SAN FRANCISCO - TechWadi announced it will embark on a ten day traveling roadshow in mid October to bring leading Silicon Valley technology experts, mentors, and entrepreneurs to meet with budding startups across the Middle East.
The “TechWadi Roadshow” will consist of four, two day long educational workshops led by TechWadi and powered by Google for Entrepreneurs that will bring experienced entrepreneurs and technology professionals to mentor local startups in Amman, Cairo, Beirut, and Dubai. The mentors will include seasoned professionals from companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, as well as founders of various Silicon Valley startups.
Over the past several years, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region has seen a rise of tech entrepreneurship as its local ecosystem has developed and matured – giving birth to riveting, homegrown technology, and companies like Fetchr, who recently received $11M series a funding led by U.S. backed ventures. And the numbers support this growth: since 2009, there has been a threefold increase in the number of investments into MENA startups.
“As an Egyptian American, I’ve spent plenty of time in the Middle East, but only started engaging with the tech ecosystem this year,” said Sharif ElBadawi, Google employee, current TechWadi Head Mentor, and one of the mentors joining the Roadshow. “The appetite and need for Silicon Valley connections, knowledge, and knowhow is enormous, and TechWadi is stepping in at the perfect time.
Each stop on the Roadshow will offer two days of engagement with traveling mentors for the local entrepreneurial community. The first day will be open to all interested tech entrepreneurs, featuring mentorled technical discussions followed by questions from the audience. The second day will focus on small group of startups selected by local accelerator and incubator partners, who will receive oneonone mentorship meetings and participate in an interactive workshop led by an experience designer from Stanford University’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design.
The TechWadi Roadshow was developed in partnership with Google for Entrepreneurs (GFE) a division of Google designed to support entrepreneurial ecosystems as an opportunity to expand outreach to the MENA region. As a Google for Entrepreneurs partner, TechWadi sits alongside Dubai based Astrolabs and Palestine’s Gaza Sky Geeks, two regional organizations working with local entrepreneurs on the ground, as well as the MIT Enterprise Forum Pan Arab Competition, of whose annual winners currently receive TechWadi acceleration in Silicon Valley.
“Google for Entrepreneurs is focused on helping startups to succeed and grow, and we’re delighted to be working with our partner TechWadi to bring high quality programming and education to some of the most exciting ecosystems in the Middle East,” said Google for Entrepreneurs Senior Partnerships Manager David Grunwald.
The roadshow is set to take place just weeks following TechWadi’s Annual Forum in San Francisco, where the organization will convene some of the most successful Silicon Valley Arab entrepreneurs, visiting regional startups, and diaspora entrepreneurs and tech professionals looking to network with TechWadi’s high impact crowd.
While TechWadi’s recent activities have been focused primarily on Silicon Valley acceleration for top global market startups, this roadshow marks the organization’s new MENAforward approach to bring a larger slice of Silicon Valley directly to the region’s budding entrepreneurs. Following the roadshow, TechWadi will launch a virtual conferencing series connecting Silicon Valley mentors to locallyhosted events, as well as an online mentorship platform and ampedup online resources for its members based in the MENA region.
“We’re extremely excited and eager to bring some of our top mentors from Silicon Valley to where they are needed the most: the region – for maximum exposure and outreach to the brightest entrepreneurs of the Arab world,” said Christina Ashtary, Program Manager at TechWadi. “We look forward to the roadshow kicking off a wideopen bridge for increased access for MENA entrepreneurs to the tech capital of the world.”
TechWadi is the leading nonprofit organization building bridges between Silicon Valley and the MENA region to promote tech entrepreneurship through mentorship opportunities, Silicon Valley acceleration, and communitybased networking. From its beginnings as the community of top Arab American technology professionals in Silicon Valley, TechWadi has evolved into a powerful global platform to s build a robust tech ecosystem in the Middle East. To learn more about TechWadi or get involved, visit techwadi.org or follow us on Twitter (@TechWadiorg).
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