Content creator Maisa Al-Khdair is in love with Arabic words and their poetic feel. With a deep-rooted belief in their impact, she was rather astonished with the lack of this content on digital platforms.
With the aim of spreading her love for her work and promoting the Arabic language, she decided to co-create Anwan alongside her brother Amr Al-Khdair, a Jordanian startup dedicated to shed a spotlight on the language while helping young writers perfect their craft.
The Story of Anwan as an EdTech Startup
Anwan, the plural for the Arabic word “Noon”, which means “inkwell”, was the inspiration behind the startup’s name.
To Maisa Al-Khdair, the written word is more than just a couple of letters littered across screens, books, and papers. She believes that it is rooted with tremendous power and possibilities. As a Jordanian, and a Middle Eastern before all else, she grew up reading classic works of many writing virtuosos. It was no surprise when their books filled her with a deep love and appreciation towards Arabic words.
“There’s something unique about the Arabic language. It evokes feelings no other language in the world can.” Following her passion, she decided to work as a content creator and share her own words to the world.
However, the more she took part in the world of online content, the more she uncovered gaps in Arabic content such as low quality of available content online, and the lack of professional writing tools among young writers.
“I knew Arabic content might be less abundant compared to other languages, but I never expected to see such disparity,” admitted Al-Khdair.
After much deliberation, she decided to create Anwan, to encourage people who share her love for writing and Arabic to spread their work for everyone to see.
Let’s Talk About Anwan
“Anwan is a passion project,” explains Al-Khdair. “My brother and I worked together to create this startup with the goal of teaching people the needed skills to turn their love for writing into a career.” In the Middle East, spotlight careers tend to be in the fields of medicine, pharmacy, engineering etc. while careers like writing wither in the dark.
However, writing is as rewarding as any of the aforementioned. It requires creativity of thought, organization, and knowledge. Contrary to popular belief, it is not a piece of cake, which explains why sometimes you might stumble upon low quality works online. Bearing all of this in mind, Al-Khdair wanted Anwan to be a platform that provides writing enthusiasts with the skills they need to perfect their talent.
Anwan tends to work as an EdTech startup, and currently allows users to read lessons on content creation that are available free on the website, and provides them a free space to implement their writing. It also guides them through the right writing process, with the help of an editorial team that checks their submitted work and provides them with feedback to perfect their writing before publishing online.
The founders want to expand in the near future by providing an online course in content creation and establishing an online marketplace, to work on projects. In such a way, Anwan would fulfill one of its main goals in empowering young writers and providing them with opportunities in Jordan and beyond. The content industry has huge potential in the region and is one that needs to be further explored.
The startup’s website is filled with pieces by several authors across various fields from art to health to technology, all serving one common goal: to strengthen the Arabic presence online and help people turn their passion to a career.
Being a Female Entrepreneur
Today, we hear stories of women taking leadership roles and redefining their position and importance amidst society.
“Being a female entrepreneur, who has turned her passion into reality means a lot of things,” admitted Al-Khdair. “It means hope, strength, and above all, that nothing is impossible if you’ve got the right mindset.”
The young entrepreneur prides herself in her work ethics, perseverance, and determination. She explains that these are key qualities to changing the game as many other women have been successfully doing these in the past few years.
Anwan and The Tank by Umniah
Guidance is always appreciated whether one has years of experience or none at all. Before building plans for their startup, Anwan sought Umniah’s incubator, the Tank. Recalling their experience, Al-Khdair stated that the Tank has helped them in various ways: developing their business plan and objectives, coming up with their financial schemes, and understanding their legal presence. In addition, networking opportunities helped them grow and expand further.
According to Al-Khdair, it takes a great deal of courage and determination to turn your passion into your career. Whether that involves creating a startup or content for people to see, everyone has got the courage needed, they are only hesitant to act on it.
“Go after your passions. It’s okay to be afraid, but don’t let that stand in the way of your next success story.”