Awards seek to spur Gulf talent
Manama, March 25, 2014
Creative minds across Bahrain and the region are being encouraged to take part in a new platform to support and display their work in an effort to cut unemployment.
Gulf Awwwards is a new online portal which seeks to reward creativity through five categories - website design and development, mobile app design and development, art design, photography and graphic design, said a report in the Gulf Daily News (GDN), our sister publication.
It has been developed by Manama-based Cohen International Group (TCIG) chief executive Hyder Cohen and Gulf Awwwards executive director Majd Hejair and will be officially launched in May during an event under the patronage of Capital Governor Shaikh Hisham bin Abdulrahman Al Khalifa.
"This is the one and only creative platform where people can showcase their work in the Gulf," Hejair told the GDN.
"We want to give youth and creative minds the chance to gain confidence.
"As our parent company, TCIG designs apps and websites, we have experience in the area.
"When we try to look to employ people today, many people aren't turning towards Bahrainis.
"Local talent is available, but it's harder to find.
"We want to bring these people out of the shadows and into the light.
"We're hoping to decrease unemployment in the creative sector by a third within five years."
It is believed the website could be a way for those who are just beginning to dip a toe into the world of business and jumpstart their careers.
"We are working with a lot of industry contacts, not just in Bahrain, but across the region to make this successful," said Hejair.
"We want to be able to award internships and scholarships to the winners.
"We would send people to creative institutions both locally and regionally, and allow people to work within their field to get a grasp of the job."
The businessman said those who wished to apply could do so online by filling in a form and attaching the relevant information.
"We are focusing on Gulf talent, but we have not set a nationality requisite," he said.
"However, if those applying are not Gulf nationals, then they have to at least be launching their platform from the Gulf.
"There's no upper age limit, but you have to be at least 18 years old to apply."
The platform had a soft launch in October, and has since had almost 2,000 submissions.
"We have 40 judges on board throughout the Gulf and even in Beirut, Lebanon and Egypt," he said.
"Initially, our in-house team filters through the admissions, and then passes those onto the relevant judges.
"The judges make their decisions and it's put onto the website for people to look at and vote.
"The final decisions are made using both the judges and the viewer's choices."
However, Hejair admitted the project's creators had found it challenging convincing people of the project's validity.
"We want to have 1,000 users by the end of April," he said.
"So far there's a lot of interest in the big companies, but especially in universities and schools." - TradeArabia News Service