High-Impact Entrepreneurship

Endeavor highlighted on The Economist blog: the other Arab spring

A recent article, “Theintern wants to make sure the artist is credited other Arab spring, on The Economist’s Schumpeter Blog (summarized below) discusses the development of businesses and entrepreneurs in the Middle East. Jordan-based Endeavor company IrisGuard was used as example of one such company that is innovating technology for the Arab World.


2011’s string of protests and uprisings across the Arab world has resulted in a wave of regime changes and progressive reforms. However, behind the political revolution lies an economic one. Entrepreneurship is on the rise throughout the Arab world, and so are the impacts made by business incubators. Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg believes that the Arab world resembles Latin America 10-15 ago. The rise of the Arab start ups has begun, following political reform, and like their Latin American counterparts they are seizing this opportunity to shape their own economic landscape.

One such company doing just that is IrisGuard, which joined Endeavor in 2009. The Economist article describes how the company has innovated for the Arab environment as follows: “IrisGuard developed a system for identifying people from their irises (which means that women do not have to remove their veils). It is now used by border guards and banks across the region and beyond.” And IrisGuard is only one of the many start ups that have taken advantage of the economic climate after the revolutions. While there are still many challenges to overcome in the Arab world, it is becoming increasingly clear that the wheels of entrepreneurship have begun to turn, and aren’t slowing down any time soon.


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