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)
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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. 


New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials

New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials
Updated 28 September 2022

New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials

New Saudi defense minister meets senior ministry officials
  • Prince Khalid bin Salman said the ministry will continue to follow the path set by his predecessor, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s new minister of defense, Prince Khalid bin Salman, met senior ministry officials in his office on Wednesday.

Formerly the deputy defense minister, his appointment was announced on Tuesday as part of a cabinet reshuffle. He takes over from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who was appointed prime minister.

Prince Khalid gave a speech in which he thanked King Salman and the crown prince for the trust they have placed in him. He said the close attention his predecessor paid to the work of the Ministry of Defense had resulted the launch of its development program, which reflects the crown prince’s belief in efforts to maintain the highest standards of military development.

He stressed that the ministry will continue to follow the path set by the crown prince to become a modern institution staffed by professional and joint military forces capable of protecting homeland security from external threats, and leading alliances with high degrees of competency. 

 

 


Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council
Updated 2 min 19 sec ago

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

Saudi defense minister meets with head of Yemeni presidential leadership council

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman met with the head of the Yemeni Presidential Leadership Council Rashad Al-Alimi on Wednesday.

During the meeting, Prince Khalid and Al-Alimi discussed the latest developments in Yemen, the Kingdom’s appreciation of the council’s efforts, and its wishes for peace, stability, and prosperity in the country.

Prince Khalid assured Al-Alimi that the Coalition to Restore Legitimacy in Yemen will continue to support the Yemeni people and their aspirations for the council to achieve peace, stability, and security in their country.


Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub

Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub
Updated 28 September 2022

Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub

Saudi officials sign deal to develop Saudi UK Tech Hub
  • Ministry and Saudi British Joint Business Council will work together on platform to connect entrepreneurs in both countries with partners and investors

RIYADH: The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Saudi British Joint Business Council to develop the Saudi UK Tech Hub, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The hub is a digital platform that aims to connect Saudi and British entrepreneurs with partners and supporters in both countries, while enhancing and supporting the technical ecosystems.

Under the agreement, which was signed by Ibrahim Al-Nasser, undersecretary at the ministry, and SBJBC CEO Chris Anis Hopkins, the two sides will establish a board of directors comprising representatives from the Saudi and British public and private sectors. SBJBC will manage the hub’s financial affairs and provide support.

By helping to facilitate knowledge transfer, increase investment, and strengthen relationships, the platform aims to support the efforts of both countries to develop their positions as regional technology and innovation hubs, authorities said.

 


Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister

Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister
Updated 28 September 2022

Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister

Arab, Muslim leaders congratulate Saudi crown prince on his appointment as prime minister
  • Leaders wish Saudi crown prince success and hope that relations between their countries will continue to grow under his leadership

RIYADH: Arab and Muslim leaders have congratulated Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman following his appointment as Saudi Arabia’s prime minister on Tuesday, Saudi Press Agency reported.  

UAE President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan and Vice President Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum congratulated the crown prince on his appointment.

Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani wished the crown prince success and hoped the relations between the two brotherly countries will continue to develop and grow. 

Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa also sent a similar cable. 

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said: “On this occasion, I congratulate His Royal Highness Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, wishing him further success and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia further welfare and prosperity under the leadership of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud.”


Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge

Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge
Updated 28 September 2022

Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge

Saudi tourism gets chance to bloom in UN challenge
  • The UNWTO’s Natalia Bayona said that Saudi Arabia is a “priority because of how the country is committed to creating tourism as a public policy and as an economic sector” 
  • Bayona added that goals in the country’s Vision 2030 for “youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, sustainability, and tourism” are central to the UNWTO’s mission

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s blossoming tourism industry is being offered the chance to grow even faster through a UN challenge that helps nurture the best businesses.

Natalia Bayona of the UN World Tourism Organization has said she wants Saudi entrepreneurs to enter her agency’s Awake Tourism Challenge, whose previous winners have gained international experience and expert advice, and raised $350 million of investment over the four years it has run.

Bayona, the agency’s director of innovation, education and investments, told Arab News that Saudi Arabia is a “priority because of how the country is committed to creating tourism as a public policy and as an economic sector.” 

She added that goals in the country’s Vision 2030 for “youth empowerment, women’s empowerment, sustainability, and tourism” are central to the UNWTO’s mission.

“We’d like to give visibility and promote Saudi Arabia as a country making a strong effort in the tourism sector,” she said.

The challenge is a perfect opportunity to identify Saudi-based entrepreneurs trying to solve challenges they face in the sector, Bayona added.

Entrants are judged in one or more categories, including local community involvement, environmental work, good use of technology, employee development and the empowerment of women in business.

Bayona said the UNWTO is pushing for enterprises to employ locally to help develop rural economies.

“Eighty percent of people living in extreme poverty live in rural areas. Tourism can be part of the way rural areas can be developed,” she said.

Bayona added that women’s empowerment is important “because they have the lowest salaries, the lowest-status jobs. Nonetheless, tourism is the sector that hires the most women worldwide.”

She said the basing of her agency’s regional office in Saudi Arabia shows how seriously it takes the country’s efforts to expand tourism.

The UNWTO’s partners include tourism bodies from more than 160 countries, 100 universities, more than 400 investors and around 500 corporations.

The Awake Tourism Challenge has helped winners raise more than $350 million and helped create more than 100 pilot projects. The deadline to enter this year’s initiative is Oct. 15.