Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem in Syria

Today I organized Startup Communities event, a one-day event where Syrian entrepreneurs, social enterprises, and small businesses and organizations gathering to share ideas, and collaborate.

Over 30 Syrians organizations joined us in Startup Communities: Building an Entrepreneurial Ecosystem. Together, we discussed what we could each do to support entrepreneurship for Syrian.

This event was to bring together these entrepreneurs and the community to brainstorm ideas on creating a better environment for startups to grow and ultimately building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that meets the needs of entrepreneurs. 

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Four issues the sharing economy could solve in the Arab world

The sharing economy may have led to several multi-billion-dollar successes like AirBnb and Kickstarter, and brought the community back into fashion in Europe, but it surely has its share of critics. Many today wonder whether the sharing economy makes sense for the Arab world, and if it can solve any of the region’s problems.

By now, a convincing argument has been made for the need to speed up the transition to a more collaborative region. But, if you remain skeptical, here are four ways the sharing economy could tackle some of the region’s, and the world’s, biggest challenges.

1. Poverty           

“Accelerating poverty reduction and sustaining human development improvement are significant challenges for the region in the future,” according to a recent World Bank report. In the Arab world, household consumption accounted for as much as 44% of the region’s economy, higher than China’s 35%, which indicates that as the middle class grows, consumers are buying more and more.

Sharing Solution: Sharing initiatives, like tool libraries, for example, can reduce costs for families by lowering the rates of household consumption. At such facilities, books are replaced with tools in order to “mutualize” resources so that people don’t have to buy tools they would only use once in a while, such as saws, drills, or chisels. Each of these tools is available either for free or for a small fee, increasing the efficiency of each device and helping users save money.

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How Co-Creation Impacted businesses

Co-Creation may is considered as a logical outcome of open innovation. It’s a strategy that emphasizes the generation and ongoing realization of mutual firm-customer value through new forms of interaction and reduce the gap between companies and customers. The Wikipedia writes that Co-creation is the practice of developing systems, products, or services through the collaborative execution of developers and stakeholders, businesses and clients, or managers and employees. Co-creation could be seen as creating great work by standing together with those for whom the project is intended.

Here is the way that C.K. Prahalad and V. Ramaswamy contrast firm- vs. customer-centric approaches in their book the Co-Creation Connection:

  •  The consumer is an integral part of the system for value creation;
  • The consumer can influence where, when, and how value is generated; 
  • The consumer need not respect industry boundaries in the search for value;
  • The consumer can compete with companies for value extraction; 
  • There are multiple points of exchange where the consumer and the company can co-create value.   

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The sharing economy movement is taking a new stride in the Arab World, and many platforms have taken the initiative of implementing the methods of the collaborative economy. We dig deep and scrutinize the factors and the potential which could see this industry grow bigger in the region at a quick rate. Here we offer some successful stories.

The sharing economy in the Arab World has been witnessing an ongoing shift in the trend that has envisaged owning rather than accessing. This change has turned things around, where now the value of the product in the Arab World day after another has become one of usage- not in its outright ownership anymore; as was the case with mainstream consumer models. Used products are more fashionable, thanks to the popularity of online platforms for buying and selling used goods.

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Crowdfunding Arab Based Platforms

Before going to start a crowdfunding campaign on Arab based platforms, you first must take into consideration that the majority of the Arab world are very keen to the law of Islam, not to support in ideas that do not comply with it, examples of this include lending money with interest. Another thing that most of the people here prefer to get tangible things in return for their contribution.

Arab world crowdfunding platform only a few, Although it could find different platforms work in the region. To help you keep track of all the happenings in this space here is an easy guide for which site to go to for your crowdfunding needs

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The Rise of Collaborative Consumption in The Arab World

Arab countries are no different than other nations. There are now three popular ideas on the collaborative consumption in the Arab World comparable to what is going on around the world’s consumer markets:

Firstly, there is an ongoing paradigm shift in what it means to own a car, a bicycle, a household appliance, a book, a film or a piece of clothing. The value of a product is beginning to be seen regarding its use, not in its outright ownership, as per traditional consumer models. Secondly, there is an increased level of acceptance of used products, thanks partly to the popularity of online platforms for buying and selling used goods. And finally, people are also adopting what could be called collaborative lifestyles, in which not only sharing products but people share their time, space and expertise as well.

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How To Make A Collaborative Organization

Building a collaborative organization is not easy. Collaboration is not a rule you can set; it is an organizational culture that is embraced by its members. But where do you start? What is important? Here are four important things you should keep in mind.

1. Do it as an innovation platform.

In order to succeed in collaboration world, you cannot just think of yourself as a content provider or as someone creating an initiative, product, or service, instead become the curator, someone how create a context or platform that allows other people to self-organize and creates things that are valuable for both you and them. And maybe even for the world, don’t just load it up with static content. Instead, create the framework and tools for other to create their content and build communities.

Because of the networked age, organizations can be much more than just organizations. They can be platforms for value creation, creating a platform for innovation expand the power of a larger more diverse and ultimately more capable network of contributors than you could ever find in a single organization. Building an open and intelligent network for transportation innovation could help convene communities around shared problem.

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