ArabNet Day 1

Blog post by Josh from the ILQ team over at ArabNet in Beirut.

The first day at Arabnet is in the books. The day’s theme was focused on addressing the big question: How the Middle East region can better support an entrepreneurial ecosystem. According to Peter Kellner, Managing Partner of Richmond Capital, a global VC, it all starts with education. Universities are where entrepreneurs are created. After education, its about mentorship. Tareq from Endeavor Global, a global non-profit that promotes high impact entrepreneurship, put it another way:

“We’ve found that two things are required for a succesful entrepreneurial ecosystem – 1. the right entrepreneur and 2. deep and tailored support. The biggest barrier to entrepreneurship isn’t capital.”

Interesting stuff, and encouraging news for Qatar. Education City and Qatar University are churning out highly skilled graduates every year. Incubators are popping up for seed stage startups. How can Qatar offer “deep and tailored support” in addition to capital, back-end services, and office space?

Freedom of Expression

    Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which the Qatari Government is a signatory of states: Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any medias and regardless of any frontiers.

    The Emiri Decision Number 86 of the year 2007 on the establishment of the Doha Free Information Centre marked yet another step towards establishing a State of rights and freedom of speech. The decision stipulated that the Centre be a non-profit organization, headquartered in Doha City, and have the authority to establish other affiliated centres inside and outside Qatar. It is worth mentioning that His Highness the Emir issued a decision in 1998 annulling the ministry of information, giving birth to a new era of freedom of speech where censorship was removed from local media.