High-Impact Entrepreneurship

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42 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 12 Countries Join the Endeavor Network at the 55th International Selection Panel in Istanbul

Istanbul, Turkey – October 24, 2014 – At the 55th Endeavor International Selection Panel (ISP), 42 high-impact entrepreneurs leading 23 companies from 12 countries were welcomed into the Endeavor network. Endeavor now supports 990 High-Impact Entrepreneurs from 629 companies across 21 countries. […]

October 24th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Saudi Arabia Celebrates the Impact of Endeavor, Convenes 200+ Influencers

In May, Endeavor Saudia Arabia brought together more than 200 entrepreneurs, business leaders and policymakers in a gala event that celebrated the official launch of the affiliate, which was announced in 2012. The event took […]

May 27th, 2014 — by admin

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Endeavor Entrepreneurs selected as part of top 20 Lebanese entrepreneurs

Reprinted from Executive Magazine. Original article here.

By Maya Sioufi

Lebanese with entrepreneurial spirit and a business idea are no longer left to their own devices. Locally, they can find an incubator willing to provide a place to work from and assist them through mentorship and support. Alternatively, they might choose an accelerator eager to speed up their idea is solid enough, entrepreneurs might even win a prize or two from one of the various entrepreneurial awards being offered in Lebanon. And for financing, the main option a few years ago was to beg for dough from family and friends, whereas now entrepreneurs are increasingly likely to be granted a loan, or even equity from a number of venture capitalists that have set up shop in Lebanon.

Granted, the obstacles to reaching success are numerous – from the lack of a solid information technology infrastructure to political instability made worse by last month’s bombing in the heart of Beirut – but with talent and ambition, entrepreneurs are increasingly able to overcome obstacles like these and thrive. Executive picks the top 20 Lebanese entrepreneurs that look to have what it takes to make it, and marks its favorite five with our exclusive stamp of approval.


Entrepreneur: Brahms Chouity
Age: 34
Industry: Mobile gaming
Established in: 2011
Number of employees: 11
Revenues: Generated more than $700,000 in the first three quarters of the year and expects to generate $3 million in 2013. With no subscription fees, the company generates revenues through sponsorship of its tournaments. Its client-base is made up of high profile names: American video game developer Electronic Arts, Swiss provider of PC accessories Logitech, American semiconductor company Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and video console provider PlayStation ME.

The offering: At7addak.com is an Arabic gaming website allowing users to challenge each other on their favorite video games for cash and prizes. Using their existing gaming platforms (such as consoles, PCs, mobile devices etc.), gamers can compete head-to-head or in teams. The site also boasts exclusive content including news and game reviews, both in English and Arabic (see more in Executive’s September issue).

Achievements: 80,000 registered users as of August. 5 million page views on their website per month and 250,000 fans on their Facebook page, the second highest number of fans of any website in the Middle East. Winner of the the Wamda Award for Best Startup (2011). Selected by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Self-funded.

Capital raising: No intention to raise capital at least for the next year or two. Looking to sell the business at its peak.

Strategy going forward:
1) Perfect the concept through At7addak.com version 2.0 (coming in three months);
2) increase the website traffic;
3) increase the online advertising revenue.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “I would like to find a successful and rewarding exit out of At7addak.com. In five years, I will probably be doing what I’ve wanted to do all my life: running my own venture capital firm with my best friends. One non-stop party,” says Brahms.


Eastline Marketing
Entrepreneurs: Marc Dfouni & Nemr Nicolas Badine
Age: Marc 35, Nemr 35
Industry: Online marketing
Established in: 2006
Number of employees: 15
Revenues: $800,000 in 2011 and expect to reach $1.2 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013.

The offering: Eastline Marketing creates and executes online marketing strategies for their customers across the digital landscape. Their services cover social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid search marketing, online advertising and online public relations. ELM also developed its own proprietary technology to create market-leading social media campaigns on social networks for brands looking to grow and strengthen their client base.

Achievements: Developed campaigns for Kimberly-Clark, Toyota, Majid Al Futaim, DHL, FXCM as well as local banks Audi and Fransabank. Selected in 2011 by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Two Webby Awards (annual international award given by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for excellence in Internet) in 2010 for their online marketing of website “Love Letters to the Future.” Gemini Award given by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television in 2010 for “Love Letters to the Future”.

