This week we are sharing a story about Khalid Alali from Saudi Arabia, celebrating the impact that Wadhefty, his tech-based social enterprise, has had on tackling youth unemployment in the region.
Wadhefty helps job seekers, Arab youths in particular, to find employment opportunities in the private sector.
Starting from its expert curriculum vitae (CV) writing service in both Arabic and English, the website supports job seekers along the full job hunting cycle - from CV creation all the way to their first day on the job.
“Wadhefty aims to address the shortage of Arabic content for careers and CV writing,” Alali says, explaining that although about five percent of global internet users are speakers of Arabic, less than one percent of all content online is in Arabic. “We believe that by making career advice accessible, Arab youths will be able to get better jobs and achieve more in their careers.
“We hope to help 10,000 young people from the GCC countries to find jobs in the private sector by 2020. We believe in the tremendous capability of local youth and in their importance in transforming GCC countries into knowledge economies. Ultimately, we hope to support the GCC nations in cultivating their greatest assets, their people.”
Before starting Wadhefty, Khalid led multiple tech-based businesses, which includes him being in charge of classifieds business at iMENA Group, a MENA-based venture capital fund, and Opensooq, a classifieds website, and working at Rocket Internet, a global tech start-up incubator, where he built Lamudi, Saudi Arabia’s leading real estate portal, thus earning a spot on Saudi Arabia’s Top 30 Under 30 Entrepreneurs list.
Speaking about his entrepreneurial journey, Alali says: “There is an abundance of seed funding available, especially in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, but not nearly enough experienced entrepreneurs. This being said, while there are substantial opportunities, execution remains a challenge in the region.
“The challenges are most acute in Saudi Arabia where the ecosystem struggles due to complex business and labour laws, and consumers who primarily pay for goods in cash. It is important to highlight these challenges as Saudi Arabia is by far the largest GCC market.”
Stay lean, fail often, adapt frequently, and learn on someone else’s dime – sums up his advice to entrepreneurs.
“Do everything yourself before hiring someone else to do it,” he says. “Create a minimum viable product, test the market and adapt it quickly. This will ensure that you are not working in the dark and that you are constantly incorporating your customers’ feedback.
“If you don’t have experience in an industry that you want to start a business in, join a start-up in that industry as an employee. This is a risk-free way of gaining valuable experience and insight before taking the plunge into something that you don’t fully understand.”
Prior to joining the tech start-up space, Khalid was a consultant at McKinsey & Company.
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