With Namshi.com, Muhammed Mekki found online entrepreneurship success in the Middle East. Now the Wharton alumnus wants to help others achieve the same. AstroLabs is his latest venture, and he tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that the goal behind the startup is to provide practical help to regional e-commerce entrepreneurs, so that they can learn the skills and develop the practices needed to ensure that their businesses grow.
Published: May 28, 2013 In Wharton Innovation Competition, Seeking Solutions for Middle Eastern Challenges
In the second annual Wharton-HCT Innovation Tournament in the Middle East, regional entrepreneurs brought forward proposals that addressed a host of issues facing the Arab World. Winning the top prize was a healthcare initiative from Algeria that focused on managing diabetes with online and mobile tools. Discussing the competition with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, entrants said it was an opportunity not only to gain precious funding and exposure to academic and industry experts, but also to learn and be inspired.
Published: May 14, 2013 Who Dares, Succeeds: Fighting Fear and Finding Creativity
Do you have a great idea, but have not tried to see if it would actually work? That's because you feel too safe, according to Adam Montandon, a British digital futurist living in Denmark. Real creativity seems very dangerous to many people, he says, because of the uncertainty in a new proposition. But that's how you get the best ideas. "If you're approaching the same thing, the same way every time, you get the same results every time," he suggests.
Published: May 14, 2013 From New York to Tunis, a Daughter Returns to Foster Local Entrepreneurship
Leaving the United States to join the rebuilding of Tunisia's post-revolutionary economy, Alia Mahmoud quickly immersed herself in the country's nascent entrepreneurial environment. From her vantage point, Mahmoud has observed the various challenges facing startups there. Many are shared among entrepreneurs in the region, she notes, the legacy of economic policies that seem good on paper but are not practical. There is still much work to be done, she says, for the region to become competitive and attractive to foreign investment.
Published: April 30, 2013 Is the Latin American Technology Sector Ready for an Entrepreneurial Revolution?
Latin America has become a breeding ground for new technological entrepreneurs recently -- so much so, that some experts believe that the sector is poised to take off. However, analysts note that a Latin American technology revolution will not take place without greater participation from private investors -- or without reforms in fiscal policy and a change in the Latin American mentality concerning business failure.
Published: April 30, 2013 Arab Entrepreneur Issues: Investment, Restrictive Policies and Protecting Intellectual Capital
Protecting intellectual property is just one of the pressing issues facing Arab entrepreneurs, particularly those in the high tech and scientific fields. At a recent Wharton business conference on the Middle East and North Africa, entrepreneurs from the region said that many of their peers go to the U.S. or Europe just to ensure their products are patented, and to safeguard ideas from unscrupulous competitors. Often just making the right business-to-business connection is a challenge in the region, they noted.
Published: March 19, 2013 Bites and Bytes: An Egyptian Entrepreneur's Mix of Computers and Cookies
Egyptian entrepreneur Heidi Belal has two companies to her name: She works as a tech services provider and runs her own dessert catering business. In an interview with Arabic Knowledge@Wharton, Belal discusses how such a quirky combination of businesses came about, and what she has done to turn each business into a success. One nugget of advice: "Put the most minimal investment you can into the business, and then see how it goes from there."
Published: March 05, 2013 A Blossoming Business in Tunisia
As a flower farmer, Jalila Tamallah has found a way to grow a better life for her family in Tunisia. She has become an astute businesswoman in the process, expanding her interests to raising livestock as well with the help of good profits and microcredit loans. Far from the turbulence of the Arab Spring, Tamallah says she has quietly gained something many in the region demand -- the chance to build for a future. "We came here and we learned little by little," she tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton. "Now, I am the manager."
Published: February 05, 2013 Thinking Local, Going Global: Building Tech Start-ups in Africa
With limited infrastructure, a challenging regulatory environment and a small pool of skilled employees, tech start-ups in Africa face a difficult road to success. But panelists at the recent Wharton Africa Forum say the companies also stand to tap into a continent ripe with opportunity -- and one where there is limited competition from powerful multinationals.
Published: January 22, 2013 Brushstrokes and Business Risks: Deena Fadel's Exercise in Creativity and Entrepreneurship
Quitting her job as an art director, Deena Fadel sought to recapture her creativity. But the decision also propelled her into entrepreneurship, as she soon saw a chance to start a business making usable household objects infused with Arabic design. Now the 29-year-old's company has grown, and her products are displayed across the region and abroad. She tells Arabic Knowledge@Wharton that deciding to quit her job wasn't easy, but she has gained much by striking out on her own, from learning how to run a business, to becoming more assertive. "Just find out what's out there," she says.
Published: January 08, 2013