DNS Entrepreneurial Center

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The DNS Entrepreneurial Center, or DNS-EC, was established in Spring 2015 through a partnership between ICANN and Egypt's National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (NTRA).[1]

The organizations established the DNS-EC with the hope of "growing the domain name industry ecosystem and developing local expertise in DNS technical, policy, and entrepreneurial areas in Africa and the Middle East," as a supplement -- rather than a replacement -- to ICANN's existing and ongoing work in the region.[2]


Phase I - Foundation (1 July: 2014 - 30 June 2015)
Focused on developing the human capacities necessary for the establishment of DNS-EC. ICANN is responsible for providing resources and fellowships for trainees, while ICANN and NTRA jointly work on identifying the qualifications of trainees. NTRA is responsible for incubating DNS-EC, by providing training facilities and all necessary tools and equipment. DNS-EC is ready to be established by the conclusion of Phase I.[2]

Two main tracks will be explored during this phase:[2] - 'Technical': A full-fledged program that covers basic as well as advanced DNS technical subjects, with the goal of graduating qualified engineers and certified trainers in different DNS technical areas. - 'Business': A series of workshops and tutorials that cover various business, marketing, and policy aspects of ccTLD and gTLD registries and registrars, with the hope of creating a pool of DNS business and policy specialists which will enable them to provide services in those fields.

Phase II - Launch (1 July 2015 - 30 June 2017)
DNS-EC uses the expertise of Phase I trainees and seeks out partnerships with national, regional, and international actors to provide training programs, training materials, and local and regional consultation services. ICANN lends its knowledge and expertise while NTRA is responsible for engaging the local industry and raising funds to sustain the organization. Phase II will also continue similar work to Phase I, by creating more qualified trainers and specialists, while solidifying a certification procedure.[2]

Phase III - Operation (Ongoing)
DNS-EC is capable of assuming an operational role, such as becoming a gTLD registry, an ICANN-accredited registrar, or having a role in Egypt's DNS infrastructure. It also lends its continued expertise to support various DNS-related activities and projects in Africa and the Middle East. (Roles and responsibilities of partners will be determined and evolve as DNS-EC evolves over time. It is projected, however, that DNS-EC will require funding support through the first two years of Phase III).[2]

Inaugural Meeting (Spring 2015)

The inaugural training sessions of the Center were held in Cairo, Egypt, from 2015 March 29 to April 9. Over 40 participants came from 12 countries, and represented ccTLD registries, registrars, ISPs, and IT departments of different organizations.[1]

Two workshops were held -- DNS Business Development, conducted by Tom Barrett of EnCirca and Registry Best Practices, conducted by Michele Neylon of Blacknight Solutions. They were organized to be interactive in nature, and engaged participants in group exercises that allowed them to apply course knowledge by using TLDs as case scenarios. Topics of focus included: launching and running a DNS business; the domain name industry value chain; communications and marketing strategies; branding; business continuity. Several businesses also contributed business and marketing plans, including Radix, Tucows, ARI, .buzz, .club, .me, TLD Registry, Architelos, and DotTBA.[1]

Presented during the sessions were business and marketing plans contributed by several companies including Radix TLD Registry, Tucows's OpenSRS wholesale registrar, ARI's Discovery DNS, .buzz gTLD registry, .club gTLD registry, .me TLD Registry, TLD Registry, Architelos, and DotTBA. In addition, the workshops' interactive nature allowed participants to engage in several group exercises that helped them apply the knowledge gained throughout the course using their TLDs as case scenarios.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 The DNS Entrepreneurial Center for the Middle East and Africa Takes Off to a Great Start, ICANN.org. Published 2015 April 22. Retrieved 2015 November 24.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Memorandum of Agreement, ICANN.org. Published 2014 June 23. Retrieved 2015 November 24.