Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneurship’

The Freedom to Start – An Insider’s Perspective

by Lana Al-Kazimi

Karim Kobeissi is currently the Senior Legal and Policy Advisor to the Minister of Telecommunications in Lebanon. Moreover, he is a managing partner at Kobeissi and Frangie, a law firm established in 2006 that specializes in various facets of law, such as finance, commercial, corporate, real estate, construction, insurance, telecommunications, and energy. Karim received his Bachelor’s of Science in Computer and Communications Engineering from the American University of Beirut before turning his focus to Law and gaining a degree in International Law from Saint Joseph University in Lebanon and his LL.M. from Harvard Law School in 2000. Over and above that, Karim used to play professional basketball for the Lebanese national team, is co-founder of the Civil Center for National Initiative in Lebanon, president of the Harvard Law School Association of Arabia, and teaches at both the graduate and undergraduate level at AUB, among other things.

A prime example of giving back to his country, Karim’s latest endeavor is the Beirut Digital District, which is the key focus of this interview. Karim was my Business Law professor while I was pursuing my Bachelor’s, and I am proud to say I am still learning from him!

What is your view on entrepreneurship in the MENA region?

Entrepreneurship is a mindset, and to allow it to flourish you need to have the necessary institutions in place

This is an interesting question. There are definitely a lot of talented people here. Countries in the MENA are well equipped in terms of education to produce entrepreneurs. However, there needs to be more emphasis on certain freedoms, such as the freedom of speech and assembly. Entrepreneurship is a mindset, and to allow it to flourish you need to have the necessary institutions in place. There is not one initiative that can take off without having the freedom to do so, just look at the examples in the USA. The beauty of Lebanon is that the freedom to aspire and create is here, but it needs to trickle over to other countries in the region. At the same time, the market itself needs to be positioned correctly, and not all countries in the MENA have this at the moment. For entrepreneurship to flourish, the market needs to be open and receptive, as well as ready to experiment. Ultimately, there is definitely a lot of potential for the region, but we are still working towards it.
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Free ArabNet Ticket!!

Looking for a free ticket to ArabNet’s conference in Lebanon?

Tweet a tip on Entrepreneurship from your own experience or tweet what you think an entrepreneur is and attach #YallaStartup #Tip next to your tweet.

YallaStartup will be giving out one free ticket to the best tip – best defined by quality of tip and number of retweets.

Let’s get those tweets going. This starts NOW and ends on March 20th.








5 reasons to attend YallaStartup Weekend

1. Network, meet potential co-founders and investors

A huge challenge to most entrepreneurs is finding other like-minded people that share the same passions, and compliment their skill-sets. At YallaStartup weekend you’ll get the chance to spend 54 hours surrounded by people that eat their morning bowls of cereal thinking “startup”, and fall asleep thinking how to create the next big thing. In fact, 85% of all previous StartupWeekend participants still kept in touch with someone they met at the event!

2. Build awesome companies

Go from idea to launch. You have 54 hours to figure out everything from the mission, your target market, your competitors and your go-to market strategies. You will also have to give a full presentation of a working prototype and validation of concept to your peers. Over 36% of the Startup Weekend Startups are still active. Over 10% of companies go on to produce revenue or get seed funding, but every time people leave with more experience, insight, knowledge, friends, and resources than they came with.

3. Unlimited Learning Potential

Learn the best practices of UX or how to build a viral marketing strategy and get live feedback on your ideas. Rather than just theorizing, put your brain and hands to work and create, iterate, and then learn how to sell your idea. As much as ideas are important execution is what makes or breaks them. Take this opportunity to develop, and present in front of peers and experts. Not only is it a stage for you to practice on, but you will interact with some of the community’s best and brightest (including yourself!) and learn from each others.

4. Awesome PR

YallaStatup media partners include ReadWriteWeb, The NextWeb Middle East, Knowledge@Wharton, StartupArabia, Hibr,  iTech Entrepreneurs, Executive Magazine, Naharnet and more … This is your chance to be featured on the most respected and read news sources, both regionally and world-wide.

