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!
aker 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!
Majd Zkiyah is a man on a mission. Having studied and worked in three different countries, and left his homeland of Syria at 17, he knows firsthand the challenges of building a career in societies where most people equate “Syrian” with a word like “victim.”
Majd’s mission is to change that perception, and lift up the image of skilled, qualified, professional Syrians across the globe. He launched Syrpronet, a global network for Syrian professionals, in September 2019 to promote this vision.
East. Michelle Lee founded the program with the “the vision of expanding technological opportunity to more people, especially those coming from vulnerable backgrounds.”
One of StartMENAUp’s goals is to highlight the current and rising tech stars coming out of MENA, so it’s a real pleasure to share these short profiles of two of the program’s participants – Ahmed Haj Ahmed and Siham Tamisili Khanji!