Entrepreneurship

Egyptian Ahmed Gabr Breaks World Records for Deepest Sea Dive

In the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea, off the coast of Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt. The former Egyptian…

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In the crystal clear waters of the Red Sea, off the coast of Dahab, South Sinai, Egypt. The former Egyptian army officer Ahmed Gabr become a part of the world’s diving history on Friday 18 September 2014 at 12:20 am, almost 14 hours after his entry at 10:30am the previous morning.

Recommended: Karolina Winkowska: #Egypt My #kitesurfing paradise!

Gaber has been planning his extreme dive which considered a real feat of human endurance for 2 years with his team at the H2O Divers diving center in Dahab. Smashing the previous record by South African diver Nuno Gomes who reached the depth of 318.25 meters in 2005, was Gabr’s dream for 4 years.

Training on the deco ladder
Training on the deco ladder

Recomended: World leader in diving boats to enter Egypt’s Red Sea tourism market

 

Ahmed Gabr 200 metre dive from H2O Divers Dahab on Vimeo.

Ahmed Gaber Official Guinness World Record
Ahmed Gaber Official Guinness World Record

His training regiment includes physical and mental preparedness achieved through activities such as cardiovascular and meditation exercises. Regular diving using deep air and Trimix tanks is helping Ahmed to push past the deepest depths of the Sea reached by man.

14  hours, 90 tanks, a team of 14 international divers, and an incredible dose of courage: that’s what it took Egyptian diver Ahmer Gabr to break the Guiness World Record in deep sea diving, after going 332.35m under the water.

Guinness World Records has announced that Egyptian diver Ahmed Gabr is the new title holder for deepest salt water scuba dive, at 332.35 metres.

“Record breakers are special, they are the best, ever, at what they do,” Talal Omar, the Guinness World Records representative for the Middle East announced as he handed Gabr his title certificate aboard the MV Aeolos.

“This is an extremely risky project, especially considering the jump from the deepest training dive of 220m to 350m. This means covering 130m of unknown physiological and psychological hyperbaric effects,” diving specialist Dr. Anke Fabian said through her Facebook page.

 

Gabr, in high spirits, warmly thanked his team and walked out onto the jetty where he was welcomed by a cheering crowd.

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Entrepreneurship, Interviews, Opinions

Explaining Affiliate Marketing as emerging market in MENA region

In an office in agency filled Mohandessin, Araby Ads prepare to expand as they move into their new and larger…

In an office in agency filled Mohandessin, Araby Ads prepare to expand as they move into their new and larger office. As the people behind the growth of Affiliate Marketing in Egypt, Araby Ads is also preparing for its first paid Arab Affiliate Summit, where freelancers and companies come together to discuss the market’s growth and trends.

Sitting down with CEO and co-founder of Araby Ads and the Arab Affiliate Summit, Think Marketing learns more about Mahmoud Fathy and this new emerging market.

 

All right, let’s start slowly. From Physics to a niche marketing industry, and by 26 already a founder of a large company (Araby Ads), how was the transition from a Physics major to marketing then entrepreneurship?

At first, it was all about trying to build my career. With universities in Egypt, I felt unsure about my future, so I tried to make money. I tried to build my own business.

When I thought about my studies in physics, I realized it wasn’t the perfect or greatest match for me, so I decided to make money online.

When searching through the internet, under how to make money online in Arabic, you will find a lot of scams, a lot of spam. I kept searching until I found some articles on Affiliate Marketing, which I studied for 2 years.

I first worked at Bayt.com, where I soon became their top performer, and I was paid around 200k USD in the first year. I also worked at the region’s first performance marketing agency called IKOO.com, it was also the regions first affiliate network. I also became their top performer by the end of the year.

Soon, I felt like it was time, so I started building my team, some of them are still with me, and started to work as a small media buying team, working with clients such as IKOO and Bayt. And from there, we built.

Now we [Araby Ads] have over 70 employees, and I believe we are the leading affiliate network in the Middle East.

 

So, your company, Araby Ads, is aimed towards Affiliate marketing. Could you quickly elaborate on what is Affiliate Marketing?

Affiliate Marketing is a type of Performance Marketing.

The main goal of an Affiliate is to make money online, so how do they do it? They can approach companies, such as Amazon, and tell them they would like to work for them. They will most likely be told that they can work as a freelancer. If they are able to promote their products or send them users that are willing to buy something, they will pay the freelancer [affiliate] around 10% of the Sale.

This process is called Affiliate Marketing.

So, the advertiser, Amazon, will pay for any conversions received from the freelancer’s website.