Financing so far: Received two Kafalat loans: one in 2009 for $90,000 and one this year for $240,000

Capital raising: Looking to raise $2 million to $3 million from strategic investors by 2013.

Strategy going forward:
1) Offer 360 degrees digital marketing services (social media marketing, search engine marketing, display advertising, mobile marketing)
2) Expand the social media marketing software platform.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “A leading digital marketing player in the Middle East region with the aim to become a business worth more than $20 million by 2016,” say Marc and Nemr.


ElementN Holding
Entrepreneur: Rabih Nassar
Age: 41
Industry: Technology
Established in: 2003
Number of employees: 60
Revenues: $2 million in 2011, expected to grow by 75 percent in 2012 to reach $3.5 million and $5 million in 2013

The offering: ElementN Holding is a group of companies based out of Beirut and New York that provide a number of technological products and solutions. ElementN Technologies offers mobile operators a number of solutions to enhance the customer experience using the web, mobile and call center channels. CADstrata is a software that provides a comprehensive standardization and collaboration solution for architects and building design professionals who use Autodesk, Adobe and Microsoft products. Apstrata is a leading mobile back-end-as-a-service, meaning it takes care of the back end code of an application and allows developers to focus on the front-end code. This service helps mobile developers cut their costs and accelerate the development time. (See more in Executive’s September issue).

Achievements: Selected among the top five fast growing Lebanese startups in 2010 by AllWorld Network, a non-governmental organization. Selected by Endeavor in 2012, a non-profit non-governmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Initially self-funded then raised $1.2 million in equity financing from Berytech Fund in 2010.

Capital raising: Currently in the process of raising $7 million in equity in a second round of investing.

Strategy going forward: Establish Apstrata as the leading global back-end-as-a-service used by application developers and mobile operators.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “A recognized leading global technology provider operating from Lebanon, offering continuous thought leadership and innovation for cloud-based application development,” says Rabih.


MobiNetS Off Shore S.A.L
Entrepreneur: Labib Shalak
Age: 39
Industry: Software technology
Established in: 2003
Number of employees: 94
Revenues: Refused to disclose revenues.

The offering: Mobinets’ solutions assist network operators in managing their mobile networks by providing them with operating support systems providing improved visibility and control over the networks. Mobinets’ fully automated platform eliminates the need for multiple databases and spreadsheets to manage network inventory and helps operators improve operational efficiencies and reduce costs while enabling rapid new product/service roll out.

Achievements: Solutions used by 18 clients across the EMEA region. Selected in 2011 by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Raised $2 million in equity capital from the International Financial Corporation, a division of the World Bank.

Capital raising: In advanced communication to raise $5 million from a local investment bank.

Strategy going forward:
1) Solidify position of mobile operators in the service fulfillment, the supply chain activities which provide services to subscribers, and service assurance which guarantees a predefined quality of service
2) Continue on growing within Europe and abroad.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “We see ourselves as a major player in the service fulfillment and service assurance [sector]”, says Labib.


Mosaic Marble
Entrepreneur: Taline Assi
Age: 34
Industry: Retail
Established in: 2003
Number of employees: 14
Revenues: $1.5 million in 2011
The offering: Mosaic Marble offers more than 5,000 mosaic designs as well as custom made orders sold through their website, eBay, a showroom in Lebanon and several resellers scattered worldwide. Their main market is the US, accounting for 60 percent of their orders and their main customers are retail clients.

Achievements: Custom orders from Oprah Winfrey, the municipality of Rome, Queen Elizabeth Theatre in London and a landmark project in New York. Products sold to more than 7,000 retail clients. Website available in 13 different languages. Selected by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Financing so far: Received a Kafalat loan for $450,000 and other credit facilities; received $100,000 equity capital injection from a new partner.

Capital raising: Looking to raise $1 million next year in a first phase of financing from a strategic investor in order to set up a showroom in California in 2014, hire a salesperson to target professional clients in the Middle East and for other expenses.

