As the subheader implies, the blog’s immediate mission is to introduce a wider audience to inspiring stories of entrepreneurship from the Middle East. If that can gain enough traction, then the long-term dream is to develop into an organization that can actually support those stories in a way that goes beyond just blog posts.
After my undergraduate studies, I spent a year working in Palestine. While there, I had the privilege of connecting with a blossoming Ramallah-based ecosystem of entrepreneurs, investors, engineers, and startup junkies. Those folks and their stories of resilience and hope sparked my own passion for entrepreneurship, a passion that has guided my career moves to date.
The two basic hypotheses behind StartMENAUp are 1) that others will find those same stories as interesting and inspiring as I have, and 2) that similar stories exist across the Middle East and diaspora.
To start out, I’ll share the stories mainly in the form of interviews with key characters, profile pieces of various organizations (startups, VCs, etc), and conference reviews. I’d also love to get some guest contributors involved to write about their own stories or publish advice for aspiring entrepreneurs themselves.
If you have recommendations of people or organizations for me to cover, or would like to contribute something yourself, please get in touch!
The upper end of estimates sizes the Lebanese diaspora at around 14 million people, while the population of Lebanon itself sits at just around 6 million. Adnan Ammache, born into the Lebanese diaspora, but raised in Lebanon, saw this as an opportunity. In 2018, he founded Presentail, a gift-giving platform specifically marketed to expats looking to surprise their loved ones back in Lebanon with something special for their birthday, or the holidays. In a country that’s only made the world’s headlines of late due to economic crises, Adnan and Presentail stand out with their growth, with lofty goals, and a drive to create more employment inside their country.
A few months back, I shared a spotlight of two fellows from this past summer cohort of Young Tech Leaders of the Middle East. I can’t speak highly enough of the program, so today, I’m back to shine the light on three young women – Dunya, Rama, and Yara – and the project they worked on as a part of this program – Ektos.
Baker Bozeyeh, a sustainability engineer born and raised in Palestine, launched Flowless to address this very major pain point in his home country and region. Born out of Baker’s own work with a Palestinian utility company, he recognized the need for a better water management solution to optimize usage of this precious resource. Born out of Palestine’s Founder Institute Program, Baker and Flowless have been deploying their solution in Palestine and elsewhere in the region since about 2019. I had the chance to chat with him earlier in the summer. I hope you enjoy!