With a three-fold increase in the number of investments into MENA start-ups since 2009, entrepreneurs from the region are increasingly being recognized for their innovative achievements in technology. To highlight this success, TechWadi hosted its MENA Entrepreneurial Showcase & Networking Reception, presenting ten start-ups from across the Middle East and North Africa, in partnership with the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Programs. Over 100 guests came together to connect with entrepreneurs and members of the TechWadi community, while Tamer Rashad (HumTap), Mahendra Ramsinghani (Mod N Labs), and Hasan Haider (500 Startups) shared collective wisdom on strengthening the MENA ecosystem and navigating the investment landscape as an entrepreneur. From Morocco to Palestine, budding business minds from the region pitched to an audience of Silicon Valley’s Arabtech superstars – all very eager to help – seemed to share one question: how can we as the connected Silicon Valley diaspora help you?
Building the Ecosystem through TechWadi100
That answer is found in sharing our knowledge with promising minds who are missing the Silicon Valley experience and know-how that is held in abundant supply by our TechWadi community stars. And fostering that connection is exactly what TechWadi is aiming to do. Established as TechWadi’s dedicated circle of high-impact entrepreneurs, TechWadi100 (TW100) focuses on establishing a network of top entrepreneurial talent to participate in tailored mentorship opportunities with MENA’s most promising start-ups.
This past January, TechWadi brought together its community of high profile entrepreneurs and Silicon Valley executives to kick off our new TW Sprint Acceleration Program, and rally our incredible network of mentors to help fuel it. During this exclusive TW100 brunch, TechWadi Board Member/TW100 Chair Deena Shakir led an intimate conversation with a room full of engaged guests to discuss how to best leverage community talent to support the MENA entrepreneurial ecosystem. The TW100 network welcomed additional guests from the Harvard Arab Alumni Association (HAAA), chaired by Rania Succar, who shared the importance of building upon the success of our diaspora to better strengthen the entrepreneurial community in the MENA region.
TW Sprint: Rapid Acceleration of Rising MENA Entrepreneurs
To support build on our track-record of mentorship and community support, we’re excited to announce TechWadi’s Sprint Acceleration Program, designed to provide the most promising technology start-ups from the MENA region with tailor-made experiences to help them learn from, and grow their businesses in Silicon Valley. The month-long experience offers participating companies direct coaching and mentorship from TechWadi’s vast network of seasons Bay Area executives and entrepreneurs, while also helping companies position themselves to become relevant to the Silicon Valley investment scene. We’re kicking off our first round with two exceptional companies:Band Industries (Lebanon) and Wally (Jordan). Read more about TW Sprint and the first round of companies here.
Connecting our brightest, most established Silicon Valley professionals to support MENA entrepreneurs is essential for our community to prosper, and we will continue to be the leading network to foster that growth. We’re off to a great start and gearing up for an exciting, expansive journey, and we welcome you to join us as we make 2015 the year of MENA entrepreneurs!