Strategy going forward:
1) Cater more to professional clients such as architects and construction companies
2) Target markets in the Middle East — such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait — but also beyond the region, more specifically Japan, Russia and Australia
3) Move production from Syria (where currently 70 percent of production takes place) to Lebanon.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “Being the worldwide leader in hand cut marble mosaics”, says Taline.


Print Works
Entrepreneur: Jad Khoury
Age: 46
Industry: Media
Established in: 1999
Number of employees: 275
Revenues: Around $15 million
The offering: With offices in Beirut and Dubai, Print Works offers printing and fabrication solutions, often incorporating a variety of mediums in addition to distribution and installation. Print Works’ services cover printing and production for traditional large-scale advertising (billboards, branding on vehicles), promotional events (product launches, sponsorship events), and longer-term brand experiences (podiums in malls, point of sale display stands).

Achievements: Sold printing and fabrication solutions to around 3,000 clients including Yves Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Channel, Cartier, British American Tobacco, JWT and Leo Burnett. Selected in 2012 by Endeavor, a non-profit nongovernmental organization that supports high-impact entrepreneurs in emerging markets. Selected in 2010 to be part of the Arabia 500 by AllWorld Network which provides ranking for the fastest growing private companies in different regions in the world. Selected also in 2010 to be part of AllWorld’s Lebanon 25 ranking.

Financing so far: Self-funded with facilities from local banks.

Capital raising: Not looking to raise capital.

Strategy going forward: Plan to open an office in Riyadh in the middle of 2013 followed by an office in Erbil, Iraq.

Where do you see yourself in five years? “The leading full service provider in the printing and production space in the region,” says Jad.

Endeavor and SAP launch a global partnership to support high-impact entrepreneurship

As part of its new emerging entrepreneurs initiative, enterprise software company SAP has announced a three-year commitment to Endeavor Global and Endeavor Brazil as part of a formal global partnership. The alliance builds on a longstanding relationship between the organizations. As one example of our previous collaboration, SAP created an Impact Dashboard for Endeavor that illustrates how High-Impact Entrepreneurs grow revenue and jobs 2.4 and 5.4 times faster respectively than comparable firms.

Most recently, Endeavor co-founder and CEO Linda Rottenberg participated alongside SAP co-CEO Bill McDermott in a “Power of Small” Influencer Roundtable at the SAP SME Summit, held in New York City on November 29. The full video of the panel can be viewed below.

As part of the partnership, select employees of SAP will volunteer as mentors for Endeavor Entrepreneurs around the world. SAP will also drive initiatives for technology innovation, including design thinking workshops. SAP will also participate in Endeavor’s Investor Network, which provides introductions for qualified institutional and venture investors to successful emerging market companies.

“Endeavor looks forward to expanding on our record in additional countries and with the help of partners like SAP,” said Linda Rottenberg. “This is truly a high-impact partnership.”

Meanwhile, SAP will work directly with Endeavor Brazil to provide a suite of special services. Specifically, the company will select 50 Endeavor Entrepreneurs to receive custom benefits and mentorship by March 2013. By November 2013, 20 of these entrepreneurs will also receive a growth grant and donated technology.

Additionally, SAP and Endeavor Brazil will establish an initiative to track and monitor entrepreneurship conditions in Brazil. The organizations will also launch an online entrepreneurship platform, and Endeavor will lead efforts to showcase entrepreneurial progress in designated cities in Brazil–beginning in January 2013 in Rio de Janeiro.

“There are 4 million registered companies in Brazil, of which 30,000 are high-growth and responsible for 57 percent of jobs in Brazil,” said Rodrigo Teles, managing director, Endeavor Brazil. “Today, Endeavor Brazil supports 56 companies in Brazil. The partnership with SAP will catalyze Endeavor Brazil’s network of high-impact entrepreneurs by helping more high-growth companies access capital and mentors, creating a new generation of successful entrepreneurs.”

