Several Middle Eastern startups are working to provide products and services for children and parents in the region. With a focus on everything from teaching reading proficiency to helping parents find a babysitter, here are seven Middle Eastern startups that were created with kids in mind:
Hello World Kids
Jordanian entrepreneur Hanan Khader created her startup, Hello World Kids, with the goal of teaching programming skills to 1 million children by 2020. To this end, the company has developed a unique school curriculum that teaches kids between the ages of 8 and 12 how to program computers and mobile applications—a topic usually reserved for higher education. Looking to turn the youngest Internet users into creators, Hello World Kids is working to provide students with the tools that they need to pursue their ambitions and find good jobs as adults.
Hello World Kids offers programming curricula at four levels, starting with beginning skills and progressing to include more diverse programming languages and advanced concepts. Using interactive learning techniques, the startup helps kids develop skills that will enable them to build websites and mobile applications.
Headquartered in Tel Aviv, Israel, Toya hopes to inspire girls to achieve their dreams by introducing them to exceptional role models. Leveraging more than two decades of experience with design and filmmaking, founders Yifat Anzelevich and Anat Shperling have created an array of fun, creative digital games.
Building on the Minecraft platform, Toya allows girls to become the heroes of their own multi-layer games. For example, the startup has developed a “Save the Gorillas” game in which players can explore a Minecraft jungle as a gorilla researcher. In addition, Toya’s games introduce girls to the stories of real-life inspirational women.
Formerly known as Mini Exchange, Sprii is one of the most prominent child-oriented shopping websites in the Middle East. The startup, which serves clients in five Middle Eastern countries, helps parents (and parents-to-be) find everything that they need for their kids at a discounted price. Sprii provides these deals by collaborating with retailers and other sellers that are looking to sell products from previous seasons. With thousands of brands represented on the site, shoppers can easily browse for items and even price-match products. Sprii offers free shipping on its entire stock, making it hassle-free for parents to buy clothing, toys, diapers, and other essentials for their children.
Based in Jordan, Alhodhud helps young Arabic children learn to read by providing entertaining educational tools. The startup has created its learning platform for use in schools, which receive teaching exercises for pen and paper, tablets, and even smartboards. Children gain the opportunity to enhance their reading and writing skills by playing fun games. In addition, instructors can modify each of Alhodhud’s learning tools to accommodate the unique needs of their students. This makes it easier for children to develop and master critical language skills at an early age.
Parents who need to find a reliable babysitter for their children should look no further than Jaleesa, which provides “trusted child care on demand” to parents in Lebanon. Through Jaleesa’s website, the startup provides parents with a number of tools to help them find a caring, trustworthy professional who’s right for their children. Jaleesa also offers an intro package that allows parents to test out and interview six different sitters before choosing their favorite. During the process, they can also browse through reviews from other users and chat with prospective babysitters. In addition, Jaleesa vets all of its childcare specialists by running background checks, conducting interviews, and putting them through training.
Named one of Forbes’ “Top 100 Startups in the Arab World 2017,” Lamsa is a mobile application that provides educational content for toddlers and pre-school aged children. Since 2012, the startup has been creating interactive videos, animated stories, and games for Arabic children that both teach them in their mother language and help them learn about their culture.
Available through both the Android and iOS stores, Lamsa combines education and fun in all its content. The startup also adds new content every week, so that young users stay engaged.
Little Thinking Minds
Little Thinking Minds has been creating quality educational media for young children since its inception in 2005. Two former television producers came together to establish the startup after recognizing a lack of educational content for Arabic children. Designed specifically for children aged 7 and younger, Little Thinking Minds develops interactive media to help Middle Eastern children learn reading, basic math, and other skills.
The startup has released its educational media in a variety of forms, ranging from DVDs to online games. Little Thinking Minds is also well known for its mobile applications created for different age groups and skill levels. One such app, Ghani, helps babies and toddlers develop their vocabulary with music and colorful illustrations. Little Thinking Minds has also built an app for pre-school age children. Using interactive scenery, the game teaches young children about counting and vocabulary.