High-Impact Entrepreneurship

eMBA field report: spreading innovative design from Lebanon to Saudi Arabia

A demonstration of Nada Debs’ hand-crafted design in the Nada Debs Gallery in Beirut during Beirut Design Week

Abulaziz Baroum is an MBA candidate at Babson College’s F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. He is interning with Endeavor Entrepreneur Nada Debs in Lebanon through Endeavor’s eMBA Program.

The Land of Entrepreneurs

Lebanon is a colorful country with resilient, highly independent, and self-made people.  I am working in Lebanon with an entrepreneur, Nada Debs, who employs an entrepreneur, who, himself, has an entrepreneur reporting to him (!).

Applying to Endeavor’s eMBA Program

I come from the Middle East with a corporate background from Procter & Gamble.  Given the challenges we are facing in the Middle East – a high unemployment rate and a young population – entrepreneurship stands out as the single greatest remedy to our region’s crisis.  Hence, my decision to join Babson, the number one school for entrepreneurship, where I learned about Endeavor and its efforts in supporting high impact entrepreneurs.  And it was at Babson where a colleague of mine brought the eMBA position at Nada Debs to my attention.

About Nada Debs

Nada Debs is an inspiring and creative entrepreneur.  She discovered that designs for modern, Middle Eastern furniture were almost non-existent and created her company, East and East, which concentrates on designing, manufacturing and selling her own furniture and home accessory lines.

My Project Scope

In light of the rapid business growth and brand awareness that Nada Debs has achieved, the management team has decided to increase the company’s global presence; and with the unprecedented development and real estate boom taking place in Saudi it was only natural to grow into the Saudi market.  My project is mainly focused on defining the Saudi Arabia market entry strategy.

A Venture from the Inside

My journey so far has been enlightening, to say the least.  I’ve been reading and learning about entrepreneurship and startups throughout my year at Babson.  What I’ve been taught has definitely come in handy, but nothing matches a view from the inside. Almost everything here is an opportunity-driven team effort, something you can’t really teach in a classroom.

In Lebanon, burning tires is a popular sign of protest, which has been banned recently. This picture was taken during Beirut Design Week (June 25-30, 2012). It was a creative display by a Lebanese fabric designer. The smoke was artificial of course; otherwise, wouldn’t have been so creative after all.

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