Entrepreneurship is no longer a niche topic in the region, the startup ecosystem is persistently expanding, and terms like mentorship, coaching and business advice are now becoming more and more mainstream.
Today, there are over 100 million Arab youth. Not only are these youth exceptionally interested in the internet and new technologies, but they are also more keen than ever in investing time and money in developing themselves and their personal abilities. Research shows that mobile video consumption in the MENA region is one of the fastest growing in the world, rising by 90% year on year.
AlMentor: A vision to develop people through mentoring
AlMentor.net, an online learning and professional development platform that offers video on demand courses and motivational talks, aims to capitalize on the unprecedented popularity of online video streaming in the region, and the increasing demand for personal and business development among millennials to create a solid brand that’s based on sharing the expertise and knowledge of well-known mentors and celebrities.
“We’re here to close the gap of the needed high-quality, well-structured video based digital learning courses and talks, and the tailored online courses to the local market needs in Arabic”, says Ihab Fikry, the CEO of AlMentor.net, and a management and strategic marketing coach/mentor himself, describing their brand vision.
A local take on personal development
While more than one major global brand already operate in the same market, Fikry, with his four other co-founders, launched AlMentor.net in August of 2016 to reiterate the same concept – of personal development through online video courses and talks – with a local brand that’s more aligned to the needs and culture of users in the Arab region.
AlMentor.net offers high-quality video courses, where learners can pay as they go on a course by course basis, the platform also offers free of charge motivational and informative short talks. Users get a lifetime access to the purchased courses. About 5% of the mentors recruited are celebrities, public figures and movie stars. “Most important of all, our talks and courses are mainly in Arabic!”, Fikry elaborates on the edge they have for the local market.
The brand message: Click, watch and learn
AlMentor is tailoring a learning model that’s based on a combination of technology, media and knowledge, trying to achieve a learning environment that’s fun, easy to use, and premenantely available anywhere through the user’s online library on the website. Fikry sums it up saying, “all what you need to do is click, watch and learn. This is our key message “click .. watch .. learn”.
AlMentor recruits a variety of mentors, public speakers, celebrities, and sportsmen, covering a diverse range of topics including, in addition to business and career development, fashion, sports, raising children, and even cooking. The platform owns its own studios and quiet rooms, as well as a media production team, for filming their high-quality educational video content.
Building brand awareness, and maintaining brand attachment
Building brand awareness for the platform is not the only challenge AlMentor has to deal with, educating their target audience about the usage model itself is another tough challenge. “While we have no big issues with class A and upper class B of the average Arab youth to understand and easily deal with our platform, however the majority of bottom class B and upper class C still need to know what this is”, Fikry says. “How to buy? What to watch? My internet connection is weak! Can I apply for a job with this certificate?”, he further elaborates.
Fikry counts on brand attachment to achieve long term business growth. “Once you have your library on almentor.net with your assets (paid courses) in it, you’ll be always with us. … with each and every question and answer (you get) back from your mentor, you’ll be more attached”, he explains. According to him, AlMentor witnessed a huge spike in engagement from users in Q4 of 2017, exceeding any of their expectations. The team is now expecting that the year 2018 will witness an even more significant demand for high-quality Arabic video learning content. They’re anticipating the digital learning industry to boom, and they hope they can invest more in the future to digitize whatever people may call a learning experience.