If you are an influencer, and have a following on Facebook or etc, your audience is listening to you. So why not make a video talking about Amazon’s new iPhone?

Let’s say, I am an influencer, and I want to make money from my audience. So I can make a video talking about the new iPhone and its features, that it can be found on Amazon, and here is a special link to a discount from me.

Your audience trusts you, so they will click on the link and buy the iPhone. Now I have helped Amazon make a sale, so Amazon will now pay me for every conversion around 10%. This is one example of how affiliates can make money.

So how does it work?

Can you write a blog post, can you make a video, can you convince your audience to buy something from this special link?

The main things to think about are does your audience trust you? Will they interact with your content?

It is all about targeting your audience correctly, and having them trust you and your content.

 

Tell us then, what made you venture into Affiliate marketing? It’s a tight market that most don’t think of in the MENA region.

As a start, it was purely about making money, to be honest.

But after a while, what was my goal? I already made a lot of money as a freelancer, and I can work at any time as long as I have internet and a computer. So, I thought to myself, why not enjoy what I am doing?

It became not about being an affiliate, but building a business. As a young businessman, I wanted to introduce the concept [of affiliate marketing] to the market here.  I wanted to build a business from a local Egyptian one to an international one.

I wanted to become the one place where people know, if you are looking for Affiliate Marketing in the MENA region, there is one destination, Araby Ads. If you want to make [or attend] an event, there is only the Arab Affiliate Summit.

 

So, tell us about the Arab Affiliate Summit, which was created by your company 4 years ago. What made you decide that we needed a place to meet, learn, connect and start talking about Affiliate marketing?

We have a lot of opportunity with Affiliate marketing here in the Middle East. There was no competition, no market, we created the market. So, we said to ourselves, how about we invest in the market? To educate the market.

Most freelancers don’t know a lot about Affiliate Marketing, so we want to educate them. When it comes to advertisers, when it comes to affiliates, and connect all of them in one place.

It was, honestly, also about leaving a legacy. That was our hope.

We already had money, I personally was already rich from being a freelancer, and so was my partner. So, we thought, what about giving back to our industry?

 

And how did that go?

Our first summit was actually free. The first year was the hardest for us, we tried to introduce a new concept to the market. We heard a lot of “no, this isn’t right. No, you have a hidden agenda!” I mean, guys, come on! It was a free event, we didn’t need anything, just attend.

 

Well, we Egyptians don’t accept free.

Yup!

 

Let’s talk Affiliate marketing in the region. Worldwide, this particular marketing industry makes over $7 Billion dollars a year, just how much of that is made in Egypt and the MENA region?

Egypt made around 100 million USD last year, and the MENA region market is around 300 million. The growth rate in Egypt is around 100%.

This year, my company alone, will make around 200 million USD, so the overall market would be around 300 million. We are also trying to expand in Algeria, Sudan, and other countries.

 

How has the industry affected the economy? Has it helped the local economy through ways such as self-employment, increase in GDP, etc?

I enjoy helping both sides, I am trying to help the freelancers just like me and you, or anyone in this country who wants to make money online with a trusted company.  We are trying to get them jobs to help with unemployment.

They contribute to the economy by putting their money in the bank at the end of the day.

 

What are the current ways for affiliates to serve ads, sponsorship or product placement? Are there any new trends that we should look out for?

Influencers because they trust them now, they follow them and their recommendations, and online ads such as Instagram and Facebook ads.

Unfortunately, influencers don’t have as much effect here as they do in the Gulf countries, because Egyptians lose trust in influencers when they start doing ads.

 

What other type of content do you believe will explode in the near future?

A kind of blogging called comparison websites.

 

Should Affiliate marketing be something both small and large companies focus on? Does it make a difference for both sides, or only for certain players?

In the end, both types of companies can benefit from [Affiliate Marketing], because in the end of the day, they want revenue.

For me, big companies are easier to work with because people already trust them, know them and their products well, but they prefer the traditional way of marketing.

But I prefer to work with small companies, because I believe it is more challenging, and I really like to grow with my clients.

 

Who are these affiliates? Who are they, why do they enjoy or prefer this type of work, and are they actually making enough?

All of the are like you and me. Most of them are jobless, they are looking to make a family, but they all face the same issue? They finish college and they ask themselves “what do I do now?”

They want to make something of themselves, they believe in the internet and that it can make great things. Most of them hate their full-time jobs, they love to be free.

Statistically, around of 80% of the affiliates are male. I do think that this model would be perfect for the females in this country, since both genders are already looking for jobs, but females in our region have a lot of issues, aside from cultural issues.

