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When it comes to inventions and innovation, the Arab world is nothing to make fun of. During its golden age, the Arab-Muslim world was the birthplace of many sciences that have solved many of the challenging needs: Algebra, astronomy, medical science…
…and many products like Ibn Al-Haitham’s Pin-Hole Camera, Abul Hassan’s telescope, the Parachute used by Abbas Ibn Firnas, and even the Shampoo!
Due to the recognition given to the importance of knowledge and scientists, this region of the world was able to attract knowledgeable people and invest in the translation of major references from all over the world. Consider, for example, the depository of knowledge that was the House of Wisdom founded by Harun Al-Rashid in Baghdad, or the encyclopaedia of medicine and science left behind by Avicenna.
Despite its importance in economic growth and poverty alleviation, the road to innovation in the Arab World is bumpy, though it can be paved with creative products and innovative solutions that usually do not see the light of day.
One of the main reasons for this was the inexistence of a platform where innovators can learn about social, environmental, and industrial needs and challenges and work on solving them and get the fund and support they need through the market.
Till one day, a group of motivated people saw an opportunity to connect all these isolated clusters of innovators, NGOs, big multinational and entrepreneurs with the rest of the crowd!
And there was Yomken!
Yomken (“It’s Possible” in Arabic) is the only platform in the Arab region that is specialized in crowdsourcing ideas and solutions for industrial and societal challenges faced by corporate, governmental and social organizations using its own “Open-Innovation” and “CrowdSolving” model.
Yomken.com was firstly launched in 2012 in Cairo and has a vision of transforming the “fahlawa”, which is an untranslatable Arabic word that combines innovation, intuition, resourcefulness, and experience, into an economic value added.
Now, Yomken.com also has an office in Tunisia and operates in more than 4 other countries.
As Albert Einstein was once quoted “Necessity is the mother of all inventions”, thus, encouraging innovation activities (defined as introducing new products and processes and/or upgrading existing ones) in the Egyptian and Arab industrial micro and small enterprises (MSEs) would increase the comparative advantage of small and low-tech businesses, notably compared to Asian competitors. This will help alleviate poverty and fight youth unemployment, in which the Arab world scores the highest rates.
In addition, encouraging innovation in MSEs is becoming an urgent necessity, not only to create jobs for a more-skilled generation of labor, but also to save the already-existing ones, increase their value-added contribution to the economy and consequently to encourage the formalization of the MSEs who are mostly working in the informal sector which is estimated to account for up to 60% of the Egyptian economy.
Unfortunately, most of the current innovation-support programs in the Arab world supports only the top of the technology pyramid and are “technology-push” rather than “market-driven”. Therefore, fostering innovative practices in these MSEs and moving them up their value chain will transform them into a higher level of technology and innovation usage. This cannot be achieved without the collaboration of different parties, all included in Yomken’s open-innovation model.
1. The challenges faced by micro- and small enterprises (MSEs) working mainly in low-tech and informal manufacturing industries.
2. The innovative untapped ideas and skills of potential problem solvers who can easily solve such challenges in return of a financial (or moral/non-financial) reward.
3. Customers (in MENA or abroad) who are looking for innovative and authenticspan> products to buy, and at the same time, support the socio-economic empowerment of the poor.
An open-innovation platform for low-tech MSEs or NGOs working with these MSEs to post the challenges they face (publicly or anonymously) and then link them to creative solutions provided using the “wisdom of the crowd”. These challenges can vary from product development, production process optimization, usage of alternative raw material, etc. This matchmaking process is fully compliant with the standards of transparency and intellectual rights protection, as described in the platform’s Terms & Conditions.
A marketplace where innovators and creative people can post their innovative projects, patents and market researches to be linked with financial vehicles (e.g. VCs, Crowdfunding platforms and others) to get support and/or investment, as well as, other collaborators and knowledgeable people to assist in further developing their projects.
Innovation Management & Policy
Crowdsourcing Support Activities
CrowdSolving, sometimes referred to as “Open-Innovation”, is a process to make R&D affordable by getting solutions and innovations from the crowd of innovators, researchers and experts to overcome industrial, environmental and societal challenges. These innovative solutions and innovations aim to efficiently introduce new technologies and products to the market. In Yomken.com we provide Crowdsolving through a platform for local and multinational businesses, NGOs, governmental organizations, and others where they can post the challenges they face. They are then matched with creative solutions and ideas provided by the crowd and Yomken.com network of innovators.
