Nermeen El Nemr, graduate of Mass Media who has also completed a post graduate diploma in Marketing in the AUC, worked for eight years in the field of marketing and PR. Then she worked for an NGO that is focused on empowering the ICT sector in Egypt. After that, she made a decision that will change things forever. Nermeen decided to work as a freelancer, but couldn’t find an Egyptian platform to support her. With great entrepreneurial spirit, she started her journey by establishing Al7arefa platform, and building a real community for freelancers in Egypt. Al7arefa now boasts over 26k freelancers and business owners.
What made you first make the switch from full-time work to freelance?
Fixability of work in terms of time and location. I also suffered from the management system in companies.
How do you believe localized platforms like yours differ from international ones like Fiverr or Upwork?
Al7arefa is the simplest freelancing platform with local support for freelancers and taxable invoices for clients. We are focusing on building an active community to support each other in freelancing, not just creating a platform for only jobs. We organize online and offline meetups and live talks to share our community members’ experience. We deliver workshops and events in most Egyptian governorates, and every day we are talking with youth from different educational backgrounds.
Al7arefa also supports women working from home to find the best match in remote jobs. We have many successful stories with women who had to quit their jobs to take care of their kids and homes.
Al7arefa is the simplest freelancing platform with local support for freelancers and taxable invoices for clients
The freelance culture hasn’t spread much yet in Egypt especially among older generations. How do you believe that can be changed?
Freelancing is a workstyle that offers a lot of flexibility to the professionals. And it helps businesses to cut cost, no need to rent big offices, pay for electricity and so on. It is time to focus on the results and the output of the professionals. And I believe it is something that is growing in the Middle East. The need is there and the opportunities are there, especially after COVID-19.
Freelance work has a reputation of being risky in Egypt, with clients sometimes ghosting the service providers or changing their minds regarding payment. In your opinion, what are the steps which should be taken in order to regulate freelance work and protect the rights of the service provider and client?
Al7arefa.com is a fully operating platform for freelancers and remote jobs that is able to conduct the client and freelancer matching, conduct the payments in advance before the service provider executing the project to save both sides’ rights. We manage the whole matchmaking process until work is done, to make sure that our clients and service providers are satisfied.
Our clients and freelancers sign a contract including the scope of work, timeline, the exact budget and the number of edits to avoid any misunderstanding.
What are your future plans for Al7arefa?
We started providing our services to Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE, and my future plan is to provide our services across the Middle East and North Africa as well. I believe we are capable of doing so. We also want to create an integrated community for freelancers, and a datacenter that is able to provide our users with all the knowledge they need across the various industries they work in.