Zaka at Vivatech – Innovation & Technology

Zaka is excited to be participating in the Vivatech annual technology conference, Europe’s biggest startup, innovation and tech event, happening from June 15th until June 18th, 2022. Cedars Tech had an interview with our co-founder and CEO, Christophe Zoghbi, to talk more about Zaka, who is one of the 6 Lebanese startups that will be representing Lebanon in this event.
Christophe first introduced himself and how he stumbled upon Artificial Intelligence, he said “I was building a product with some friends and needed to implement smart capabilities into that product”, leading him to discover Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
After this experience, Christophe’s passion for the field remained and he decided to build a skillset and became an AI Engineer working on different projects with other companies, trying to spread awareness about it.
The first step to create this awareness about AI started by building the local Lebanese community “Beirut AI”. The sole purpose was to help people learn and apply AI by organizing meetups, workshops, and hackathons.
During this experience, Christophe discovered that there’s a real need for AI education in the MENA region as a whole, while many people have heard about it, not many know what it is or how it can be applied.
That’s how Zaka was born, to “develop the AI ecosystem in the MENA region through education”, he said.
Zaka offers technical people in the MENA region the opportunity to become familiar with ML and DL algorithms and transition into this field. You may wonder why the focus is on this region specifically. Well, that’s because there isn’t a lot of local talent “in AI” and there’s a need and demand for AI and for solving local problems using its solutions.
When discussing Zaka’s reach and ways of communication, Christophe explained that the startup always tries to focus on the community. Therefore, Zaka hosts many events for its community such as webinars, workshops, hackathons, and more. Plus, the company tries to reach students through its ambassadors from different universities in the region. Zaka is also a Microsoft Global Training Partner which means that it delivers AI educational programs with Microsoft in the MENA region.
Finally, when speaking about the different offerings the company has, Christophe explained that there are 2 programs at the moment, and both are focused on people with a technical background.
The first is the AI Bootcamp, which is an introductory short course, introducing you to the different topics you hear about (Machine Learning, Deep Learning, Computer Vision, Natural Language Processing, Time-Series Analysis) but do not know what they are. Basically, this course focuses on the foundations of AI.
The second program is the AI Certification, which is a 16-week program. The purpose of this in-depth course is to train you to become a market-ready Machine Learning Engineer or Data Scientist and help you land a job in the field.
Christophe adds that there will be new courses soon such as AI for everyone (for non-technical people who would like to understand AI) and another course for executives to help them make decisions and changes from the top, by understanding how AI can help their businesses.
Don’t forget to catch Zaka’s booth at Vivatech Paris on June 17th and 18th, we are waiting for you!