Saudi “Calories” has been selected as one of the semi-finalist teams for this year’s MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Region Start-Up Competition for the Ideas Track.
Calories is a mobile and web tracker of daily nutritional intake that makes suggestions based on calculated calories. In 2010, the team that is designing Calories initiated JeddahRain.com which was the most visited wordpress website, and in 2012, they launched Ask-Dr.com which received a million visitors in its first 6 months. They hope their successful experiences in web and mobile–based applications increase the probability of Calories’ application expansion.
Wail Yar, a student in medicine, has come across many patients who ignore how to control their weight, which was leading them to long-term consequences on their health. Although there are many diet applications and programs in the market, there are no Arabic versions that can accurately monitor Middle Eastern cuisine. This is when he started with Bushra Alghamdi, Salman Yamani, and Samaher Alamoudi- specialists in healthcare, IT and information system- conceiving Calories project.
Problematic and concept
The average body mass index in Saudi Arabia and the GCC region is increasing, a fact that is engendering health-related problems affecting the personal and professional life of a person and as such a whole society. Adds to this, taking into consideration that Saudi Arabia is one of the most calorie-consuming countries in the world (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 2011), and around 60% of the Middle East's population is overweight according to WHO report, 2009. Moreover, there are no easy-to-use weight-tracking systems designed specifically for Arabic-speaking individuals.
Energy comes from food. However, too much food means too much energy, and too much energy is never a good thing. Thus, balance is imperative for a healthy lifestyle. For this purpose, Calories was created. It consists of web and mobile application that can, based on learning algorithms, calculate and track food consumption in order to monitor users’ weight and enable them to live a more conscious and healthy life by learning everything they need to know about their meals. Calories’ application is developed in a way that supports all Smartphones platform. The database is increasable to include 1 million items, with capability to CloudShare all foods and dishes in the world. In addition to the Arabic version, other languages are aimed to support the application such as Spanish in order to reach larger customer segments.
Advice for Entrepreneurs
“We’re aiming at building our entrepreneurial experience together and boosting our skills by starting our new business” stated Calories. The team considers that entrepreneurs in the Middle East have to participate in local and an international competition so they can push their ideas to the advanced levels “As Arab new generation, the chance is ours to lead the region to better directions through our entrepreneurial creativity” concluded Wail.
Find out more about Calories by:
Watching a 1 minute video pitch about their project on: here
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