Announcing the new Wamda: A 360 degree approach to supporting entrepreneurship in MENA

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In November 2010, the region witnessed the Celebration of Entrepreneurship (CoE), one of the most comprehensive entrepreneurship events to date. During the event, Wamda was launched as an online platform to “inspire, empower and connect” entrepreneurs in the Middle East and North Africa. In the past few months, Wamda has evolved even further in relevance, depth and reach, and we are excited to share with you what we have been up to.

To further serve its mission, Wamda is now taking a 360-degree approach to filling the gaps in the regional entrepreneurship ecosystem, through three primary platforms:

  1. The Media Arm. Relaunched with a completely new look, the media site on wamda.com offers written articles, reports, and videos designed to spotlight the stories of small businesses throughout the region, inspire and educate entrepreneurs, and cover growth trends.
     
  2. The Fund: Wamda Capital invests in early stage startups in the MENA region. The fund is industry-agnostic, investing in both tech and non-tech-focused startups. We also support startups beyond financial investment, helping them grow and maximize their potential. We have already invested in a few startups in the past couple of months; announcements are coming soon.
     
  3. Programs and Products: To scale our impact, we plan on launching compelling programs and products geared towards helping startups setting up, running and growing a company. We’ll be publicly launching some in coming few months. 

Presenting the Wamda team

Wamda is supported by private equity firm Abraaj Capital. Meet the team behind Wamda. We are a small and dynamic team who are very passionate about making a lasting impact.

We are also thrilled and honored to announce our Board of Directors that include regional and international thought leaders.

Our chairman, Fadi Ghandour, is a leading entrepreneur and angel investor in the region, not to mention a role model and hands-on advisor who works tirelessly to support entrepreneurs in the region.

Board member Joi Ito is a visionary serial web entrepreneur and investor who serves as the Chair of Creative Commons and now also as the director of the MIT Media Lab.

Chris Schroeder is an experienced media and technology entrepreneur who writes about entrepreneurship in the region, and previously ran health-focused portal HealthCentral, and, before that, Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive.

As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, Jim Hornthal has extensive experience building travel e-commerce companies, and serves as the Lester Center Fellow for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley.

Ovais Naqvi, who works at Abraaj Capital on marketing innovation and its environmental, social, and governance (ESG) arm, has experience in media and content development as well as venture capital and has helped develop the vision for Wamda since its earliest stages.

Finally Wamda’s CEO Habib Haddad, a serial entrepreneur who recently founded Yamli and YallaStartup, sits on the board as well.

We look forward to an exciting ride in 2012!

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