Anas Rajab is a Palestinian currently living in Jordan. Like many of his friends he is passionate about technology and has a flair for building websites. Anas recently launched an online business known as ElMzad, which is unique because it is the first Arabic domain and website auction platform which also supports the English language. He recently secured investment for his business from a Palestinian company for $50,000.
The idea came from a graduation project which Anas had been working on during his computer engineering degree whilst he was studying at Islamic University of Gaza 6 years ago. Anas was frustrated that he was always using English platforms to trade website and domain names, but that none fully supported the Arabic language. This limited his client base and also stopped him from negotiating a good price because it was difficult to get an overview of the market for Arabic domain names and websites.
He found that many Arabic domain and website name owners were trading on informal platforms such as social media and forums. This made it difficult to make contact with users, to securely validate payments and transfers or even to verify ownership of the product. Anas decided it would be useful to create a platform to collect all the Arabic domain name and website owners in one place in order to professionalise the market. After mentoring and training from SPARK, Anas launched his platform ElMzad, which means auction in Arabic. A tester launch of the website where Anas sold more 10 website domains in three months proved the early success of the idea. Anas predicts that further success will come from the growth in investment from the Gulf regions. Data from 2014 shows that over 10 million Arabic websites were sold that year, so this is an exciting time to be involved to be in the industry. Anas has, of course faced many challenges including opening a bank account. It has taken him over three months to open a bank account for a company registered in Palestine. Anas also hopes to register the business in the Netherlands, because he is struggling to find a suitable online payment system and this will be easier to set-up with an EU address. Anas has a strong business plan which will match his business growth – for instance offering free listings until his website becomes more popular. Anas hopes to build his business and already employees three people who represent the business in Egypt and Dubai.
What is your personal ambition?
To live with goals to achieve, to continue to have a passion for change and to continue to travel.
What impact do you see your business making?
All entrepreneurs in Palestine hope to make the world know more about Palestine and business from there, not just that Palestine equals war or some humanitarian things. So the Palestinians have great minds and are doing great jobs. Most of the heads of programmes for large companies such as Microsoft are from Palestine. It shows how hard working Palestinians are.
How do you see the future of your business?
I want to be the number one domain trading company and through this hope to support more Arabic online products generally. I also aspire to create more remote jobs for young Palestinians from the increased Arabic web use.