I believe that working from home is the best option for them, to live the lifestyle they are looking for without issues from men and cultural norms in closed countries.

 

Lastly, how would you advise those who are interested in joining the industry as an affiliate?

To be committed, and don’t think it is an easy job. You have to build a good and diverse profile, learn marketing and use your money effectively when it comes to online ads.

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Communications, Entrepreneurship, Featured Stories

5 ways to better network at your next business event

Entering a conference is simple, you walk in, register and find a seat. Finding someone to talk to is easy…

Entering a conference is simple, you walk in, register and find a seat. Finding someone to talk to is easy too, just bring someone along, but to actually leverage the potential power of networking? That’s scary.

Going to a conference is about finding new ideas, opportunities and meeting new people to help grow your career. Unfortunately, many of us don’t know how to properly use these chances to grow our professional network.

If there are key persons you’re hoping to meet at your next event for potential business cooperation, do some pre-meeting research online. Scope out these individuals’ LinkedIn profiles to learn the basics about them and look for common connections.

To help you get on your way, here are 5 ways to network at your next conference or corporate event.

 

1) Arrive early and leave late:

With our penchant for always coming late anyway, it can be a bit difficult for many to change this for one event.

Yet that is what you should be doing.

Arriving early means having a quiet and not so crowded area for you to get into the mood of introducing yourself to strangers. Talk to people at the coffee stand while you make coffee, make a bad joke about the muffins, and start off slowly.

This can inspire you to become braver as the room thickens with people.

Similarly, stay later than you’re used to.

Many people lose another important networking opportunity by running off right before or after the conference. This is a great time for you to continue a conversation with someone, or introduce yourself to speakers and others who have just gotten free.

 

2) Find the nearest coffee machine:

In between breaks or even the rest of the day before the next day’s sit down, look out for the nearest popular sitting place. During breaks, many are relaxed and hoping for a relaxed conversation, as well as either coffee and tea with maybe a Shisha.

Look at the location of the conference. Are there a lot of people sitting in the lobby café? If not, look around for nearby ahwas and Starbucks. Strike up a conversation while waiting in line, or find someone wearing a lanyard and/or something from the conference.

A chance meeting outside of a formal atmosphere, and to talk about anything other than the conference or event, allows for further networking later on at the event itself.

If there are international conference goers, try the hotel bar. Sit at the bar, and make short conversations while they wait for their drink, even if you’re just drinking Sprite.

 

3) Check those Hashtags!

Event hashtags aren’t there for show, they’re there to find conference goers see who’s there and where they are.

Look it up on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Find out where the people are going. This is a continuation of the last point.

You can find people sitting in empty rooms, upstairs on the roof lounge, maybe even making small prompt-to meetups at a nearby restaurant or café.

Take a deep breath and go have some fun as you network at a more relaxed atmosphere.

 

4) Stay at the hotel:

This is for those conferences that are out of the city, or even country, but something that can still be used during local events.

Late networking events, dinners and activities could easily happen at the same hotel as the conference. In most cases, many of the speakers and other attendees are also staying there.

This gives you prime opportunities to meet other conference goers during buffet dinners, breakfast, and even the gym.

For those living nearby? Stick around for a lunch or dinner at the hotel, and many hotels allow day use gym access.

 

5) Strengthen your pitch:

The second most common question after “who do you work for?” is “What do they/you do?”

It is important to practice what to say here. Whether you’re talking about your company’s services/products or what you bring to the office, it is important to be able to speak clearly without being nervous at this point.

Tighten your pitch before the conference, make sure you nail your first impression because it might be significant to the person in front of you.

 

Bonus: How to enter the networking dance

One of the hardest thing to do, and what most tips forget to talk about, is to start or join a conversation. Here are some basic non-verbal tips on how to start and join any conversation at your next conference.

 

1,2,3 and here we go

People group into singles (1), doubles (2) and more. Here are some small tips to help you get started.

Always approach single people first, they’re just like you and are unsure of how to start networking with others. They will be the most welcoming and easiest to start with, as they are eager to meet new people too.

A simple introduction here can get the ball rolling.

For the doubles, look for people talking in a V shape (their bodies pointed outwards), these people are having an open conversation and wouldn’t mind more company.

People who have their bodies directly in front of each other means a closed and possibly intense conversation, avoid those until they open up.

Joining a group of people is the same thing. Here, look for groups standing in a U shape, again indicating an opportunity for others to join in.

Those in an O, or closed, shape should be avoided as they are some of the hardest to join.

A conference can be so much more than learning from those speaking on stage, but can be a significant opportunity to meet others who can help you grow yourself or your business.

Appreciate the next time you go to one, you may meet a new business partner, a person who may recommend you for a job or even a brand-new job.

Looking for a place to practice? Try Marketing Kingdom, the Creative Industry Summit, or Narrative PR summit.

Let us know if any of these tips help you out in the comments below, or on our Facebook.

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Entrepreneurship

Google helps MENA startups with expanded Launchpad Accelerator

As one of the world’s largest and most influential internet companies, Google has continued to expand its empire, like with…

As one of the world’s largest and most influential internet companies, Google has continued to expand its empire, like with many tech companies, through helping startups.

And if you’re a budding startup or entrepreneur, Google’s Launchpad Accelerator is a dream.

Unfortunately, the launchpad was initially only available in certain countries in Asia and Latin America. Fortunately, ahead of their newest class of startups announcement, Google has expanded to accept countries in Africa and Europe.

A wide range of countries can now apply for the program, including Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Romania.

 

The accelerator program is a six-month program, where selected startups are invited for a two-week intensive mentorship bootcamp at Google HQ in Silicon Valley.

There, startups will be able to gain access to over 30 Google teams and experts, engineers and resources. Other resources include speakers from various Silicon Valley startups and tech companies.

Startups will also have the ability to meet and connect with other international startups, networking and building connections for future endeavors.

 

 

Afterwards, participants will continue to receive support (up to six-months) from Google via their Google Ambassador, who will continue to provide them with resources and advice.

The Launchpad Accelerator is currently only for tech startups aimed at local markets, and have proven they have a product-market fit. This means applicants must already have traction or work in the field.

Google also considers various other conditions when going through applicants, such as

  • Have you and your team set out to address a real challenge for your home city, country and region?
  • How does it create value for your users?
  • Does your team have the drive and the attitude to become an influencer in your industry?

 

Applications for the Launchpad Accelerator are open now, due date to apply for the program is October 2, 2017. You can apply here.

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Entrepreneurship

#TenforTech; standing on one leg to support girls in tech industry

In a country where social norms continue to downplay women’s abilities, countless companies have tried to fight back against the…

In a country where social norms continue to downplay women’s abilities, countless companies have tried to fight back against the norm. AlMakinah, a local tech school, is hoping to help support women in a still male-predominant industry; the Tech industry.

Almost a month ago, AlMakinah, in collaboration with SWVL, posted the #TenForTech challenge to ask people to have a more active role in changing the gender-imbalance in the tech industry.

The #TenForTech challenge asked females in the tech and startup world to maintain the tree pose (standing on one leg) for ten seconds.

 

ATTENTION: It's time YOU played an active role in changing the gender-imbalance in the tech industry!Take part in our #TenForTech Challenge by posting a 10-second video encouraging more female participation in the tech industry, while maintaining the tree pose! If you can't hold the pose, then a picture + caption will suffice!- You can take part in this initiative by contributing $10 to our crowd-funding campaign which would go towards financial aid and scholarships for a deserving woman in our upcoming GearUp Women Edition Program: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/teaching-young-women-how-to-code-in-egypt-technology#/?1- Encourage your lady friends who want to go through a life-altering experience to apply for the program: https://www.almakinah.com/gearup-women- Raise awareness about this initiative and challenge more friends to post their videos/pictures. Don't forget to tag us and include our hashtags #TenForTech & #YouCodeGirlWe're challenging RiseUp Global Shapers Cairo Giza Global Shapers Entreprenelle Startup Scene to post their videos/pictures!Balance to change the imbalance!

Posted by AlMakinah on Wednesday, July 26, 2017

 

For those who want to invest more, the tech school has a crowd funding campaign to provide financial aid and scholarships for women striving to join the industry.

Dozens of women, and supportive men, in the industry showed their support through the hashtag.

 

Here's the full #TenForTech 360 vid Elves – Your Personal Little Helper did at our company retreat last weekend – scroll around to see who made the full 10 sec in a one legged yoga pose #girlswhocode #womenintech

Posted by Karim Elsahy on Monday, August 14, 2017

We are both grateful and humbled by the incredible support we have received on our #TenForTech Challenge. We would…

Posted by AlMakinah on Friday, August 18, 2017

 

With youth unemployment at 33.4%, not to mention women’s rate is at 45.7%, today’s youth are constantly looking for ways to improve their chances of getting a job. The tech industry in Egypt is still growing, with the help of startups and startup encouragers.

Perhaps with coding, women can have better opportunities and better lives.

Are you participating in the #TenForTech challenge? Let us see your photos or videos in the comments below.

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