Posts tagged technology

For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore and elucidate the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country’s ongoing economic development. The conference is predicated on the notion that the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation is the indispensable key to sustainable growth. 
In compliance with sanctions and corresponding laws, conference participants will educate each other on the issues impacting high tech entrepreneurship in Iran, the extent to which prevailing conditions in the country deviate from the “global innovation model,” and the steps that should be taken to reduce this gap. Some of the issues that will be explored in the conference include the status of civilian research and development spending, startup growth, protection of intellectual property rights, laws and regulations governing bankruptcy, attraction of venture capital, cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurs’ failure, existence of innovation clusters, ease of starting businesses, and the availability and accessibility of mentors and role models.  Special attention will also be given to how Tehran can thrive by becoming a regional entrepreneurial hotspot, and the role that the city’s diverse and cosmopolitan nature can play in fostering creative tensions and intellectual exchanges that are paramount for unleashing innovation.

For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore and elucidate the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country’s ongoing economic development. The conference is predicated on the notion that the promotion of entrepreneurship and innovation is the indispensable key to sustainable growth. 

In compliance with sanctions and corresponding laws, conference participants will educate each other on the issues impacting high tech entrepreneurship in Iran, the extent to which prevailing conditions in the country deviate from the “global innovation model,” and the steps that should be taken to reduce this gap. Some of the issues that will be explored in the conference include the status of civilian research and development spending, startup growth, protection of intellectual property rights, laws and regulations governing bankruptcy, attraction of venture capital, cultural attitudes towards entrepreneurs’ failure, existence of innovation clusters, ease of starting businesses, and the availability and accessibility of mentors and role models.  Special attention will also be given to how Tehran can thrive by becoming a regional entrepreneurial hotspot, and the role that the city’s diverse and cosmopolitan nature can play in fostering creative tensions and intellectual exchanges that are paramount for unleashing innovation.

The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East has evolved beautifully in the last five years; so has the quality and impact of startups and entrepreneurs. Last year in particular was seminal. Incubators and accelerators tripled capacity, venture capital and angel funds quadrupled, and funds raised by high impact entrepreneurs exceeded $500 million – or 2.5 times the total pool of capital in 2012!
To celebrate this rising tide of entrepreneurship, our Forum this year will focus on the most outstanding achievers. Together with MIT Arab Startup Competition we are organizing a weeklong program to host the top MENA startups ready for global growth. During the week, the entrepreneurs will pitch to VCs and Angel Investors, participate in workshops with brilliant Silicon Valley partners, and benefit from a game-changing mentorship day. The week will be capped with our fifth annual Forum on June 14, highlighting the most impressive Arab entrepreneurs from all over the world.

The entrepreneurship ecosystem in the Middle East has evolved beautifully in the last five years; so has the quality and impact of startups and entrepreneurs. Last year in particular was seminal. Incubators and accelerators tripled capacity, venture capital and angel funds quadrupled, and funds raised by high impact entrepreneurs exceeded $500 million – or 2.5 times the total pool of capital in 2012!

To celebrate this rising tide of entrepreneurship, our Forum this year will focus on the most outstanding achievers. Together with MIT Arab Startup Competition we are organizing a weeklong program to host the top MENA startups ready for global growth. During the week, the entrepreneurs will pitch to VCs and Angel Investors, participate in workshops with brilliant Silicon Valley partners, and benefit from a game-changing mentorship day. The week will be capped with our fifth annual Forum on June 14, highlighting the most impressive Arab entrepreneurs from all over the world.

The Arabs’ scientific vision

Winds of change blow through research centres and universities operating in the Middle East.

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(Image Credit: Northwestern University in Qatar Photo Gallery)

The Canon of Medicine by Ibn Sina (Avicenna in Latin), the studies on algebra and arithmetic of Al-Khwārizmī (Algoritmi), the Book of Optics by Ibn al-Haytham (Alhazen): these are just a few examples of Middle Eastern literature from the past that testify the outstanding contribution of Islamic intellect to modern science. However, statistics on the scientific impact of today’s Arab world portray a starkly different picture, with universities and research centres from these countries lagging well behind their Eastern Asiatic and Western counterparts1, 2. The output of publications from the entire Middle Eastern region in 2012 amounts to less than one quarter of that of the US1, and only three universities (two from Israel and one from Turkey) are listed in the top 200 institutions in teaching and research worldwide. Yet, an awakened community is now eager to trigger a scientific rebirth in this area.

