Lavender - CEO Saleem Summour

As marketplaces, and businesses compete in the digital age, the necessity of creating a unique online presence becomes essential. Businesses, organizations and even startups that lack a distinctive online presence end up missing out on opportunities to grow and expand their outreach. Gaza natives, Saleem Summour a computer system engineer and WordPress developer with over 7 years of experience, and Abdalsalaam Halawa a WordPress developer with a background in UI/UX design, both realized the lack of Arabic themed WordPress options and decided to utilize their skills to fix that. As a result, Saleem and Abdalsalaam created Lavender.

Lavender is an exclusively Arabic online marketplace where users can access a variety of tools and features to create dynamic websites that are unique, personalized and tailored for individual or corporate needs. While Saleem and Abdalsalaam have been working on Lavender since 2017 the MVP was ready at the start of 2018, and since then has gradually grown and developed its own customer base. Saleem explains, the main difficulties MENA markets are facing is creating exclusively Arabic language websites, “In services such as WordPress exclusively Arabic themes makes up less than 100 templates amongst a selection of over 15,000 themes.” He continues, “Because of the lack of options, customers usually come to web developers like us, to buy English WordPress themes so that we can translate it to Arabic and provide further customizations.” 

Lavender gives consumers the opportunity to choose from a variety of unique pre-built Arabic themes. After selecting the preferred theme, Lavender then guides users through the installation process to customize additional content and finally register the domain and install the hosting account with Lavender’s fully automated service. As the startup scene continues to sweep the MENA landscape offering innovative solutions which address the growing concerns and needs of communities, Lavender strategically targets small to medium enterprises in the MENA region.

According to Saleem, there are over 2 million small to medium enterprises in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia alone, with millions more throughout the MENA region. As a result, Lavender has the potential to tap into a growing market to enhance their viability and maximize their impact. According to Saleem, “There is a high demand for Arabic themes and because of its lack we were able to generate more than 20,000 USD last year alone and we aim to make more than 100,000 USD by the end of 2019.”

The potential impact of Lavender lies in its ability to provide an exclusively Arabic language alternative to enhance the visibility and viability of MENA based businesses, small to medium enterprises, as well as socially based organizations. As Lavender is currently based and operating from Gaza this startup has the potential to generate employment opportunities for many Gazans to develop their professional skills and improve their economic outlook. Saleem further elaborates, “Since Lavender is the first Arabic startup that provides a fully automated service for website creation and marketplace themes we have high scalability potential.” He continues, “And because we are an online marketplace, developers can sell their themes on our digital platform and therefore create hundreds of jobs for MENA based web developers.”

Since then, Saleem and Abdalsalaam have competed and won in MENACatalyst’s Santiago Pitch Challenge, and had this to say, “The opportunity to travel to Santiago and meet with Palestinian diaspora will allow us to seek investment to launch a marketing campaign and with additional developers we will be able to quickly rise to our goals!”

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Written by
Leila Farraj
- Palestine
Leila Farraj is a freelance consultant for MENACatalyst’s Digital Content . Since the launch of MENACatalyst, Leila has been integral in developing and managing content that strategically reflec... Leila Profile
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