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#AmazingArabs: MENA Goes West

A combination of cultures that’s happening thousands of miles away from the Middle East? No, it’s not a football match: it’s the Fifth Annual TechWadi Forum in San Francisco, California.

Through all the noise coming from the World Cup, you might have missed the news of a weeklong program hosting top MENA startups in Silicon Valley. It culminates today in a forum that focuses on the “most outstanding achievers”. And of course, BarakaBits founder Rama Chakaki is presenting at the Forum and is interviewing other distinguished panelists (@rchakaki).

So how did TechWadi become the bridge-builder between MENA and Silicon Valley? It began when the top Arab-American technology professionals in the Bay Area reached out to one another to create a community. Over time, it has evolved into a collaboration platform with membership and events spanning the globe. This week even saw coverage by National Public Radio.

The context of today’s event is particularly inspiring, as Dr. Ossama Hassanein (Chairmen of TechWadi) explained. “The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East has evolved beautifully in the last five years; so has the quality and impact of startups and entrepreneurs. Last year, in particular, was seminal. Incubators and accelerators tripled capacity, venture capital and angel funds quadrupled, and funds raised by high impact entrepreneurs exceeded $500 million – or 2.5 times the total pool of capital in 2012!”

And that’s #goodnews.

For more info: TechWadi; Dr. Ossama Hassanein; Rama Chakaki

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TJ Misra

TJ Misra is Head of Corporate Communications at BarakaBits. She has a Masters in International Affairs, with a speciality in Security and Conflict Management. She grew up in Manhattan, New York and San Francisco, California, and comes to BarakaBits after 4 years of living in Geneva, Switzerland. There she co-founded the first company specialized in transnational affairs and technology. TJ has worked building public-private partnerships across many sectors and borders, and has almost 10 years of communications industry experience.

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