The creation of scientific hubs able to both play a relevant role in the international community and involve an increasing number of Arab students in research may catalyse the change needed in the Middle East. Certainly, it will be interesting to observe the effects of these efforts on the scientific productivity of the next few years. In the long term, one only hopes that the exposure of young generations to a multicultural, curiosity-driven research environment will spark a new scientific golden age in the region.

YOUR MIDDLE EAST STARTUP
Talks with guests including Rina Onur, co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Peak Games (the 3rd largest online gaming company on Facebook globally), Firat Işbecer, co-founder of mobile technology company Pozitron.
2-3 female entrepreneurs showcase their startups to an international investor panel with Naz Ozertugrul, Head of Turkey & ME at venture capital fund Atomico, the social entrepreneur Leyla Alaton, and Ahu Serter, founder of ARYA Women Investment Platform, who share their thoughts throughout the presentation. 

YOUR MIDDLE EAST STARTUP

Talks with guests including Rina Onur, co-founder & Chief Strategy Officer of Peak Games (the 3rd largest online gaming company on Facebook globally), Firat Işbecer, co-founder of mobile technology company Pozitron.

2-3 female entrepreneurs showcase their startups to an international investor panel with Naz Ozertugrul, Head of Turkey & ME at venture capital fund Atomico, the social entrepreneur Leyla Alaton, and Ahu Serter, founder of ARYA Women Investment Platform, who share their thoughts throughout the presentation. 

ARAB WOMEN’S TECH ADVANTAGE

MIDDLE EASTERN COUNTRIES SENT TWO ALL-FEMALE TEAMS TO MICROSOFT’S IMAGINE CUP THIS YEAR. THAT’S NOT AS SURPRISING AS IT SOUNDS.

Asya AlJabri’s first steps toward app building started with dyslexia: not her own, but her 9-year-old cousin’s. AlJabri was trying to teach him the alphabet, but he wasn’t learning, and she kept scolding him for not paying attention. “I won’t forget what he said,” recalls the 22-year-old computer science student from Muscat, Oman. He really was trying, her cousin pleaded. He just couldn’t understand why everything felt so hard to grasp. His speech moved her to tears—and to action. She took her cousin to get tested for dyslexia and then started thinking about how she herself could help.

THE GULF STATES ARE “THE ONLY PLACE IN THE WORLD I KNOW OF WHERE WOMEN OUTPERFORM MEN” IN SCIENCE AND TECH, SAYS COLEMAN, AUTHOR OF AN UPCOMING BOOK ON THE MIDDLE EAST.

AlJabri rounded up two of her fellow students and together they created an app called ReadX, which helps dyslexic children learn and lets parents keep track of their progress. The app was good enough to win a national Imagine Cup, a Microsoft-sponsored student competition; that earned AlJabri and her friends—Marwa AlHabsi and Safa Almukhaini, both 22—a spot representing Oman in the international Imagine Cup, July 8 to July 11 in St. Petersburg, Russia.

BY: GAYLE TZEMACH LEMMON

UNLEASHING ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE MIDDLE EAST

Entrepreneurship is thriving in the Middle East, but not the means to finance it. To explore and promote different vehicles for startup acceleration from angel investing, to venture capital, to crowdfunding - we are teaming with Silatech, UC Berkeley and Shekra in two days of intense brainstorming and knowledge transfer. Our panelists and thoughts leaders include some of the world’s top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Hosted by the Fung Inst. & Silatech, this conference is the first chance for top thought leaders from the Middle East, Silicon Valley, the Venture Capital community & the academic community to spur innovation, create jobs & encourage entrepreneurship throughout the middle east. The conference is being generously supported by a donation from Silatech, a Qatar based foundation focused on expanding economic opportunity and jobs in the Middle East.

This leading institution is partnering with UC Berkeley to bring in some of the world’s top experts in Middle Eastern Entrepreneurship, Innovation, Islamic Finance, Crowdfunding and Accelerators, to discuss the opportunities in the region to develop a thriving culture of entrepreneurship and innovation. This conference will bring together top experts from the region, scholars and venture capitalists and innovators from Silicon Valley to explore how we can work together to create economic opportunity through entrepreneurship in the Middle East.

Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
A quiet revolution has begun to emerge in the Middle East, one that might ultimately do more to change the face of the region:
TECH-BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Christopher M. Schroeder, a seasoned U.S. internet executive and venture investor travelled to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Damascus and met thousands of talented, successful, and intrepid young entrepreneurs willing to take on political, cultural, legal and societal challenges.
Equally important, Schroeder saw major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal making significant investments, despite the uncertainty in the region. He marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East — one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and economic opportunity.

Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East

A quiet revolution has begun to emerge in the Middle East, one that might ultimately do more to change the face of the region:

TECH-BASED ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Christopher M. Schroeder, a seasoned U.S. internet executive and venture investor travelled to Dubai, Cairo, Amman, Beirut, Istanbul and Damascus and met thousands of talented, successful, and intrepid young entrepreneurs willing to take on political, cultural, legal and societal challenges.

Equally important, Schroeder saw major regional and international private equity firms, venture capitalists and global tech players like Google, Intel, Cisco, Yahoo, LinkedIn and PayPal making significant investments, despite the uncertainty in the region. He marries his own observations with the predictions of these giants to offer a surprising and timely look at the second stealth revolution in the Middle East — one that promises to reinvent it as a center of innovation and economic opportunity.

THE LEBANESE ROCKET SOCIETY
Cambridge Film Festival 20 September & 21 September 2013
In the 1960s, when the USA and USSR’s battle to dominate both earth and space formed the dominant historical narrative, few would have expected to find a small enclave of budding scientists in Beirut were setting about building a Lebanese space program. With ballistics technology and the formula for rocket fuel both highly guarded secrets during the Cold War, young professor Manoug Manougian and his students manufactured their own haphazard carapaces, launch-pads and propellant, using budget materials from the local shops. When their tinkering started paying off, the military became interested, and their ramshackle operation became a going national concern. Ultimately, external factors such as the Arab-Israeli war meant Manougian’s program was cut short. But the story, largely untold even in Lebanon, remains truly inspiring. Charmingly narrated by the two co-directors, it’s a quirky tale of innocent, starry-eyed ambition, cheerfully at odds with a historical backdrop of fear and military brinkmanship. 

THE LEBANESE ROCKET SOCIETY

Cambridge Film Festival 
20 September & 21 September 2013

In the 1960s, when the USA and USSR’s battle to dominate both earth and space formed the dominant historical narrative, few would have expected to find a small enclave of budding scientists in Beirut were setting about building a Lebanese space program. With ballistics technology and the formula for rocket fuel both highly guarded secrets during the Cold War, young professor Manoug Manougian and his students manufactured their own haphazard carapaces, launch-pads and propellant, using budget materials from the local shops. When their tinkering started paying off, the military became interested, and their ramshackle operation became a going national concern. Ultimately, external factors such as the Arab-Israeli war meant Manougian’s program was cut short. But the story, largely untold even in Lebanon, remains truly inspiring. Charmingly narrated by the two co-directors, it’s a quirky tale of innocent, starry-eyed ambition, cheerfully at odds with a historical backdrop of fear and military brinkmanship. 

THE SYRIAN ELECTRONIC ARMY ARE AT CYBER WAR WITH ANONYMOUS
Since protesters first took to Syria’s streets in March of 2011, the crisis has cost over 70,000 lives and displaced over a million refugees. And while Bashar al-Assad’s government continues to fight against armed opposition groups, a new war is beginning to take place online. However, this cyber-war isn’t restricted to just a room full of high-fiving neck-beards firing DDoS attacks at rebel computers, it’s having real and sometimes lethal effects on the ground.

THE SYRIAN ELECTRONIC ARMY ARE AT CYBER WAR WITH ANONYMOUS

Since protesters first took to Syria’s streets in March of 2011, the crisis has cost over 70,000 lives and displaced over a million refugees. And while Bashar al-Assad’s government continues to fight against armed opposition groups, a new war is beginning to take place online. However, this cyber-war isn’t restricted to just a room full of high-fiving neck-beards firing DDoS attacks at rebel computers, it’s having real and sometimes lethal effects on the ground.

Makers of War 
The arms manufacturers of Aleppo used to be ordinary men—network administrators, housepainters, professors. Then came the bloody Syrian crisis. Now they must use all their desperate creativity to supply their fellow rebels with the machinery of death.
“THESE THINGS ARE FOR KILLING PEOPLE,” HE TELLS ME. “EVERY TIME I MAKE A BOMB, I FEEL SORROW.”
By Matthieu Aikins Photographs and audio interviews by Moises Saman Audio recording by Sam Tarling and Alexander Fedyushkin

Makers of War

The arms manufacturers of Aleppo used to be ordinary men—network administrators, housepainters, professors. Then came the bloody Syrian crisis. Now they must use all their desperate creativity to supply their fellow rebels with the machinery of death.