5. Win great prizes and most importantly HAVE FUN

Startup Weekend has been represented in 100 cities and 23 countries, has had over 15,000 entrepreneurs in just 3 years and has launched over 560 new ventures! YallaStartup has brought Startup Weekend to the Middle East for the first time ever. Now is your chance to be part of this entrepreneurial network and to kick-start your company or idea.
As Wayne Gretzky put it, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take , so don’t miss this one, Yalla come and Startup!
Click here to sign up if you haven’t already.

Joi Ito speaks Arabic! Ok, maybe not yet but listen to his interview on the Middle East and more …

This is part of an ongoing series of guest articles about entrepreneurship. If you would like to contribute to this series, contact us at with your proposal.

It is true that the Arabic web scene is really exciting these days. From big jumbo acquisitions like the Yahoo-Maktoob deal to everyday startups we hear about, a lot of success stories seem to be on their way and everything is happening so fast. At this time, we all need expert advice.

At Hyperlink Podcast, we had a chance to talk to Joi ito, CEO of Creative commons and one of the most influential web entrepreneurs in the world. We talked about entrepreneurship in the Arab world, Creative Commons and Cloud Computing. We hope you enjoy it.

You might have to wait a bit until the player loads below (if you are using Google Chrome click here first):

About Author

Hyperlink Podcast is a weekly show discussing technology, web and social media with a special focus on Arab startups, entrepreneurship  scene  and web industry. The show tries to cover tech news in a humorous and stylish way in addition to interviewing important names from the industry like TEDxDubai, Google, Creative Commons and many more.

Music by Arena Of Electronic Music, the Synergy vs N.V.R. – Re-Control (A CC Album) – Photo: Wikipedia

We are giving away free entrepreneurship courses

We are almost ready to go live but first we would like to give away free goodies!

Potential generously offered our community free entrepreneurship courses. The course starts on January 5, 2010 and will meet online weekly for 6 months. It covers many topics such as polishing your idea, setting up your business, building the right team and attracting investors. You don’t need to be physically present, all you need is a computer, a decent internet connection and a couple of hours per week.

The fee is $2000 but YallaStartup will be selecting candidates to take the course for free, yes FREE! The only catch is that the deadline is getting very close and you need to apply ASAP so YallaApply 🙂

If you would like to apply please email us the following to before the 25th of December, 2009:

  1. a copy of your resume and/or bio
  2. short paragraph describing why you think you should attend the class and what you are expecting out of it

Ho ho ho …

Let’s get this entrepreneurship party started!

Party theme

Our goal is to assist MENA (Middle East & North Africa) entrepreneurs transform their ideas to reality, taking their early stage startups to the next level. We hope to create the right channels and programs that cultivate a strong entrepreneurial community and we will be announcing some very soon.

Party hosts

We are three entrepreneurs from the Middle East. We founded, advised, fund raised and sold a number of companies in the US and Middle East. Throughout our journeys we faced a number of issues that we had to overcome, some were tougher than others. We realized that a lot of entrepreneurs in the MENA region face the same problems and we decided to do something about it.

Party people and Party food

As with every party, success is highly dependent on the people … and on the food!  There is no cover charge no dress code, and no reservations, just bring your own food, share and and receive. We are big fans of open communities and hope, to create that through YallaStartup! We will also be inviting many experts from various fields to share their deep expertise with all of us.

But most of all, enjoy it

Doing your startup is like being on a roller coaster, one day you are the king of the world, the next day you question yourself on why you took the jump. One thing is for sure, it’s one FUN ride. So be ready to enjoy it to the max!

Almost ready …

Yalla, we are almost ready to go live, but before we do so we are giving away free entrepreneurship courses.

Elie Khoury, Habib Haddad & Sami Shalabi