My interview on the Start, MTV: discussing the entrepreneurship ecosystem

During my last interview with Maurice Matta on the Start at MTV, I was asked about the puzzle of Entrepreneurship.

In fact, entrepreneurship is defined and composed of different pillars. To be able to foster the entrepreneurship ecosystem and create a nurturing environment for the entrepreneurs, we need to combine all pillars together and assemble the puzzle.

What constitutes this puzzle? One of the components is the legal part. We need to figure out if the company will be under an SAL, SARL or event SAL-T (tech) that is currently discussed as a law for the ICT committee at the Lebanese Parliament. The second component is the academic part. How are the academic institutions accompanying entrepreneurs? Another part of the puzzle that should be assembled is the media and how the classical and digital media are highlighting and covering initiatives and projects related to entrepreneurs. Then comes another component, associations. What is the role of associations? Associations saw some needs that others didn’t. Necessity is the mother of invention. There is no need to start from scratch and look for the perfect idea. Some NGOs have already mapped the needs and are looking for entrepreneurial ideas to solve them.

Entrepreneurs need funding. What are the sources of funding? Debt investment, equity investment, who are the investors? Accelerators and incubators, what is their role?

Entrepreneurs should know through the media that accelerators and incubators are offering opportunities to pitch their ideas in front of a jury or even investors. This is in fact another component of entrepreneurship. Let’s take the example of the Start at MTV. This TV Show showcased entrepreneurs and their success stories and exposed them to investors watching the show. Every idea has a future, we just need to work on it. We need to prepare a feasibility study for the market and the product. Incubators such as Berytech or UK Tech Hub help entrepreneurs get this done as they already have the infrastructure ready.

Entrepreneurs need to learn from the learning curve of others. They do not need to reinvent the wheel and work from scratch. If they have a brilliant idea but don’t work on virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, then these platforms are here to help.

What is the importance of social entrepreneurship and how important is the notion of sustainability to entrepreneurs?

After the components of entrepreneurship, comes the pillars of sustainability: social, environment and economic.

The intersection of all three pillars is the sweet spot of entrepreneurship.

An idea that is seeking profit can also be socially responsible. In order for entrepreneurs to be socially responsible, they need to adopt at least one of the 17 sustainable development goals and try to mainstream its targets. Studies have shown that being socially responsible or environmentally friendly does not contradict with the dollar value.

If you are not socially responsible, you do not exist!

At the end of the day, your target audience will blame you, you will not gain clients and customers and most importantly, you will not attract employees from generation Z who look for the purpose and impact of the business they will work for. Being socially responsible strengthen your value proposition and attracts new investors.

One final message:

Lebanon is one of the most countries in the MENA region that is home to many rising entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial ideas. This is an important sign that the ecosystem is shaping up. Every entrepreneur needs to know the different components of the ecosystem and how to work with all components accordingly. Research is essential to answer the most common questions: how to reach the media, how to create a feasibility study, how to reach the incubators, how to put a plan of action, how to commercialize the idea while being socially responsible.

Building the puzzle is the homework of every entrepreneur, with a little help from mentors and incubators.

Watch the full interview here:

Breakthrough Innovation for the SDGs

On Jan. 31st, representatives from Global Compact networks from all over the world met at the UN city in Copenhagen to help in designing Global Compact Young SDG Innovators program. The round table was attended by CEO and Executive Director of UNGC Lise Kingo, top directors and experts in the field of sustainability.

This program will be Launched in many countries around the world including Lebanon. This program in addition to SDG Youth pioneers were initiated due to the UN emphasis on youth as the future change agents.

The 1st of Feb. was a special day for the Danish network which was able to organize a big forum with more than 400 attendees including youth from all over the world.
Engaging youth in building the business of tomorrow was the theme. The forum started with a keynote by CEO and Executive Director of UNGC Lise Kingo and a welcome note by Anne-Marie Skov, executive director of the Tuborg Foundation.

Innovation for the SDGs in private sector companies was one of the discussed topics with case studies from Grundgos and Calsberg Group. Development requires partnerships and innovation hence was a talk by Danish Minister for development cooperation.

With the executive directors of Brazil, South Africa, and USA I participated in a panel discussion on SDG innovation Around the World as a representative of Lebanon. The Lebanese example was able to wow the audience.

A keynote by John Elkington tackled breakthrough innovation and the final panel gathered young entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs who were able to make impressive initiative at the global level.

Peace Tech Hackathon

I was glad to have mentored a group of 45 young #entrepreneurs of the first PeaceTech #Youth#Hackathon in #Lebanon. This mentorship is part of the Professional Fellows Program, sponsored by U.S. Department of State and executed by Legacy International and in partnership with PeaceTech Lab in Washington DC, Riyada for Social Innovation SAL and happening at the American University of Beirut.

Participants worked for two and a half days to come up with technology solutions to problems related to peace and consequences of conflict and earned participation certificates and awards at the end of the hackathon.