Al Hudhud's Cofounder: Shaima Al-Bishtawi

Succeeding Against the Odds: Al Hudhud, Creative Content for Children

Al Hudhud’s Cofounder: Shaima Al-Bishtawi

Being a passionate mother who is always on the look out for a different Arabic creative content to provide for her children, Shaima Al-Bishtawi decided to take the lead, and start producing her own stories.

Al-Bishtawi decided to establish her own company that provides creative content for children after publishing her first series of books with an Emirati publishing house.

Both Al-Bishtawi and her brother felt they had the needed vision and power, and it was the right time for this type of business, so they started with a limited budget. “It was a big adventure, I knew how to kick it off, but I did not know where it was going to end,” said Al-Bishtawi.

Al Hudhud started by developing fun applications for mobile devices. Then the founders decided to move into improving education, with their smart curriculum, since there was a big gap in the tools available to help children from around the world learn the Arabic language.

“Our startup is different from other content companies. We had a different vision from the start and even our way of implementation is also different,” Al-Bishtawi said. According to Al-Bishtawi, their smart curriculum is very flexible and could be tailored to suit specific needs, age, and time. With this curriculum, Al-Bishtawi has managed to redefine Arabic language and the way it is introduced to young children.

Al-Bishtawi acknowledged the support and encouragement she received throughout her entrepreneurial journey. “I did not face any kind of problems for being a woman, actually, my parents, husband, and brother/partner gave me full support,” she said. “I believe our society respects and appreciates women.”

A turning point in Al-Bishtawi’s entrepreneurial journey was the ability to take her product from concept to reality; one that is applicable to both private and public schools, where teachers underwent the required training to use Al Hudhud’s smart curriculum.

Recognizing their effort to come up with creative content and improve the country’s education system, Al Hudhud’s team was honored by HM King Abdullah II and Queen Rania as an entrepreneurial success story.

In addition to developing a successful product that children love and relate to, Al-Bishtawi also managed to go global with her Arabic content. Their applications have, so far, reached more than 1 million users and more than 30,000 students around the world.

Today, Al-Bishtawi is looking to produce more solutions and content, particularly for non-Arabic speaking students. Furthermore, the team is eyeing new markets, and is working to strike more partnerships with ministries of education in Arab and European countries.


This is part four of a 12-piece story. Other parts include: