19 Jun 2017 - 14:16
Mathematainment: a tale of passionate commitment of a female Qatari entrepreneur
By Irfan Bukhari | The Peninsula
At a glance, Mathematainment.com seems like any other online educational portal, offering knowledge seekers the chance to purchase educational content in the form of video tutorials and courses. However, delve a little deeper and you will find that this is not your average run-of-the-mill educational website.
One of the highlights of this educational portal, and one that truly sets it apart from the rest, is that it offers its users the chance to not only purchase educational content but also create and sell it. This creates an excellent opportunity for people to not only gather new knowledge but also to share their own and make a living out of it.
‘Mathema’ is a Greek word for ‘knowledge, study and learning’, and the portmanteau created by combining ‘Mathema’ and ‘Entertainment’ by an innovative Qatari entrepreneur for her start-up, becomes Mathematainment. The portal’s description of itself is that it is a “concept that embraces the idea of an online classroom, where anyone who has a passion for passing on their skills via video tutorials can come together to teach, learn and earn at the global level.”
The website provides users with the ability to create their own social profiles, complete with space for pictures, introductions, a bio and tons of other features, all accessible from one page that is dubbed – My Mathema. The website offers both students and teachers a chance to get together in one unified digital community and create, share, teach, sell and buy educational content.
Upon registering for the website’s services, users are immediately furnished with their own dashboard, which can be used to create or manage their courses. What’s particularly interesting about Mathematainment is that the website has no qualms about users sharing links or videos of their work from external sites. It’s rare to see such a degree of commitment to education in today’s world. The portal also boasts feature-packed tabs like Me, My Work, Shared, Store, Followers, Following, Profile Videos, Shared Videos, Youtube/Vimeo Courses, Articles, Links etc., enabling a member to reap the maximum benefits from the online educational community.
According to Sheikha Fatema Al Thani, the creator of Mathematainment.com, she came up with the idea after realising that in order to create a successful online tutorial business, a person needs to spend a lot of time and money to set up their own platform from which to deliver their courses. Mathematainment fulfils this need while also giving people the freedom to promote their work no matter the subject or craft, as long as it is educational and does not violate the terms and conditions of the website.
Her vision for the e-learning portal started out by trying to create such a platform where members did not need to go through the hassle of creating their own platform but could use Mathematainment to set up their business. She points out that “Members can use the site to earn a stable income by selling their own courses but it doesn’t stop there. What makes Mathematainment unique is that the members will be able to purchase courses from others and promote them on their own profile, thereby earning a commission from every new sale by simply referring friends and family.”
However, her goal is not limited to creating a global educational community. The Qatari innovator is also set to launch her own brand of coffee shops and lounges titled, Mathema Café and Mathema Lounge, respectively. Sheikha Fatema Al Thani states that she is “extremely thrilled to inform everyone that Mathema Café is finally ready to open its doors to the public and has been launched with the intention of creating a seamlessly enjoyable educational experience for coffee lovers.”
The idea behind the venture is to provide members of the Mathematainment community a relaxing and friendly atmosphere to sip on their delicious brew while they brush up on their courses, think about their next tutorial video, or simply mingle with friends. Education, coupled with coffee and snacks; now there’s a concept Qatar hasn’t seen before and one that the world sorely needs.
The other side of this coin, showcases the Mathema Lounge brand, which according to the website, is an extended offering to the members of the Mathema community to utilise the full benefits of being a member. The lounge boasts facilities like a swimming pool, fitness centre, use of meeting and business rooms among others, all of which are focused on providing members with all the comfort and luxury required to create or browse for educational content.
Q: You are obviously aware of the fact that the Middle East has had little exposure to the world of Internet business. So why would you risk launching an online business in the region?
A: I have always considered innovation and out-of-the-box thinking to be critical to progress. With that in mind, I wanted to tap into the untapped potential of this particular platform and create something new and different. The idea was to venture into previously unexplored territory and so far the future looks promising, despite facing a few struggles.
Q: You mentioned you faced a few struggles while trying to set up Mathematainment. Can you elaborate on some of these struggles?
A: One of the primary difficulties I faced while trying to launch my business was the traditional business model mentality of most business owners. A majority of the people prefer to venture into business using the traditional models and industries. Most people in the region still do not realise the monumental potential that an Internet based business has to offer. So it was really difficult to get people on board with the idea of a globally connected educational platform as a feasible and profitable business.
Our world is propelled by the pursuit of innovation and the ability to accept and utilise new ideas and venture into new forms of business. Unfortunately, it was very challenging to find people with the right mind-set to join me on this journey. In fact one of my hopes is that by successfully setting up the Mathematainment platform, I can open the minds of people and show them that there are other forms of business apart from the traditional ones. Yet another difficulty I am facing at the moment is trying to find trainers and educators to help me expand my business. Since I can’t find the right people in Qatar who share my vision and can join my team, my plan was to bring in talented individuals from outside to help me in the creation of tutorials for the Mathematainment platform. However, due to the ongoing crisis, I have had to temporarily delay these plans. One of our goals in Mathematainment is to hire people from within the community and ever since we started the website in June, I have come to the realisation that we have a lot of people on the Mathematainment platform who have tremendous potential. Unfortunately, the political climate has forced me to delay these plans temporarily.
Q: So one of the goals of Mathematainment is to introduce people to the opportunities provided by Internet based businesses. Can you tell us more about how this message is being received? And do you plan to venture deeper into this territory?
A: To be frank, I am a little surprised by the stagnant mentality that is prevalent across most business owners. At time I felt truly isolated and as if I was in a desert, particularly while trying to explain the feasibility of the Mathematainment platform. However, I will continue to persist; change doesn’t happen overnight.
Yes, I do have additional plans for the future but right now my focus is centred on expanding the Mathematainment brand.
Q: You mentioned that you are planning to launch the Mathema Café and Lounge brands soon. Are you sure it’s a good idea to go ahead with your plan, given the current political climate?
A: Absolutely. I am very confident about the future of my country as well as the government’s ability to steer the nation in the right path towards peace and prosperity. I have no second thoughts about going ahead with the launch of Mathema Café and Mathema Lounge, as I have every confidence that both brands will flourish, irrespective of the political climate within the GCC. My dream was to launch Mathematainment in my home country first before moving on and I have no intention of changing my dream.
Q: That sounds inspiring. So, how can someone get in touch with you if they wish to speak to you or get more information on your business?
A: The best way to go about it would be to visit the website and register there to see for yourself what opportunities might be available to you. Alternatively, queries sent to firstname.lastname@example.org will be addressed by my team.