Tell us about your startup?
arabee is a fun, interactive, Arabic language program for children. Fully developed in the UAE, arabee teaches all four skills: reading, writing, listening, and speaking for all learner types whether its visual, auditory, or kinaesthetic.
Learning Arabic is mandatory for children in the UAE, but some are not making satisfactory progress and don’t enjoy learning the language, especially non-native speakers. We decided that there must be a better way. After conducting thorough research, we constructed our program based on a combination of training methods – first and foremost, fun.
Our biggest supporters are the schools, teachers and management who are honest in their feedback to us and allow us access so we can see for ourselves how arabee is working and being received by both teachers and students.
We built the arabee Family App in response to students wanting a structured, curriculum-based program at home which teaches Arabic in a fun way.
arabee was born in 2017 and launched its school program in 2018 signing nine schools in just six weeks and has an 89% retention. Now, arabee is being used by more than 8000 students demonstrating that the online platform is a valuable teaching tool for distance learning. Part of the new “Edtech” genre, we use modern techniques based on scientifically proven research such as ACTFL, CEFR and Cambridge teaching methodologies. These are embedded within the structure and content of the programme culminating in progressive learning with maximum retention for students.
What inspired you to take a leap of faith and become an entrepreneur?
Frustration! We are parents, linguists and educators who are part of a huge community whose children, family and friends have been affected by the lack of attainment in Arabic. There seemed to be a disconnect between the time spent studying Arabic and the amount of language retained.
Knowing the right people who shared the vision of making teaching and learning Arabic fun and easy gave us the confidence to start on this journey together. We are on a mission to transform the way Arabic language is delivered through a structured programme that provides children with a fun learning experience, ensuring maximum language retention.
Congratulations on the launch of arabee Class and the arabee Family App – please tell us about them and the gap they aim to fill?
At the beginning of term, teachers realized that in addition to home learning, they needed to assign activities in class as children can no longer sit on the mat and use the interactive white board due to COVID-19 regulations governing teaching in classrooms. So arabee Class was conceived, developed, and rolled out in just three weeks.
The Family App has been a long time coming. Families are desperate for a fun, engaging Arabic language programme which they can do at home. The app has easy to navigate features and children can learn and play without adult supervision and has no ads. The app offers a variety of activities including fun videos, sing along songs, interactive games, and digital reading books.
Additionally, in the current pandemic, there has been an increase in demand for online learning and extracurricular activities. arabee has proven to be an easy to use solution for parents supporting independent learning for children.
What attracted you to Abu Dhabi/Hub71?
Hub71 provides a collaborative community, state-of-the-art facilities, and generous incentives through its Incentive Programme. It is establishing a foundation for innovative tech companies to gain opportunities in global markets.
Hub71 in Abu Dhabi was the logical next step for the company’s expansion. arabee is tackling a major challenge for the country – learning Arabic. The Arabic language is an essential part of the UAE’s culture and heritage, and it will be lost if we do not come up with innovative ways of teaching it.
Being relatively new to Hub71, how has the community added value to your business?
Community day was lovely. We met other entrepreneurs, some of whom we had already connected with virtually. Being part of a community is important as being an entrepreneur can sometimes be lonely and having any extra support is always helpful. We are all on a journey and having people who are experiencing similar challenges around to talk to and bounce ideas off is important and beneficial.
We already made some connections during the lunch and discussed a potential collaboration with Key2enable.
What’s next for arabee?
arabee has already made inroads in improving Arabic provisions in schools. We spent a lot of time and effort developing the programme and ensuring its effectiveness. Now we want to expand and make a positive impact in more children’s lives. Promoting the Family App is a priority so we can meet our forecasted goals and achieve our KPI’s.
It is only by fixing each part of the process, one by one, that we will transform the Arabic education landscape. We are building assessments and teacher training programs as part of our commitment to building an ecosystem and contributing toward improving the standard of Arabic in the UAE and beyond.
Ultimately, we intend to achieve our mission, which is aligned to the 2021 vision of the UAE leadership, and enable children to learn the Arabic language, preserving the traditions of the past and empowering the youth of tomorrow.