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Commentary: Give tech entrepreneurs in the Arab world money and time

I know a country whose June exports jumped 21% from a year earlier.

That same country is rapidly adopting technology, and the Internet contributes as much as a percentage point to its GDP. A nascent but vibrant start-up and venture-capital community is emerging, supported by the likes of Google GOOG -1.00%  , Intel INTC +0.53%  , Microsoft MSFT -0.71%  , Facebook FB -0.42%  , Twitter, LinkedIn LNKD -1.75%  and other global tech titans.

The Atlantic

Startups are sprouting up across the Middle East, and in spite of social mores, women are holding their own.


A quick quiz—perhaps the last one of your life, at least for those of you without graduate school ambitions:

Q: What country, on a per capita basis, is the largest consumer of YouTube?
A: Wrong, it is Saudi Arabia. The largest audience there, by the way, is women; the largest content category they watch is education.

All Things D

It is a striking feature of the growing startup ecosystems in the Middle East that the lines between “entrepreneurship” and “social entrepreneurship” — that is, entrepreneurship that makes a social impact — often blur.

The Harvard Business Review

Venture capital is ignoring the Middle East for all the wrong reasons. Ultimately, playing it safe will cause them to yield new opportunities.

Pando Daily

Istanbul traffic can be unpredictable. As the hub of one of the world’s most rapidly growing countries, with a population nearly doubling to 14 million over the last two decades, the city was recently named the most congested in Europe in 2012. What should be a 10-minute cab ride can turn into gridlock with little warning. So you might guess starting an online delivery in Istanbul business might not be such a good idea. But you’d be wrong.

All Things D

If I were to describe a country where the Internet contributes as much as a percentage of GDP as its health services, education and oil industries, and is growing at nearly twice the rate as in Europe — driven in large part by growth in private and corporate-backed entrepreneurship — where would you guess?


Those who believe linear careers are linearly predictable might think Arif Naqvi has had consistently bad timing. The Karachi-born investor studied Soviet Economic Systems and National Planning at the London School of Economics a few years before the Soviet Union collapsed. He moved from London to Saudi Arabia three days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. He led and funded the Celebration of Entrepreneurship, then the largest gathering of start-up entrepreneurs in the Middle East, two months before the Arab uprisings consumed the region.

The Harvard Business Review

We in the West tend to think of innovation as the next, new, shiny, tech, globally-accepted thing. But in emerging growth markets, new access to even existing technologies (e.g., higher-speed broadband, mobile phones, smart devices), can lead to fresh and surprising thinking about local and regional problems, and one day these over-looked corners of the globe may produce world-class innovations as a result.

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