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A Supportive Neighborhood for Young Businesses

Think growing a business is all cutthroat competition? Try rapport, curiosity and care instead, says Luma Saqqaf. A veteran financial lawyer, Saqqaf just launched a revolutionary business mentoring community aimed at maximizing the development of young businesses in Palestine, Jordan and other underperforming economies. Currently in its pilot phase, Jeeran, or “neighbors”, has so far paired fledgling entrepreneurs in Ramallah and Jerusalem with business experts in the Gulf who serve as their mentors.

The power of what I’m creating is that I can connect people in remote areas with others on the outside,” Saqqaf explains. She was inspired to create the program while volunteering as a mentor for C3’s social enterprise classes, during which “it became obvious how much need there is for business mentoring.” The mentor’s role is “to open channels for [new entrepreneurs], challenge their assumptions, and teach them how to make decisions—to be a thinking partner, not an answering machine.”

For more information: Check out Jeeran.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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