Start-ups: the future of Middle East business

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Le Web conference in Paris has come to a close.

This 10th edition brought together a record number of start-ups and entrepreneurs from around the world, who are all breaking ground in their specific fields.

In the Middle East, tech start-ups are revolutionising the way people do business.

Hala Fadel is the chair of the MIT Enterprise Forum for the Pan-Arabic region, a network of technology entrepreneurs.

“The startup landscape in the Middle East is really booming. We have, every year, more than 5,000 companies that apply to the MIT Arab business plan start-up competition, about 50% of those are women,” she says.

Elie Habib, the co-founder of an online music service, says there are still hurdles to overcome.

“In some areas we still have problems. E-commerce, credit card penetration is still not as (present as we would like) because people don’t trust (this method of payment) as much as people do in Europe or the US,” says Elie Habib, co-founder of Anghami.

The Middle East is a region synonymous with conflict for many. But its young, enterprising population is hoping for a better future. Hardware entrepreneur Hind Hobeika says she believes such an environment can actually be a strength.

“I think what’s most promising about start-ups in the Middle East is actually the Middle Eastern people. We have gone through a lot, as everyone knows, we have gone through wars, through instability, we don’t have electricity 24 hours a day. This has pushed us to be really creative, to think outside the box, to prepare for situations that might happen so that we are not in deep trouble afterwards,” says Hind Hobeika, founder and CEO of Instabeat.

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