Inventive, resilient, and amazingly young, the Middle East’s new generation of entrepreneurs is shaping a revolutionary ecosystem with rules of its own. BarakaBits has selected 10 Arab entrepreneur stories that prove startups had no roof in 2014.

1. He Is 22 and Founded 6 Companies: Meet Abdallah Absi, the Brain Behind Zoomaal. In an exclusive interview at the Rise Up Summit in Cairo, the owner of the Middle East’s leading crowdfunding platform explains how he went from a college dropout to a successful businessman.

2. How This Woman Started a Successful Business In a Place You Think There Is Only War. The story of Amira Irzuna, who started her event photography enterprise after she moved back to her home country in 2013.

3. 7 Inspiring Pieces of Advice for Arab Entrepreneurs. The Rise Up Summit, held in October in Cairo, brought some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and investors to Egypt, who shared some tips for startups seeking investment. 

4. Entrepreneurs Only Get Younger in Egypt: Girl Turns Her Fashion-Passion into a Social Business. How a surprisingly young woman mastered multi-tasking to set up an online company that helps Cairo’s female tailors.

5. This Iraqi-American Went from Journalist, to Diplomat, to Working at Google. In an interview with BarakaBits, Deena Shakir, a speaker at the TechWadi Forum held in San Francisco (USA) last June, explains how she made her career choices.

6. 7 New Start-up Hubs Every Arab Entrepreneur Should Know. Barakabits selected seven rising tech hubs, business incubators and start-up accelerators that are propelling innovators to the top of their game.

7. Why Most Startups Fail? 5 Mistakes to Avoid. As part of the Global Entrepreneurship Week held in November, entrepreneur coach Ibrahim Mahgoub explains the five traps all startups fall into –and how to avoid them.

8. Ahmed El Alfi: “You Have To Embrace Failure”. The founder of Sawari Ventures and father-figure of Egypt’s entrepreneurs sits with BarakaBits to explore his biggest failure, and considers how it shaped the future course of his career.

9. How the Cake Concept Can Help Young Egyptians Create New Businesses. We speak to Anis Mohamed, expert trainer at AIESEC’s Egypt Youth to Business Forum, held in June, on an innovative concept that promises to change the way we think about business.

10. 9 Tips for Female Arab Entrepreneurs from the Mena ICT Forum. The Forum, held in Jordan, gave women leaders an opportunity to share best practices and top tips to the next generation of women entrepreneurs.

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Valentina Primo

Journalist, globetrotter, and determined idealist. Since Valentina left her home country of Argentina, she has searched for ways to build bridges between cultures and foster dialogue. Her previous work in international organizations in Italy and Germany fed her passion for the world of development, while her 8-year journalistic experience in Argentina and Egypt increased her curiosity for everything that challenges the stereotype. She holds a BA in Journalism and a Masters in Peace Studies with a specialization in Human Rights.

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