A challenge is a well-defined problem for which your organization needs a solution. It should be specific, well-researched and calls for a measurable solution. A challenge can be used for ideas generation, finding solutions to complex technical problems, prototyping requests, conducting market studies and seeking solutions for societal and environmental problems with high impact.
One of Yomken.com main scopes is leveraging the innovation scene in the Arab world to refresh the economy productivity. This means, we support startups, small and micro enterprises that are work on manufacturing new and creative commodities. It also means that we do not support artistic projects or projects built on services provision. The products we support must also comply with our policies and terms (e.g. weapons or hazardous products cannot be featured on Yomken.com).
It depends on the stage your project is passing through. If the challenge facing your product is related to marketing and funding, then it is recommended to add it as an Innovation on our website Marketplace so that you can be connected with potential funders and collaborators. However, if your project has technical problems or design problems, like finding certain materials or finalizing a prototype, then it is recommended to submit it as a challenge and have everyone pool in to help you through our Crowdsolving platform. Finally, if your challenge is neither of these and you are an NGO with problems in R&D, then we advise you to contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org and propose your challenges to our efficient and helpful team to assist you further.
It is recommended to design an incentive relative to the target group. Study your challenge very well from all perspectives and look for what can attract the target group who can potentially solve the challenge. An incentive does not have to be monetary, as it can be in the form of a training, internship, job offer, partnership or symbolic rewards. However, if the solution to your challenge requires conducting experiments or creating prototypes, it may be a good idea to provide a budget for that as part of the reward. Therefore, the sky is the limit but the most important factor is for the incentives to be customized, matching and attractive for the targeted group.
This is a case-by-case decision based on the challenge conditions.
Yes, there are numerous services that Yomken.com offers in the field of Campaign Management. It can be as small as designing online ads for your innovation or challenge and it can be thorough to the point of designing and executing literally everything from A to Z (including the video and the photoshooting). In the latter case, all you need to focus on is manufacturing and perfecting your innovation or elaborating on your challenge so that it attracts the right solutions. You can contact us on email@example.com to know more details about the services Yomken.com offers on Campaign Management.
Yes, there are no restrictions on the number of Crowdsolving campaigns one person can post on Yomken.com.
Any of us may face industrial challenges in our work or social challenges in our community at some point, and because we know this at Yomken.com, there is no restrictive policy at all to start posting a challenge on the portal based on your affiliation. Therefore, it does not matter if you are an individual, a startup, a large company, an NGO or a governmental organisation. All that you are required to present is a clear description of your challenge and a reward for whoever will solve it. Nevertheless, this reward does not have to be provided by you, as another organisation or a company can sponsor the challenge for you.
As such, Yomken.com always seeks sponsors for the different challenges. If you want to sponsor a challenge, please, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is no geographical restriction for the users of Yomken.com. You can post a challenge or an innovation virtually from anywhere! However, the team will check during the first screening that the Challenge/Innovation can be managed outside our countries of operations. If not, you will be offered other options related to your specific case.
After submitting a Challenge or an Innovation, the team of Yomken.com carefully examines and studies your application and then you are contacted, usually within 5 working days, to be informed of the next steps depending on your application. You can edit your application any time from your profile dashboard.
Yomken.com is a website with social impact in mind and is one of the projects of Istebdaa LLC.Corp registered in Egypt. The website charges 10% of the monetary value of the reward from either the solution seeker or the sponsor of the challenge. Half of payment is made in advance and the second half after finding a solution, to guarantee the commitment of all parties. Yomken.com also provides other consulting services on innovation management and ideation processes.
The power of the crowd is our source of strength and we continuously need your support and your cooperation, notably in expanding our platform all over the world. Spreading the word about Yomken.com, by sharing the challenges and innovations posted on the platform as well as the various communications made through the social media and forwarding newsletter, is the best kind of support that we sincerely appreciate.
Also, if you want to volunteer at Yomken.com, please contact us on email@example.com with the subject of the email (Volunteering at Yomken.com) and will get back to you if a vacancy is available.