A group of Lebanese social entrepreneurs understand the importance of family life. They also know that in today’s modern world, it has become increasingly difficult to balance work and home life. Which is why they decided to create an innovative solution for parents who do have to put their children in daycares or kindergartens — a solution that enables both parents and caregivers to keep an eye on children’s progression, giving both a platform for communication and interaction. We talk to the entrepreneurs behind the DayCare Channel about how they got their idea, their participation in the MIT Enterprise Forum Competition for Arab Startups, and what inspires them in the Arab World.
What inspires you in the Arab World?
Our true inspiration is the way we (Arabs) value family life and that’s exactly why we’re launching DaycareChannel.
Why did you apply for this competition?
We are all lifelong learners and we truly believe that we can professionally improve in our careers by connecting and learning from people around us. One of our team members has previously participated in executive programs organized by MIT and we truly valued their learning experience. You can easily notice the MIT experience in this competition! it has an excellent reputation for being a great place where you can find great people to learn from.
What impact does participating have?
In addition to learning about other ideas and interacting with smart and experienced people, the MIT competition helped us to understand more about our product and its real value. We think that we know more about our own product than what we knew a few weeks ago. It is kind of like applying a disciplined entrepreneurship that follows a systematic approach to get the best out of creativity. In addition, a similar competition with a great track record is certainly a hot seat for regional and international media exposure.
In your opinion, what are some of the benefits of such competitions in the region?
MIT or similar competitions are kind of bridging different worlds especially that today the whole world is a single market. So this is a very nice event where you meet US instructors, Arab entrepreneurs and others where they all think globally. We found ourselves part of an entrepreneurial group of different Arab countries that gives us hope and momentum at a time where almost all our countries are being destabilized.
How did you prepare for the competition?
It was a bit challenging because we do need to follow up on our daily project activities as well. Our team consists of 5 people, and we met regularly and discussed every single request in details. We also appreciated the help we got from the assigned coach – it is indeed a great idea and we encourage future participants to benefit as much as they can from their coach.
In what sectors would you like to see improvement in the Middle East?
We would say communication and open borders! Imagine if we can travel from a country to another without spending a week to get a visa. That’s definitely going to speed up the economic growth in our countries. The same concept applies for communication and specifically wireless communication where you would be able to use the same phone all over the Arab countries without paying a fortune for roaming. Practically speaking it consists of putting in place an Arab Union that’s similar to European Union (with the exception of common monetary system).
What does Daycare channel hope to accomplish in the next year and a half?
DaycareChannel helps parents to learn more about their kids daily activities. Today most parents know about their friends activities through social media more than their own kids who spend their day at kindergartens. DaycareChannel connects 6,000 families to their kids in real-time. We hope to connect 20,000 families by 2016. Our reward is also emotional especially when you talk to a dad or a mom who’s enjoying our app – It is about putting a smile on dad or mom’s face!
Are you a parent who has children in daycare or kindergarten? What do you think about this app idea? Let us know in the comments below!