So I’ve been asked this question today by @WamdaME

“Can you tell us the difference between being an entrepreneur in Lebanon and in New York?”

… and since I can’t answer in 140 or less, a post was born :)

While I’m far from earning the “entrepreneur” title, I still made some shots at launching websites (with new ideas) but never succeeded to follow through. The main reason behind that would probably be that I never fully committed to it and always kept my day job. Which brings us to what I currently do.

I currently hold the position of Product Manager for a NY based financial services company. The company’s launching a new web application that will change the way people trade stocks online. We’ve been working on this for the past 2 years and beta should launch pretty soon. (We’ve been saying that for the past 3 months but Hey! it’s web development)

My previous job was with another startup “Efonica” which started in Dubai then was bought by a US Telecom company. I also held positions in product dev. and product management in both companies until I resigned to pursue this new opportunity. (Current startup and Efonica were started by same person who I’ve been working with for past 11 years)

So with this background, I’ve been around startups and entrepreneurship attitude my whole career which brings us to the question. (I knew I was gonna get to it at some point)

The most important thing an entrepreneur needs is talent. Talent can be found in Middle East and especially in Lebanon and can compete with any US talent out there. But with talent, startups need tools and facilities. This is where we slack off. Whether it’s power or internet, we’re still a long way from other most countries.

The other important thing that startups need is support. This is where advisory groups and startup catalysts can play a big role. We’ve been witnessing a lot of those companies launching in the past year. Funding is also becoming more available with a lot of early stage seed companies, VCs and angel investors from the area showing interest in local startups. Wer’e still a long way from the funds available in Silicon Valley or New York but at least we’re already taking steps into the right direction.

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