the Kingdom Gerry Cunningham at the embassy’s headquarters in Dublin, Ireland on Saturday.

During the meeting, the pair discussed bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Ireland, and ways to develop ties in all fields.

In a tweet, Al-Jubeir wished Cunningham a successful tour in Riyadh.

Last week, the Saudi ambassador welcomed Adil Bannaga, ambassador-designate of Sudan to Ireland.