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Mobile Applications Development Initiative Winners Announced - 12 February, 2013

Ramallah: Paltel Group Foundation for Community Development, in collaboration with the Palestine Information & Communications Technology Incubator (PICTI) and under the patronage of the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MoTIT), has announced the winners of 2012 “Mobile Applications Development Initiative” in a ceremony held at the headquarters of Jawwal. The ceremony was also attended by Her Excellency Dr. Safaa Nasir Din, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology (MoTIT), Dr. Sabri Saidam, Presidential Adviser for Telecommunications and Information Technology, Ammar Aker, CEO of Paltel Group, Hassan Qassem, Chairman (PICTI), Samah Abu Aoun Hamad, General Manager of Paltel Group Foundation, along with a number of technology sector companies and business students.
The initiative aimed at creating new opportunities in the mobile phone sector in Palestine through which capacity building programs in universities were delivered and mobile applications were developed. It also aimed at supporting projects and ideas from school and university students aged (13-25) years in the mobile applications area. Furthermore, five top projects were selected and presented to the audience.

Dr. Safaa Nasser Din, Minister of MoTIT, highlighted the importance of social responsibility of the private sector in contributing to the society development and upholding its perseverance, especially in light of the current financial crisis. Nasser Din added that the focus should be on the youth segment through engaging them in projects that boost creativity and innovation. The minister also thanked Paltel Group for this initiative, which will be hopefully regarded as a means to encourage youth to follow such initiatives, and for institutions to contribute to educating highly productive and creative students for their community benefits.

Dr. Sabri Saidam, Presidential Adviser for Communications and Information Technology, affirmed that this competition is the clearest evidence yet of Paltel Group’s commitment to supporting young innovators. He, hence, praised the development of Telecommunications and Information Technology sector, while referring to the need to take further action towards a knowledge-based society. Dr. Saidam drew attention to the growing technology community, calling on the relevant authorities to start implementing initiatives that contribute to the advancement of this sector.

Hassan Qassem, Chairman of (PICTI), spoke about the broad participation in the competition which consisted of a total of (93) projects. He also praised the group’s support of (PICTI) in general and described the technology sector as being the perfect field for graduates to find job opportunities and for offering products marketable at international scale.

Qassem also called for joining and coordinating all efforts to continue developing the Telecommunications and Information Technology sector and to highlight the innovative and creative side of the Palestinian people.

On his part, Ammar Aker, CEO of Paltel Group, pointed out that this initiative comes within the framework of our commitment to our social responsibility towards the Palestinian society, and to support young people and new graduates in youth employment challenge, to contribute to the development prospects of technological education among students as well as reducing the digital gap. He also added that Paltel Group, in partnership with (PICTI), have succeeded through this initiative to set up specialized courses enabling talented people to develop their skills and programs and maintain property rights within high standards and in cooperation with experienced people in IT field.

Aker, moreover, stated that the Group is mostly interested in developing mobile applications projects to enrich IT sector and to open actual job opportunities for young people to support the Palestinian economy in general, and the youth in particular. He also pointed to the importance of mobile applications in expanding mobile potentials and abilities and providing users on a daily basis with services at the social and professional levels.

Noting the heavy spread of mobile applications recently, after the fast spread of smart phones and the ever-increasing use of them among people in different fields and of all ages, Aker announced that Jawwal has bought two of the winning applications which succeeded in drawing the company’s attention. Furthermore, he affirmed that investing in mobile applications, services and developed games simulates the increased use of smart phones’ applications which have become one of the daily work and users requirements.

On her part, Samah Abu Aoun Hamad, General Manager of Paltel Group Foundation, stated “we launched mobile applications initiative in (2012) which was publicized through different media such as local newspapers, the means of social media, Group companies’ websites as well as through posters in various universities. Requests were submitted electronically reaching (92) requests. Moreover, a competent assessment committee was formed from Jawwal, PICTI, Al-Tareq Company for System Development – Gaza Strip, and iConnect Company – West Bank, and it had served to ensure an unbiased sorting of the applications before primarily selecting the top (35) projects.”

Abu Aoun Hamad added that the second round of the evaluation, including presentations of projects was held for students of IT and computer engineering from various universities. They were asked to vote through SMS; (30%) of the votes were for the audience whereas the remaining (70%) were for the committee’s evaluation. As a result, the top (20) projects were primarily chosen, noting that those with the winning projects were offered financial assistance and specialized training courses to facilitate and motivate them to market their business. She also stated that mobile applications initiative will continue in the coming years in order to encourage talent and creativity in Palestine.

It is worth to mention that PG Foundation is an independent non-profit organization founded by Paltel Group in (2008) as a direct response to the growing needs of the Palestinian society. The foundation is the first of its kind; corporate-supported foundation focusing on youth empowerment by providing equal opportunities to all segments of society.