Meet 01Gov: The First Arab Platform For Government Innovation

Ibrahim Elbadawi

01Gov is the breakthrough online platform bringing modern skills, innovation, agility and digital culture to the public sector workforce across 22 Arab countries.

Founded in 2014 by Ibrahim A. Elbadawi, a former strategist for Dubai’s digital government, 01Gov is the first of its kind in the region.

Through online innovation labs, training, capacity building, video libraries, reports, written guides and more, the startup is disseminating traditionally niche skills across public sectors, which are the primary employers in most Arab nations.

Founder Elbadawi said, “In Arab countries, the public sector has always been the primary employer. For example, 45% and 26% of the workforce in Saudi Arabia and Egypt respectively work for the government. That means that we can target and assist millions of potential customers in a niche market that we know very well. By doing that, helping Arab governments design public institutions of the future, we are ultimately having an impact in the lives of more than 400 million citizens. That’s around 5% of the world’s population. That’s our aim.”

01Gov successfully secured their first round of investment last month and ran the first virtual government innovation lab in the Middle East during the peak of the coronavirus lockdown.

Elbadawi said, “01Gov brings the innovation, agility and disruptive culture of a digital startup to a very well established space like the public sector. I see our biggest breakthrough is winning the acceptance and trust of  governments, to work with them to modernise the way they design and deliver public services and policies. That and, persistence. We now know the value of taking a new product and making it successful over time. While learning patience, continuing to walk with our heads up and learning from our mistakes throughout the journey.”

01Gov’s client list includes many leading government agencies, international organisations such as the digital government in the United Arab Emirates and also the United Nations. Not to mention the thousands of individuals who access and interact with the online content, activities and programs.  

In the next few months 01Gov will be launching a digital academy, the first “innovation as a service (IaaS)” product, which is a cloud-based collaboration and video conferencing platform as we well as continuing to talk with investors on expanding here in Australia.

Elbadawi said, “I founded 01Gov in Dubai immediately after leaving my role as a strategist for the digital government and moved to Sydney. While the job taught me first-hand the importance of some key principles of public service in the 21st century, like being tech-savvy, fast, agile, idea-driven, welcoming, inspiring, humble to learn, brave and has a great appetite for taking risks, and most importantly, to not only embrace the future but to proactively design it, I knew that there was a need to adopt these principles in other places across the Global South. Especially in the surrounding Arab states. So I came to Sydney. I am now leading the startup from Fishburners as I admire and grow from the sense of community. It makes it easy to access ideas, collaborators, knowledge and experience. I’m looking forward to continuing our journey from and in Australia.”

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