RIYADH: As female executives and entrepreneurs rise in the wake of recent social reforms in Saudi Arabia, ambitious women need to network and develop their skills and talents.
Playbook, a female-centric social media platform launched in August 2021, meets this demand.
Founder Wafa Al-Obaidat is an award-winning serial entrepreneur and social media figure. “We pivoted to develop a technology-based platform to pave the way for growth and inclusion,” Al-Obaidat told Arab News.
Playbook, which currently has 12,000 members, describes itself as “an edutainment entertainment platform that is redefining career progression for women.” Led by phenomenal female leaders from different industries and backgrounds, the platform says it “harnesses the power of storytelling and shared experiences to prepare women to grow through masterclasses in English and Arabic.”
As the global EdTech market grows by 30% year-over-year, Al-Obaidat noted that “disruptors entering the market with innovative solutions present a bright future for improving skills in the global pool. talent and serve emerging professions”.
The network is designed for startup founders, executives, students, and career transitioners “to empower them to design the career they want for themselves.”
Playbook allows users to create personalized profiles, highlighting their skills and professional goals. They can take multiple courses based on their interests, network with other members, find solutions to problems through crowdsourcing, and track their progress through games.
Playbook’s online community – the largest women’s social network in the Gulf region, according to Al-Obaidat – is called “The Campus”, providing access to social connections, mentors, discussions, live events and job opportunities.
In Playbook’s own words, “Members can learn to lead like a CEO, negotiate like a minister, make decisions like a board member, and solve problems like a scientist.”
Playbook’s revenue model is subscription-based for individuals and organizations, with growth fueled by $700,000 (SR2.63 million) in combined pre-seed funding in January this year from Sanabil 500 Global , Faith Capital, WomenSpark and Strategic Angel Investors.
With a staff of 12 in Riyadh and Bahrain, the company intends to deploy the funds invested in recruiting new talent, team building, content creation, platform development and marketing initiatives. .
These investors are optimistic about Playbook’s prospects and its mission to empower women in the Gulf region.
“We are proud to support startups founded by women such as Playbook which we believe have the potential to scale regionally and globally,” said Amal Dokhan, partner at 500 Global MENA, an angel fund based in Mountain View, Calif., during the announcement. of their investment.
She said Playbook “has entered the market at the right time to present a solution to the public and private sectors, as policy makers increasingly institute the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, and as more and more employment opportunities open up for women”.
Deemah Al-Yahya, Founder of Saudi Arabia-based angel investor WomenSpark, added, “We have always maintained a strong commitment to founders who share our vision for the region and beyond. Playbook helps us pursue our mission of investing in accelerating the career growth cycle of the female talent pool and building more prosperous economies.
Al-Obaidat stressed that Playbook’s activities align with the proactive policies adopted by Gulf States in recent years to enhance economic growth and quality of life through gender-balanced mandates and the adoption of the United Nations SDGs.
“Our experience told us there was a need for authentic, representative and value-driven content,” noted Al-Obaidat, who also founded Bahrain-based communications agency Obai & Hill.
Host of the ‘Woman Power’ podcast, with 100,000 listeners, she sees this as an exciting time for the Gulf with millions of women entering the workforce and many vertical employment and leadership opportunities opening up, indicating “that the region is now poised to fast-track women’s development through well-defined policies, career opportunities and training needs analysis.
Al-Obaidat said Playbook intends to “enable more women to tap into their unlocked potential, create a stronger network of female founders, and encourage students to understand the jobs of the future, while creating a community of mentors and mentees who can rise to the challenges they face.”