Said Bill McDermott of SAP, “Today’s entrepreneurs are the bedrock of tomorrow’s economy. We believe in the ‘Power of Small,’ and that the private sector plays a vital role in helping small businesses and entrepreneurs drive innovation, job creation and wealth. We recognize that helping entrepreneurs and small businesses achieve their full potential is not something that can be achieved in a 90-day cycle. With this initiative, SAP is making a clear commitment to invest in their long-term future by providing talent, technology and capital.”

Die-hard Indonesian gamer and Endeavor Entrepreneur turns obsession into winning business plan

Reprinted from Jakarta Globe. Original article here.

By Antonny Saputra

There are hundreds of online games published around the world every day, with dozens of them dubbed “the most popular” during their brief time in the spotlight.

With millions of die-hard fans spending hours in front of their computers all day long, game publishers can earn millions of dollars in profit through vouchers required for the players to keep playing, or through the sale of advanced items to players to enhance their gameplay.

Amid the sea of Indonesian gamers, one man has managed to find his own fortune within the online-gaming industry.

Vincent Iswaratioso is one of the founders of Indomog, an online company that provides people with an easy payment-solution option to purchase online gaming vouchers.

The website, which he launched with three of his friends in 2007, features an elegant Web layout that is free of unrelated pop-up ads and banners.

It was his success with the business that led Vincent to be chosen as one of three entrepreneurs to represent Indonesia at Endeavor’s 45th International Selection Panel in Istanbul, Turkey last month. Endeavor is an organization that aims to mentor promising entrepreneurs.

Vincent was joined by Niki Luhur, president director of payment-solutions company Kartuku, and Aldi Haryopratomo, chief executive of social enterprise Ruma.

“We attracted entrepreneur candidates from four continents to Istanbul, representing the true breadth of Endeavor’s efforts to identify and support high impact entrepreneurs throughout the world,” said Endeavor co-founder and chief executive Linda Rottenberg.

“After an outstanding ISP in Istanbul, I am thrilled to welcome our first Endeavor Entrepreneurs from Indonesia. We commend Vincent, Niki, and Aldi for their achievements thus far, and look forward to being part of their growth stories in the years to come.”

Vincent and his friends were still testing the waters of Indomog during their first three years of operation.

“It was a trial and error process for us in the beginning. We’ve even changed our management three times,” Vincent said.

Vincent, who is quite the gamer himself, was once among the hundreds of thousands of Ultima Online players when the MMORPG (massively multiplayer online role-playing game) was released in late 1997.

Now, 15 years later, Vincent is helping streamline the process for die-hard players by providing a one-stop solution to access every available popular online game in Indonesia.

“In a way, playing online games is also a form of education. Some adventure games teach you about history and geography and of course the online elements encourages social interaction. This is why I think it’s a mistake to see online gamers as geeks, although console players who only play single-player games may prove to be different,” Vincent said about his support for children and teenagers to play more online games.

As one of the biggest markets for online gaming in Asia, one could wonder why Indonesian publishers don’t consistently develop their own high-profile MMORPG to cover our huge market. Vincent argued that one of the biggest problems people faced here was the fact that capable experts required for the tiny details of game development were all spread out.

“It’s hard to assemble the team,” he said. Established 15 years ago, Endeavor is a non-profit organization that aims to lead the global movement toward accelerating long-term economic growth. This is achieved by monitoring, selecting, mentoring and promoting the best high-impact entrepreneurs around the world.

The organization’s community assists their selected entrepreneurs in overcoming developmental challenges through solid networking, access to smart capital, strategic advising and inspiration from successful world-renowned businessmen and women alike.

Endeavor chooses entrepreneurs like Vincent from around the world, with the hope that these talented people create job opportunities, become role models for others and foster an entrepreneurship ecosystem that promotes investment.

And now with its consistent growth, Endeavor has expanded to 15 different countries including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, with its Indonesian branch launched in February this year.

Vincent was one of the thousands of entrepreneurs Endeavor screened through an intense selection process, which lasted more than 12 months.

Participants had to pass a series of local and regional interviews before presenting themselves to the panelists of its global business network at an international selection panel, which is held four to five times each year.

When people are finally selected as an Endeavor Entrepreneur, they will then receive guidance from mentors who voluntarily dedicate their time.

