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9 Inspirational Quotes by Arab Entrepreneurs

A region booming with entrepreneurial ecosystems and startup accelerators, the Middle East promises to flourish with opportunities for young changemakers in 2015. In order to kick off the year with bits of inspiration, BarakaBits has selected 9 quotes by Arab entrepreneurs, mentors and innovators.

1. “It’s time to invent jobs, not just seek jobs; to write business plans, not just CVs.  It is time to create structural and permanent ways to engage.” – Ahmad Alhendawi, United Nations Secretary-General’s Envoy on Youth.  

2. “Most successful entrepreneurs are where they are because somebody told them ‘you cannot do it’, so you kind of have the encouragement to prove that person wrong.” – Abdallah Absi, founder of Zoomaal.

3. “The things that went wrong and the lessons learnt, even if it was 16 years ago, will always stay in my memory. You have to take failure, embrace it, and analyze it looking at all the pieces. It’s only when you look at your failure fully that you find your skills.” – Ahmed El Alfi, CEO at Sawari Ventures.

4. “Female entrepreneurship is not a new practice in Egypt. For hundreds of years, women have been helping their families by doing independent micro-projects, striving to utilize their skills to sustain a decent living and move the wheel of economy from their homes. It is the business definition and the ecosystem which are fairly new.” – Rasha Abo Elsoud, CEO of Maktaby and The Workshops.

5. “As an entrepreneur, you must be ready for huge amounts of resistance, because every time we do something crazy, we’re reminding them that they did not need to go with the norm, and they could have been happy too.” – Ibrahim Mahgoub, Entrepreneur Coach at the Startup school.

6. “I believe that I was lucky to have suffered. Some people don’t realize that in suffering there is great potential, because if you are deprived for any reason.. politically, financially, socially or otherwise.. and if you set your mind in the right direction, you will find that the only way to survive is for you to excel, by being better so you can be treated better.” –  Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, founder of TAGorg.

7. “Social entrepreneurship is entrepreneurship that impacts those in need with every next product sold. The magic that happens is that you get to a cost structure where delivering the social service is zero.” – Ahmed Ashkar, the Hult Prize.

8. “People tell you keep your job, start the company on the side. If I’m doing it on the side, then probably one of the reasons it fails is because I didn’t dedicate enough time to it.” – Omar Samra, CEO of Wild Wanabana.

9. “As a woman, you have many factors holding you back and it is easy to fall into that comfort zone. But if you are a fighter and you are determined with that dream in your mind, you don’t let anyone get in your way.” –  Dina El Mofty, director of Injaz Egypt.

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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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