Moving forward with its October 2016 promise to invest $250 million worldwide in VR development, Facebook has just partnered with MO4 Network - yes, that’d be us - to kick-start the country's first ever VR development programme, a hub that sets off to nurture Egypt's top creative minds and radically shake up the growing industry.

The behemoth social media network had announced its intention to educate and grow the VR developer ecosystem in the Middle East, distributing development grants around the globe, and MO4 Network is the region’s first recipient of Facebook’s Virtual Reality grant. “The MENA region is ripe with talent. With 158 million people on Facebook and 63 million on Instagram in MENA, supporting regional talent and giving developers access to new tech is key in order to push the boundaries and explore new opportunities,” says Zak El Fassi, Product Partnerships Manager at Facebook.

Set in the buzzing GrEEK Campus in downtown Cairo, the MO4 Network office is now home to a dedicated virtual reality lab, courtesy of Facebook, outfitted with powerful hardware to go wild and design mindblowing VR experiences. Beastly Alienware Area-51 rigs coupled with Samsung Gear headsets are a formidable combo for developers looking to test their mettle in the VR arena. Plus, the incubator's participants will be invited to present their completed projects at this year’s Rise Up tech and entrepreneurship summit, where they will have access to global VR experts and investors.

"As a vision-driven organization, MO4 Network is a proven early adopter of new technologies and creator of trends. Undoubtedly, virtual reality is one of the defining disruptions to our industries in 2017 and beyond and as such, MO4 Network invites developers and designers to create the VR projects of their dreams at the lab, situated at our offices in Cairo's Greek Campus," says MO4 Network's co-founder, Adam Mowafi.

But an incubation session at the MO4 VR lab doesn’t end with hardware access. Accepted developers will receive technical and artistic consultancy from the wicked creatives, data junkies and social media gurus at MO4 Network, from the technical aspects of game and sound design, to narrative and scriptwriting, all the way to social business skills like pitching and marketing know-how.

The media powerhouse will also use its 1.5 million daily reach to promote and educate the market on the VR lab, setting off to increase the pool of talented geeks re-creating the region's tech landscape. Expect to see interviews, articles, and hackathon events in the future showing off what’s happening in the lab and across the globe. Facebook's push for VR is further confirmation that the industry is about to explode, and what's on the horizon is yet to be seen – but the future looks bright.

Applications to the MO4 Virtual Reality Lab are open, with first priority given to developers who have experience in VR and have a specific Oculus app planned. A second tier of applicants will be uninitiated enthusiasts who are interested in experiencing VR and experimenting with it for the first time. Applicants will need to submit a project brief with details about their intended usage and goals, including a projected timeline and a summary of their creative and technical abilities. Upon acceptance, participants will receive time slots to use the lab.

Photo by MO4 Network's #MO4 Productions.

For more information on how to apply, visit: www.mo4network.com.