“THESE THINGS ARE FOR KILLING PEOPLE,” HE TELLS ME. “EVERY TIME I MAKE A BOMB, I FEEL SORROW.”

By Matthieu Aikins Photographs and audio interviews by Moises Saman Audio recording by Sam Tarling and Alexander Fedyushkin

Banned Syrian conflict app leads to game about a bear running a theatre
An app dealing with the civil war in Syria and which was banned from the app store by Apple has provided the foundations for a children’s game about a bear in charge of a theatre company. Endgame: Syria was rejected by Apple over its political content. Apple has a history of shying away from contentious content and the rejection came thanks to a clause forbidding apps which “solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.”

Banned Syrian conflict app leads to game about a bear running a theatre

An app dealing with the civil war in Syria and which was banned from the app store by Apple has provided the foundations for a children’s game about a bear in charge of a theatre company. Endgame: Syria was rejected by Apple over its political content. Apple has a history of shying away from contentious content and the rejection came thanks to a clause forbidding apps which “solely target a specific race, culture, a real government or corporation, or any other real entity.”

WMC’s Women Under Siege is calling on women and men from Syria and those working with Syrian refugees to provide us with reports of Sexualized violence as the crisis unfolds. We are relying on you to help us discover whether rape and sexual assault are widespread - such evidence can be used to aid the international community in grasping the urgency of what is happening in Syria, and can provide the base for potential future prosecutions. Our goal is to make these atrocities visible, and to gather evidence so that one day justice may be served.
We collaborate with epidemiologists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, as well as multiple Syrian activists and journalists. 

WMC’s Women Under Siege is calling on women and men from Syria and those working with Syrian refugees to provide us with reports of Sexualized violence as the crisis unfolds. We are relying on you to help us discover whether rape and sexual assault are widespread - such evidence can be used to aid the international community in grasping the urgency of what is happening in Syria, and can provide the base for potential future prosecutions. Our goal is to make these atrocities visible, and to gather evidence so that one day justice may be served.

We collaborate with epidemiologists at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, as well as multiple Syrian activists and journalists. 

Crowdsourcing is the theme for EgyptNEGMA’s second annual conference to be held March 23rd-24th, 2013 at the MIT Media Lab, in Cambridge, MA. Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call. After all, the Egyptian revolution was a crowd-revolution.

Crowdsourcing is the theme for EgyptNEGMA’s second annual conference to be held March 23rd-24th, 2013 at the MIT Media Lab, in Cambridge, MA. Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to a large group of people or community (a crowd), through an open call. After all, the Egyptian revolution was a crowd-revolution.

fastcompany:

How Skype Is Helping Topple A Dictator In Syria
This article from Mashable gives us another reason to love technology.

Skype is the go-to social network for communication between rebels, anti-government activists, journalists and officials inside and outside of Syria.
Why? Skype uses wiretapping-resistant Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, making it safer for transmitting messages while under the watchful eyes and ears of government censors. It’s free to download and easy to use, both positives for cash-strapped rebels and activists. Its video-based chatting makes it easier to identify the person on the other line, important when verifying information as legit amidst the fog of war. And it provides an easy way for Syrians to gather electronically in areas where assembling in person poses too great a security risk.

[Image:via Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images]

fastcompany:

How Skype Is Helping Topple A Dictator In Syria

This article from Mashable gives us another reason to love technology.

Skype is the go-to social network for communication between rebels, anti-government activists, journalists and officials inside and outside of Syria.

Why? Skype uses wiretapping-resistant Voice over IP (VoIP) technology, making it safer for transmitting messages while under the watchful eyes and ears of government censors. It’s free to download and easy to use, both positives for cash-strapped rebels and activists. Its video-based chatting makes it easier to identify the person on the other line, important when verifying information as legit amidst the fog of war. And it provides an easy way for Syrians to gather electronically in areas where assembling in person poses too great a security risk.

[Image:via Khalil Mazraawi/AFP/Getty Images]

Meet AbdelRahman Mansour, Co-Admin of ‘We Are All Khaled Said’ Page from Jadaliyya on Vimeo. Interview by Linda Herrera and filmed by Mark Lotfy