Endeavor entrepreneurs have created more than 180,000 jobs, contributed billions of dollars into local economies and have become role models for young people in developing economies.

Silicon Valley to Beirut: Recommendations for VCs

As highlighted in a new report by Endeavor Insight, entitled “How to Improve Access to Finance in Lebanon,” Lebanon is primed to make its mark on entrepreneurship.

To make this mark, all actors in the ecosystem have specific roles to embrace in order to expand access to finance—a crucial piece of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems.  From interviews with nearly 20 influential Lebanese actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (including VCs, incubators, entrepreneurs, etc.), it is unsurprising that funders (particularly VCs) have an important, immediate role to play in the development of the Lebanese funding landscape. Below are key actions which emerged in interviews:

1)      Build a team that includes ex-entrepreneurs: VCs should make sure they have a good mix of investment professionals AND ex-entrepreneurs on their teams. “VCs need more people who have started their own business and have walked in our shoes,” comments Rabih Nassar, founder of Element^n. Currently, entrepreneurs often believe that VCs do not have enough people with the relevant personal experience to provide strategic guidance. VCs should make sure they are developing well-balanced teams that include people who have built a business and understand what it takes.

2)      Be transparent: VCs can be more transparent in simply explaining what they are looking for. By putting out sample term sheets, similar to what Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures posts on his blog, companies will get a sense of what they are signing up for. Similarly, VCs can include templates for the types of presentations and information they are looking for in pitches along with sample financial models. “They also need to talk about the investments they have made and how they are doing,” comments Samer Karam of Seeqnce, one of the few accelerators in Lebanon. By being more transparent about their requirements and their performance, both VCs and entrepreneurs can save a lot of time.

To learn more about where Lebanon is now, as well as read recommendations for how it can fully capitalize on its bright future, please read the full report here.

Endeavor Entrepreneur Diego Saez-Gil honored with “Most Innovative Travel Startup of the Year” award

By Hilary Saccomanno, Endeavor intern

Endeavor Entrepreneur Diego Saez-Gil and his partners have been honored by the travel industry with the “Most Innovative Travel Startup of the Year” Award.

Wehostels was recognized and awarded the honor by 12 travel executives, including CEOs and VPs from companies like Expedia, Priceline, Sabre, Google and Viator among others at the PhocusWright Confrence’s Travel Innovation Summit.

When Diego and his partners created Wehostels, they aimed not only to allow people to book affordable accommodation quickly and easily but also to connect them with other travelers to build a community of young global adventurers. Beginning by constructing a website that facilitated travel and accommodation, they immediately recognized a trend in people’s increasing use of mobile devices instead of the web to book their arrangements. They also noticed that travel companies were not facilitating this trend. So, they made a shift in the way they connected people through virtual space by deciding to get rid of their website and “go mobile or go home.”

With a beautifully crafted application and a simple design that facilitates booking and even makes it fun (never before has credit card payment been enjoyable), Wehostels is not only creating a new use for technology but also facilitating new friendships by creating a new social forum and network of similarly minded adventurous individuals. Moreover, and as validated by industry experts, they have proven to possess obvious entrepreneurial instincts that promise to continue guiding their business decisions.

The PhoCusWright Confrence attracts the world’s leaders in travel, who attend or tune in annually to get the latest in research, ideas and inspiration from the industry’s innovators. The Travel Innovation Summit is a feature of the conference that is used to bring innovative ideas, applications and individuals center stage. Previous winners have gone on to develop the ideas for companies like Tripit, Gogobot, EveryTrail, Hipmunk and Groundlink. No less is expected from Diego. His company just announced their ambition to become the World Largest Mobile Travel Agency for the Youth Travel Market. Be sure to connect with him and Wehostels to see how they continue innovating to connect people and facilitate their experiences. In addition, if you invite friends, both you and your friends will receive $10 to use on future bookings.

Endeavor Entrepreneur company Fairtrasa wins 2012 Social Entrepreneurship award

The Americas Business Council (abc*) Foundation, a self-defined “think-do tank”, is on the forefront of empowerment and innovation in the Americas. The recent abc* Continuity Forum was held last week in Miami, and with keynote speakers such as Kofi Annan, Steve Wozniak and many other leaders in the field, the event was an impressive meeting of influential minds. Over 500 initiatives applied for support and funding from abc* to implement their initiatives over the next two years. Of these 500 entries, 32 finalists were given a chance to present their ventures at the forum. Endeavor’s own Fairtrasa was chosen as a 2012 winner.

