Ooredoo today announced the extension of its successful incubation programme to Myanmar with the launch of a new ICT innovation programme in Myanmar, as part of its ambitious efforts to foster grassroots innovation through local entrepreneurship across the Middle East, North Africa, and Southeast Asia.
Ooredoo has already successfully developed business incubation initiatives across many markets, including Ooredoo Algeria’s tStart and iStart; Indosat’s Ideabox in Indonesia; and Ooredoo Tunisiana’s Start-up Factory in Tunisia.
Each of these incubation programmes aim to bring to market a new range of disruptive services and applications, while empowering entrepreneurs through the creation and cross-fertilization of an innovation ecosystem.
As part of its ambition to enable human growth, Ooredoo supports initiatives that foster greater entrepreneurialism, especially amongst young people. Its incubation programmes were launched to enable skills development and enhance youth employability, and also to stimulate local mobile innovation, by supporting apps and new business ideas in the national languages of those countries.
To spread the positive impact to its newest market, Myanmar, Ooredoo has joined hands with Singapore-based online start-up platform Silicon Straits, and Australian-based accelerator Pollenizer to launch the ICT innovation programme called IdeaBox.
Dr. Nasser Marafih, Group CEO, Ooredoo, said: “Across our markets, local entrepreneurs are developing innovative ICT programmes and mobile apps, but often do not have the resources to bring these to market or scale their solutions. Our innovation and incubation programmes provide expertise, funding, and exposure to develop entrepreneurialism at the grassroots level. We aim to support local businesses via these flagship developments, and to provide inspiring role models of success to encourage human growth through innovation, with the potential to impact millions of lives across our markets.”
In expanding the incubation programme to Myanmar with IdeaBox, Ooredoo is using best practices from existing markets, and leveraging partnerships with major research and educational institutions, to support Myanmar’s entrepreneurial community from day one.
In Myanmar, fewer than 10 percent of the population has a mobile phone. However, in the coming six months, Ooredoo will roll out a world-class 3G mobile network with affordable and life-enhancing value-added services, which is expected to boost entrepreneurship.
By adding a start-up support programme to its existing network investment, Ooredoo believes it can tap into a wealth of young talent that is eager to deploy mobile technology to develop new businesses and kick-start social development.
The cornerstone of Ooredoo Myanmar’s IdeaBox is the four-to-six-month incubation and acceleration initiative, which provides seed funding, office space, resources and mentoring up to the value up of US$100k for start-up companies to invest in connected offices, digital specialists, and mobile advertising.
IdeaBox also supports developer and design skill courses, entrepreneur training, hackathons, developer bootcamps, and mentorship networking.
Myanmar’s best young developers will shortly come together as part of the “Code for Change Myanmar” initiative, to compete and demonstrate their programming skills in the country’s first hackathon, held in partnership with Ooredoo Myanmar, the World Bank, and the media training non-profit InterNews.
Ross Cormack, CEO, Ooredoo Myanmar, said: “We have a fully-integrated strategy for supporting innovation, development and sustainable economic growth across our operations in Myanmar, with a particular focus on young people, women and rural communities. We believe we can make a significant economic impact on the country’s 65 million people.”
Ooredoo Algeria and Algeria’s National Agency for the Development of SMEs, have made a positive impact with tStart and iStart. Since its launch, tStart has supported five start-ups and enabled Ooredoo Algeria’s Training Institute to provide training to 1,000 students at 15 universities and business schools. iStart supports a range of initiatives, including Algeria’s first mobile app store, “The GeekFtour” developer summit, and developer training.
Ooredoo Tunisiana’s Start-up Factory, is Tunisia’s first end-to-end support programme supporting numerous active start-ups, and is now expanding with an Innovation and Business Hub, in partnership with the Qatar Friendship Fund, to transform the local ICT ecosystem and inspire more young people to become entrepreneurs.
Indosat is investing in ICT start-ups with a 120-day acceleration programme supported by global venture capitalist and accelerator Mountain Partners. Every six months in Indonesia, IdeaBox will give USD 15,000 in seed funding to three-to-five mobile app start-ups. Indosat’s Wireless Innovation Contest (IWIC) has also been fostering local entrepreneurship over the last eight years and recently joined forces with the Jakarta Founders Institute to increase support and mentoring.
In the coming months, Ooredoo will continue to develop its ICT incubation programmes across its markets, and further cross-pollinate markets with the latest technological innovations.
Ooredoo is a leading international communications company delivering mobile, fixed, broadband internet and corporate managed services tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses across markets in the Middle East, North Africa and South-East Asia. As a community-focused company, Ooredoo is guided by its vision of enriching people’s lives and its belief that it can stimulate human growth by leveraging communications to help people achieve their full potential. Ooredoo has a presence in markets such as Qatar, Kuwait, Oman, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Palestine, the Maldives and Indonesia. The company was named “Best Mobile Operator of the Year” 2013 at the World Communication Awards.
Ooredoo reported revenues of $9.3 billion U.S. dollars in 2012 and had a consolidated global customer base of more than 92.9 million people as of 31 December 2012. Ooredoo’s shares are listed on the Qatar Exchange and the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange.