This was the line used by Fadi Ghandour, the Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, when some one from the crowd asked him what does it take to be an entrepreneur. Fadi said you need to be a misfit among the crowd, completely crazy and some one who is 'Entrepreneurially Damaged', to run a business.
We had the pleasure of meeting Fadi at Impact Hub, an incubator for entrepreneurs based in Dubai's Down Town area, which can help you accelerate your business idea.
"With a collective GDP of a trillion dollars, the Arab world is larger than that of India, Russia or Brazil. With more that 400 million strong population under the age of 25, and the burgeoning middle-class, and over 40% smart phone penetration, the Middle East region has arrived", said Fadi.
Fadi is currently Executive Chairman of Wamda Ventures, a new Venture Capital fund focusing on technology investments in the Arab World, and Managing Partner of MENA Venture Investments. The fund is focused on investing is early stage startups in the Middle East region. In order to qualify for a funding you need to: -
- Have a team
- A robust technology
- Prove that you can sell your business in 'difficult to enter' markets.
Fadi said there are funds available in the region, however the entrepreneurs need to convince the investors who have the funds to invest in startups.
Access to funding is still one of the main challenges startup founders face in scaling their businesses, as indicated by a recent study published by Wamda Research Lab (WRL). According to the survey, of the businesses that received funding between 2009-2012, only 21% raised more than $500,000.
Fadi also expressed his concern about the unemployment in the region. He said, "10 years from now the Middle East region needs 100 million jobs for the young people and startups are a solution to this problem".