Fairtrasa, Fairtrade South America, champions sustainable fair trade in Latin America through technical support and greater access, Fairtrasa ensures fair compensation for small-scale farmers as well as a high-quality product to markets overseas.

Patrick Struebi, Endeavor Entrepreneur and founder/CEO of Fairtrasa, was gracious in the acceptance of the award, stating that “this award is not only a very important recognition for the work we have been doing but also a clear sign that large organizations and political leaders increasingly recognize the importance and value of sustainable food projects and the need for including small scale-farmers into the world’s food supply systems. As a winner we will now receive support from the most influential business leaders over the course of the next two years to further scale our business to increase the positive impact for many more farmers.”

With the support of The Americas Business Council, the next two years will be full of growth not only for Fairtrasa, but for the small-scale farming initiatives they sponsor as well.

Silicon Valley to Beirut: Recommendations for Entrepreneurs

As highlighted in a new report by Endeavor Insight, entitled “How to Improve Access to Finance in Lebanon,” Lebanon is primed to make its mark on entrepreneurship.

To make this mark, all actors in the ecosystem have specific roles to embrace in order to expand access to finance—a crucial piece of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems.  From interviews with nearly 20 influential Lebanese actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (including VCs, incubators, entrepreneurs, etc.), it is evident that entrepreneurs themselves have an important, immediate role to play in the development of the Lebanese funding landscape.  Be on the lookout for actionable recommendations for other ecosystem actors over the next few days.    Below are key actions which emerged in interviews:

1)      Learn to bootstrap: Too many entrepreneurs see successes in Silicon Valley as evidence that funding should fall into their lap. As Elie Khoury, co-founder of YallaStartup says, “YallaStartup means ‘start working!’ YOU as an entrepreneur have to start figuring out how to make it work with low funding.” Entrepreneurs in Lebanon need to learn the importance of making sacrifices and bootstrapping. Plenty of entrepreneurs have created highly successful businesses with only limited funding in the early stages, but it required great sacrifice to pursue what they believed in.

2)      Be investment-ready: Entrepreneurs should not worry about approaching VCs until they are ready. They need to have something to show–a prototype, a demo or a proven model–before approaching funders. Too often, entrepreneurs show up with a “great idea” and a business plan without any proof of concept or revenue model. “Take the time to go through the process,” advises Walid Hanna of MEVP. “Build the business, work with incubators, be patient, get good mentors and wait until you are ready to approach VCs.”

3)      Look for strategic partnerships: After seeking out family and friends, most Lebanese entrepreneurs approach VC firms for funding. However, there is an alternative to traditional VC that can often be a better match – strategic partnerships or smart money. “Liaise with bigger companies that can benefit you in ways other than capital,” recommends Fadi Daou, serial entrepreneur and founder of MultiLane SAL. For example, rather than seeking traditional VC funding, a startup focused on providing media services might consider developing a partnership with a top media agency in Beirut.  These types of partnerships can provide strategic direction in addition to funding.

To learn more about where Lebanon is now, as well as read recommendations for how it can fully capitalize on its bright future, please read the full report here.

Video interview: Endeavor Entrepreneur Wael Attili of Kharabeesh [Wamda TV]

Reprinted from Wamda. Original article here.

By Nina Curley

This week’s entrepreneur of the week is Wael Attili, the founder of animation and Arabic digital media company Kharabeesh and Endeavor Jordan company Think Arabia, a creative production, technology and publishing company for the Middle East and North Africa.

Kharabeesh is one of Jordan’s success stories currently, not just because they created our icon, The Mini Entrepreneur. After several of its political cartoons went viral during the Arab Spring, the company began expanding and now offers five seperate content streams, Toons, its adult animation channel, Dawsha, its music production channel, Tahsheesh, its comedy center, Kharabeesh Street, its talk show channel, and Rusoom, its channel for caricatures.

