Gossip, insights, analysis and a few selfies from MENA’s startup ecosystems.


Cool expat lingo in Iraq...

4:05 PM

I’m still on a high from my trip to Iraq/Erbil - #YMEstartup Iraq. Should be confessed that when getting on the plane in Stockholm I had more than just performance adrenalin pumping. But we had taken security precautions and marketing was limited, and the reality was thankfully super smooth. The Divan hotel couldn’t have been better. Even though the Sushi buffet with the amazing 21st floor view put all the mixed reviews to shame, it was the expats and super important journalists crowding the bar who entertained the most. I’m learning, but clearly one needs to start every sentence with “When I was in BLANK*…” and choose an exotic place of your fancy: Khartoum, Kabul, Fallujah. You get the picture. Brace yourselves - I’m so adopting this.

It was a happy shock that more than 150 people rocked up to listen to me. Several had come all the way from Baghdad and Sulaimania. No pressure. On the front row I had the Swedish Ambassador and his team and the senior management from Your Middle East’s partners USAID, Foras and KIA. I haven’t seen the pics yet but apparently the equivalent of Kurdistan’s HELLO! Magazine took celebrity shots on our red carpet. No pressure.

Admitting on stage “I cry everyday” has really become therapeutical. When tears of stress, anger, exhaustion, loneliness inevitability come - I’m prepared. This time it was the disaster that the catering bill was 50% higher because of all the crazy entrepreneurs attending. I’m on a shoestring budget. Tears and a frank conversation and the hotel graciously donated the extra sandwiches to the students and wanna-be entrepreneurs of Erbil. Shokran. Less pressure. 

Confessing a few of the many mistakes I have made as an entrepreneur…

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