Launched in 2011, the edtech has announced ambitious expansion plans following its latest investment.
Kuwait-based EdTech startup Dawra will soon expand into Saudi Arabia, the culmination of months of effort following an undisclosed round raised in March 2021. Founded in 2011 by Mohammad Al Suraya and Yousef Bonashi, Dawrat capitalized on the increasing demand for a skilled workforce in the MENA region, offering more than 10,000 Arabic-language courses tailored to young people interested in entrepreneurship.
With their expansion into Saudi Arabia, they’re set to make education more accessible throughout the region. “The mindset of young people here in Kuwait and the rest of the region has been changed. Most of them have been looking to tap into the startup industry and to start to create their own businesses, which requires a lot of skills to develop," Al Suraya, co-founder and CEO of Dawrat, says. "Every country in the GCC now has its own development strategy, including KSA, so there's a need for skilled laborers to support these strategies. Saudi Arabia has the fastest execution plan. So it definitely makes sense to expand there.”
The MENA EdTech market is largely untapped, despite forecasts that see its value rise to $7 billion by 2027. Most investment deals happen at the early stage level. Scaling has proved to be one of the most difficult challenges in the region - one which Dawrat is rapidly overcoming. Yet there are more challenges they must address. “The lack of recognition and accreditation for online learning is the main challenge that we are facing in the region,” Al Suraya explains. “Unlike in the US and Europe, where online learning became more recognised and known years ago, the governments here are not looking at online learning as a learning support mechanism rather than a product or professional education method.”
In spite of this cultural hurdle, the lessons of the pandemic in recent years have demonstrated a willingness by Middle Eastern nations to adapt to the digital realm. Startups like Dawra are capitalising on this cultural shift, giving themselves a solid foothold that may remain once the dust finally settles.