I received a pleasant surprise from the organizer that I am the only one from my country to be invited to go on a trip to meet other distinguished entrepreneurs in US. Time flew by and the next thing I knew I was in Chicago working out from a busy co-working space called 1871. This is where I met all my fellow entrepreneurs who came from all over the world such as Kenya, UK, Middle East to Indonesia.
We were exposed to some advance training on financial engineering, entrepreneurship, patents law in the US. All which the organizer has invested a lot of effort in putting together. They were also sessions where we learn from highly established entrepreneurs such as Chuck Templeton about their success and failures. To be honest, case study on failure is a much better learning material than success story.
As entrepreneurs we spend so much time fighting fire everyday, it made me appreciate the opportunity to have some learning opportunities during our journey in the States. It is through the work that we did together that allows me to know the other entrepreneurs better in person. I am now able to put stories behind the faces and what strong reason that motivates them to take those risks and push on when the others bail.
It is quite true that entrepreneurs walk a lonely road especially for those do not have a co-founder. But through programs like GIST, you get friends that understand what you are going through and able to give constructive advice, or just being able to see issues from your view point. These relationships are priceless. Through the journey, I have got to know great entrepreneurs like Natali, Frans, Alex, Hanan, just to name a few. These are the most resourceful people I have met. Not to forget, a big thank you to the GIST organizers. I am already looking forward to reconnect with the GIST community.
I remember when I got the email confirming i had been shortlisted for the Journey. The joy was immeasurable and I had nothing but great expectations for the Journey and how it would benefit Farmspace Africa. We had been keen on accessing the US Diaspora market for a while but did not know how best to go about it, until GIST happened!
The connections made, the amazing moments with fellow entrepreneurs, and the inspiring moments with successful mentors and speakers was simply out of this world. Would I do it again? Yes, yes and yes!!
I can only hope to make the GIST and CRDF Global team proud by spreading this entrepreneurship spirit to my community back home and seeing my business grow to greater heights! I will surely miss this amazing family!
Alex Muriu from Kenya
I have participated with many programs and trips around the world but this trip was totally diffrent , 14 days of intensive work , mentoring ship , meetings with the most wonderful GIST team ever , I will not forget this great experience , my company will move forward defiantly after this trip , We become a family with GIST team and participants , Thank you very much Yuri , Ovidiu , Natalia , Amanda and Fidan for your effort you were Amazing guys !
The Arabic language is considered weak relative to the number of Arab Internet users. A recent study shows that the most visited websites in the Arabic countries are non-Arabic and mostly consisting of entertainment content only. It is also worth noting that the proportion of the Arabic content does not exceed 3%, while the proportion of Arab internet users is 14.2%, equivalent to 41 million people out of 300 million Arabic speakers, which is a small percentage when compared to the rate of digital content of other languages.
After Mohammad Jaber realized this critical issue that the Arabic nation faces, he dedicated himself to enrich the Arabic content the right way. He saw the need of having a credible creative online platform that enhances the quality and quantity of Arabic content, so after finishing his fifth year of medicine in the Hashemite university of Jordan, he started Mawdoo3.
In early 2011 Mawdoo3 won first place in the Queen Rania National Entrepreneurship contest for developing a Web site based on the innovative algorithm that studies Arabic content on the search engines. Mohammad spotted a need in the industry of an Arabic content project and simply “filled the need”.
Mawdoo3a went from a “simple little idea” into what is now one of the early Arabic successful online encyclopedias in the world. The team worked on resolving issues related to the management of online Arabic content, based on the most recent SEO trends and content management also exploring innovative mechanisms. In a short period the team succeeded in attracting more than 1.2 million unique visitors a month through a strategy designed to direct Arab Internet users to write threads that hold the most looked up titles in global search engines, hoping to enrich digital Arabic content on the Internet by bridging the gap between the number of Arabic speakers and the provided content online.
Mawdoo3 was built based on innovative practices and branding theories in order to sustain a user-friendly nature that provides users with more efficient access to the site and its sections. This is a big step towards promoting Arabic content and educational productive websites owned and developed by “Arabs” hoping to encourage others to create alternative Arabic platforms as strong as the western websites in development, ease of access, value, and credibility of the content.
Programmer turned business-woman, Hanan Khader is the 2013 winner of GIST’s Demo Day in Amman, Jordan. Khader’s journey started when she realized that there weren’t any trusted online websites dedicated to real estate in her region. From there, she went on to develop Aqar-Estate.com.
With the support of her family, Khader was able to launch Aqar Estate in 2008. She then was able to secure a seed investment from Oasis500 and by 2013, the company broke even.
Using the freemium and premium paid subscription model. Aqar-Estate.com helps users buy and sell properties, find suitable housing, and discover the price of their property.
Khader’s outstanding ambition is exactly what has contributed to her company’s success. She describes growth to be her motivation, stating, “[a]t the beginning, all what kept me motivated is looking after the growth mystery. Once I found it, my life became a ready-to-go rocket, I want to keep going until seeing it happening.”