Joining the conversation
Indeed, this desire to be part of a region-wide conversation is pushing the creation of specialised networking sites for the region itself – with the help of its Western counterpart, of course. Tasmeem Middle East (tasmeemme.com) is the first professional regional online networking site dedicated to creative talent, which couples service providers with service seekers. “Freelancing and outsourcing across the Middle East is still in its infant stages, especially in the creative industry,” says Noor el-Fadl, one of the brains behind TasmeemME. “With the tremendous increase in talent in fields such as design, writing, film, photography, music, architecture and programming; creative experts have not been able to easily connect with opportunities across the region to export their skills.”
TasmeemME, el-Fadl says, therefore, was created to easily match job or project opportunities with a service provider, thus eliminating the middleman. “We allow companies and individuals to share their work, find the right talent to help get a project done, and interact with fellow designers. All of this makes our presence on social networking sites crucial.”
For a startup project with a limited budget, TasmeemME took advantage of social platforms that helped to spread the word at minimal cost. Facebook was especially useful, since the team could capitalise on their personal network – and the networks of friends – to help spread the word. “We have a group that we update and use as our permanent ‘home’ on Facebook, and through this group we invite our extended networks to learn more about our site, and update them regularly with the most recent work posts put up on TasmeemME.” el-Fadl believes it is this non-invasive aspect of the site that encourages users to send in their opinions and feedback, which in turn helps TasmeemME better serve its purpose.
Having experienced the important role an online presence played in TasmeemME’s startup, Noor is a firm believer in any small business creating its own online community. “The Internet is almost a must for any new business, whether or not it’s IT-based; websites have become a company’s face to the world. This is actually one of the main concepts behind TasmeemME: Providing online presence for creative people all across the Middle East, to take advantage of the internet’s outreach, post their work – advertise themselves – and network across the region.”