Attili, who spoke at CoE Animate about how the internet democratized animation, chats about how Kharabeesh monetizes digital content, why Kharabeesh has launched a roadshow in Amman and Ramallah that will come to Dubai, and how his family has supported him through the company’s tougher moments.

It’s a new era for digital media in the region. “This is the first time we see young celebrities from YouTube and people are waiting to get their autograph. This is something we’ve never been able to see before,” he says.

[Disclosure: Think Arabia has received funding from MENA Ventures, the investment vehicle run by Wamda's Chairman, Fadi Ghandour].

Silicon Valley to Beirut: Recommendations for Government officials

As highlighted in a new report by Endeavor Insight, entitled “How to Improve Access to Finance in Lebanon,” Lebanon is primed to make its mark on entrepreneurship. To make this mark, all actors in the ecosystem have specific roles to embrace in order to expand access to finance—a crucial piece of successful entrepreneurial ecosystems.  From interviews with nearly 20 influential Lebanese actors in the entrepreneurial ecosystem (including VCs, incubators, entrepreneurs, etc.), it was evident that government has an important, immediate role to play in the development of the Lebanese funding landscape.  Be on the lookout for actionable recommendations for other ecosystem actors over the next few days.    Below are key potential governmental actions which emerged in interviews:


1)      Focus on infrastructure: “The government needs to work on providing the basics” (Elie Akhrass, Kafalat). 100% of the funders and facilitators interviewed said that the main thing the government should work on was developing infrastructure. In order to foster a truly dynamic entrepreneurial environment, the basics, electricity and internet, need to be reliable utilities.

2)      Create a space to foster entrepreneurship: The government should invest in creating a space, or “Entrepreneur City” that is exclusively for entrepreneurs. Similar to the concept of New York’s General Assembly, which receives city funding in order to promote education around technology, design, and innovation, providing a home for this sector will encourage collaboration and foster education amongst entrepreneurs. “We need a home for this space,” comments Omar Christidis of Arab Net. “This is a key way to stimulate growth in the sector.”

To learn more about where Lebanon is now, as well as read recommendations for how it can fully capitalize on its bright future, please read the full report here.

Recognizing the power of digital dreams: Eastline Marketing’s founders among Executive‘s “Top 20 Entrepreneurs”

Reprinted from Eastline Marketing. Original press release here.

Beirut, Lebanon, November 10, 2012: Executive, a highly respected Lebanese business magazine, selected 20 outstanding entrepreneurs and featured them in an article published online on the 2nd of November 2012. Eastline Marketing’s founders, [Endeavor Entrepreneurs] Marc Dfouni and Nemr Nicolas Badine, were among the privileged few to receive this prestigious magazine’s stamp of approval. Dfouni and Badine were chosen since they have shown they have the drive to succeed and the ability to rise to the challenges inherent in a country brimming with instability.

Founded in 2006, Eastline Marketing specialises in online marketing and has gained a solid reputation over the years. The team is now 15 members strong and revenues are steadily growing. In 2011 they were $800,000 and are expected to soar to $1.2 million in 2012 and $2 million in 2013.

The 35 year old entrepreneurs were honoured to receive this stamp of approval from Executive. Nemr Nicolas Badine commented that this was “Another great accolade for Eastline and the best is yet to come…” While Marc Dfouni stated, “We are very flattered to have been selected amongst the top 20 entrepreneurs in Lebanon and this comes with great gratification. Our aim is to become the leading digital marketing player in the Middle East region by 2016. This recognition is an encouraging sign that we’re on the right track.”

An award-winning online marketing firm, Eastline Marketing focuses on strategies that best address their clients’ needs and goals. Specialized in social media marketing, search engine optimization, paid search marketing, online advertising and online public relations, the firm has also created its very own technology to garner optimal results and impact.

Eastline Marketing has a vision and is taking steps to make it a reality by offering comprehensive digital marketing services (social media marketing, search engine marketing, display advertising and mobile marketing) and enlarging the potential of its social media marketing software platform. Badine and Dfouni’s digital dreams look set to leave their mark on the real world of business and online marketing.

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