Saturday, 22 December 2012

Shell Scenarios - Imagining the future

Shell Scenarios - Imagining the future - YouTube

Shell that was survived the oil crises in the 70s utilizing the scenario development, celebrating now their 40 years using scenarios to grow and sustain their business.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Oasis500 observations and lessons

Oasis500 observations and lessons

Main objectives

  • To fund and
  •  accelerate 500 companies in
  •  5years and
  •  boost the valuation and
  •  revenues of companies

Tools and mechanisms to achieve the objectives
  •  Utilizing the expats and local experience in running the project, mentoring, investments and services offerings
  •  Enroll applicants in a Boot camp
  •  Provide services like training and mentoring
  •  Provide a networking platform for entrepreneurs (with business people, policy makers, investors, serial entrepreneurs)
  •  Linkage with angel investors
  •  Injections of 10k JOD as a seed fund investment for the successful teams (in exchange for 10% ownership of the firm)
Boot camp for entrepreneurs
  •  Is the first activity when they join the program
  •  Is a training and selection process
  •  Engagement in 100 days of acceleration program
  •  Involvement with mentors and experts to provide guidance
  Objective to:
  • file Ideas
  • select the people behind the ideas
  • select committed people to their business
  • help in testing the ideas and if they fail to fail fast and start over with a new idea
  • help in making quick decision when to pump capital in promising ideas

Note: this article has been written based on personal opinion and observations of Oasis500 activities.

For more information about Oasis500 check the website at

Google Ibdaa Program in Egypt

Google Ibdaa Program in Egypt

Google has recently announced a new entrepreneurship support program in Egypt and here are the links:
This Google activity is not the only one in the MENA region, several multinational IT companies like Cisco and Microsoft are developing and supporting entrepreneurship and innovation programs to increase the awareness and improve the capabilities of the nations of youth.
Here I will try to highlight the main interesting points I found in the new Google program, you can have a look at the program details in the above links.

The main objective of the program is to spread the awareness and motivation of entrepreneurs
-          in 7 months
-          training of 200 entrepreneurs
-          qualify 100 entrepreneurs and link them to investors
-          start 50 companies
-          one entrepreneur will win a prize of 200K USD

·         The program/competition name is Ibdaa meaning Start (as an activity or action: start doing) which I believe they have selected it wisely to encourage on acting rather waiting for the support.
·         The program is promoted as a competition not as a support program and for that I have the following points:
1.       Participants have to work and be active to earn the prize and not to apply and pass the evaluation criteria to be involved in the program
2.       Might attract the right people who are willing to work, learn and compete to earn the prize not those who are just applying to get a fund for free.
3.       The participants have to work hard to earn the prize focus on what they will do, not what the program will do for them to earn the fund and support.

·         The organizers utilize the local entrepreneurs’ success stories to promote the program (at least that what appears in the video). This approach encourages young entrepreneurs to see if those older and local entrepreneurs have done it locally so they can do it.
·         The competition is not about a business plan development, it is a competition to start and realize the business ideas. So it should attract only committed applicants to realize their business not those looking for money. The real prize will be realizing the company and the extra prize will be the funding by the program.

The main support activities are:
-          Training
-          Networking
-          Mentoring
-          Prizes
-          linkage with investors

Further details about the implementation and the process of this program which includes boot camp, several stages of evaluation and presentations to experts, mentors and investors are available in the website of the program.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Who are the Entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurs are the successful Alchemists

Who are the Entrepreneurs?
Entrepreneurs are the successful Alchemists

During Rick Salmon’s visit to Palestine Rick conducted a workshop discussing investment opportunities for entrepreneurs.

I will in this article and the following ones start summarizing my opinions based on Rick’s notes and the discussions in the workshop.
I will start with who is the entrepreneur and what characteristics the entrepreneur should have. (Some found characteristics are based on studies)

The entrepreneur is Alchemist of the modern world. Alchemist is the one who works in Alchemy and according to Wikipedia

Alchemy is an ancient tradition, the primary objective of which was the creation of the mythical "philosopher's stone," which was said to be capable of turning base metals into gold or silver, and also act as an elixir of life that would confer youth and immortality upon its user”

An Alchemist endeavors to turn base metals into gold while the entrepreneur drives to turn opportunities into successful business. This analogy between the entrepreneurs and alchemists is not only about gold or money it is about the drive to transform the low value into high value.

An Alchemist is committed to what he is doing and is stubborn to turn metals into gold, and the entrepreneur is the same as he is committed to bring his idea to reality and he is a great believer in his idea and stubborn in achieving it.

One of the skills the entrepreneur has is that he can look at positive things and find opportunities instead of barriers or problems and tries to overcome the barriers by utilizing new innovative approaches. This is the same with the alchemist who looks for every new way and tries different opportunities to get the gold.

Although the entrepreneur keeps trying different opportunities sometimes he succeeds and other times he fails, he learns from both the success and the failure and build experience from that and lead his ideas, team and new opportunities into better position. Failures are seen as speed bumps rather than barriers and encourage entrepreneurs to look for options in their approach. Alchemists historically were driven by the creation of gold.The byproduct of their experiments contributed to the humanity countless innovations that may never have been discovered. Alchemists learned from their trial and errors and helped in the formulation of the science of chemistry we know today.

Alchemists faced lot of risks while trying their experiments which is similar what the entrepreneur faces every day in leading his ideas into success and market.

One of the hardest things in the world the entrepreneur tries to do which is harder than combining material to get gold, is creating win-win human relations.  An entrepreneur is an alchemist at combining people together.

Finally, alchemists are crazy as are most entrepreneurs. Both are driven by what could be rather than being limited by what is and has been. This helps them in introducing innovative solution by not thinking as the rest of the others, as Innovation comes from creative with persistence.

To summarize entrepreneurs have the following characteristics:
  • Commitment to achieve their ideas (sometimes stubborn , driven and persistent);
  • They see and seek opportunities rather than focusing on barriers or what has been;
  • They keep trying alternative solutions and learn from results and gain experience
  • They are risk takers and treat their failures as learning opportunities
  • An entrepreneur is an alchemist at combining people together.

The next article will be: When the Entrepreneur falls in love.

References and Thanks

Friday, 15 July 2011

Saturday, 9 July 2011

Build a tower, build a team: Marshmallow Challenge

Why Kindergartners Make better entrepreneurs than MBAs: and how to fix it

This article summarized the lessones learned from this challenge in the following points
Lessons Learned:

  • Under conditions of ambiguity, most people fall back on a planning mindset to solve entrepreneurial problems
  • A planning mindset can increase your chances of failure because you waste time executing on guesses that are ultimately wrong
  • Instead entrepreneurs have to apply an experimentation mindset and tactics to solve entrepreneurial problems (unknown problems or unknown solutions)

In my opinion Entrepreneurship is more an art mixed between experimentation and planning