10 digital education startups in the MENA region

SOURCE: Business Chief

Business Chief takes a closer look at Sharjah Entrepreneurship Centre (Sheraa's), shortlist of 10 digital education startups in the MENA region.

“At Sheraa, entrepreneurs are at the heart of everything we do. Launched in 2016, Sheraa’s mandate is to curate the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sharjah, and support founders as they build high-impact businesses that serve as engines for socio-economic development,” comments Najla Al Midfa, CEO, Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa).

“Since inception, we are proud to have graduated over 100 startups that have raised over $50M in investment and provided over 600 jobs. We also host the annual Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SEF), which aims to inspire the next generation of global changemakers and annually attracts an audience of over 3,000 attendees from around the world.”

Reflecting on the current startup landscape within the MENA region Al Midfa explains that “although precise statistics on venture creation do not exist, the dynamism of the MENA’s growing digital economy can really be felt. There are more startups receiving funding — for example, Magnitt reported $704 million in total funding across 564 investments in 2019.”

“The significant increase in startup events, incubators, and accelerators, as well as the education sector incorporating entrepreneurship courses in schools and universities reflects a maturing entrepreneurship ecosystem. With Sheraa’s hubs located in University City, we also see education institutions playing a much stronger role in cultivating entrepreneurial skills than in the past, with the inclusion of entrepreneurship in educational curricula producing a generation of talented young founders, keen to take the future into their own hands to generate positive change,” he adds.

With this in mind we take a look at 10 of Sheraa’s digital startups within digital education to watch out for in the next few years.

Arabic Digital Reform Institute (ADRI)

Arabic Digital Reform Institute (ADRI) is an Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) system for open access research. The system searches for research in english and translates them into Arabic, as well as correcting literal and formatting issues.

Founded: 2019 

Based: Bahrain 

Founders: Muna Abusulayman, Ali Mazraeh, Dave Moskovitz, Laurence Ingle, Michael


Abjjad is one of the first Arabic social networks for readers, authors and bloggers in the Middle East. The site enables readers to create a virtual library, as well as rate, review and enrich author pages with related information. 

Founded: 2012 

Based: Jordan

Founders: Eman Hylooz, Tamim Al Manaseer 


Almentor.net is an e-learning and professional development platform. The network offers video courses and talks in Arabic and English for people in the MIddle East and Africa.

Founded: 2018 

Based: United Arab Emirates 

Founders: Abdelrahman Fahmy, Hesham Heikal, Husni Khuffash, Ibrahim Kamel, Ihab Fikry 


Kotobna, is a self-publishing platform, providing the ability to publish, promote, sell and access readers directly without a medium.

Founded: 2014

Based: Egypt 

Founders: Mohammad Gamal 

Kitab Sawti

Kitab Sawti is one of the largest Arabic audiobooks library in the world. Kitab Sawti provides audiobooks and podcasts to users via a mobile app.

Founded: 2016 

Based: United Arab Emirates 

Founders: Sebastian Bond 


Arabee is an interactive, comprehensive and progressive multi format Arabic language program. The program was designed to to Arabic to children in a fun and interactive way.

Founded: 2017 

Based: United Arab Emirates 

Founders: Saeed Basweidan, Ferakh Lakhany 


Bobu provides a unified and simplified software solution for book publishers to design mobile apps and games for children. It allows book publishers to convert books into interactive e-books.

Founded: 2019 

Based: Turkey 

Founders: Izzet Bogazliyanlioglu, Muhammet Ozmen 


Englease strives to positively impact the lives of millions by providing them with the most affordable and relevant English learning tools. 

Features of the platform include: live, online, unlimited and certified english classes, 16 hours a day, 6 days a week by bilingual teachers (Arabic and English).

Founded: 2019 

Based: United Arab Emirates 

Founders: Omar Chihane 

Little Thinking Minds

Little Thinking Minds is a leader in education technology. The company creates advanced Arabic language digital solutions and platforms to improve the learning outcomes for school children in the MENA region and beyond. 

Founded: 2005 

Based: United Arab Emirates

Founders: Lamia Tabbaa, Rama Kayyali 

We Love Reading

We Love Reading is an international organisation that aims to foster a love for reading among children, by encouraging adults to read aloud to children to empower them with the mindset of ‘I can’.

Founded: 2010 

Based: Jordan 

Founders: Dr. Rana Dajani

Do you want more in-depth research on the MENA VC & startup ecosystem? Purchase our 2019 MENA Venture Investment Report HERE

Source: middleeast.businesschief.com