Francesca Bombassei, Seedstars Regional Manager MENA

How does a Belgian-Italian who grew up in Brussels, attended high school in Argentina, and studied public policy in Paris end up, working on entrepreneurship in the Middle East and North Africa? Francesca Bombassei’s path to her current role as Seedstars’ Regional Manager has followed the twists and turns of what I found to be some of her defining character traits - curiosity, a knack for getting things done, and a willingness to live outside her comfort zone.

Anas Al-Chalabi, MENA Region Entrepreneurship Manager at Jusoor and Humanitarian Business Technologist

There are some people you talk with that have such palpable energy and passion for a subject that, by the end of the conversation, you yourself are a total convert to their cause. Doing all the interviews virtually makes it all the more impressive that I could feel Anas’ excitement for his work with refugee founders, and his love for the Middle East, practically from his first word through our Zoom call. Read on for my full interview with him!

Patricia Letayf, Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Five One Labs

Patricia Letayf is a self-described realist. Despite growing up in New England, her personal ties to the Arab world, like her professional experience there, run deep. She readily admits that the region’s political problems will likely stick around well past her grandchildren’s generation. Rather than dissuading her from working in the Middle East though, this challenge fuels her desire to generate economic opportunities there. Read on for our full discussion!