Title picture of Podcast with Abeer AbuGaith

S03-E05 Tech-Founder and CEO of MENA Alliances Abeer AbuGaith

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Hosted by
Vera Lyko

Vera begleitet als systemische Coach und Business-Strategin Gründer:innen vor und während ihrer Existenzgründung. Sie ist seit 10 Jahren Projektmanagerin in der Automobilbranche - von der Fahrzeugentwicklung bis zum Vertrieb.

Abeer was born in a refugee camp. As a kid she pretended to be and acted like a boy to the distress of her mother. Her father and uncle liked her spirit and especially that she was best at every competition. During this podcast she will tell us everything about her and her Tech Start-up.

Abeer, is the founder and CEO of MENA Alliances. She will tell us more about herself, about MENA Alliances & the story behind her success and what drives her to achieve 1 million workplaces for women and young people in Middle East and North Africa.

To get to know her a bit better, I will ask three quick questions:

  1. What is a fun fact about you?
    • Abeer was born in a refugee camp. As a kid she pretended to be and acted like a boy to the distress of her mother. Her father and uncle liked her spirit and especially that she was best at every competition.
  2. What was your biggest success in your CEO life?
    • Abeer offered 700 job opportunities to women and young people in MENA Alliances so far. Besides, she made her wish come true by studying abroad – in the UK.
  3. What were your biggest lessons learned? – Abeer has a clear view on this:
  • Do you work with excellence!
  • Secondly, the biggest challenge in our lives is to overcome the fears inside of us by believing in yourself. That is a big lesson. You cannot doubt yourself, you have to overcome the fears inside you first, to overcome the outside challenge. And if you do so you can overcome any challenge in your life.
  • Third thing that she learned: Education can be freedom and independence. Not just the formal education, I believe in life learning education.
    “You have to be hungry all the time to educate yourself if you want to succeed.”
  • Another thing Abeer learned in the difficult way, is, don’t stay in some place you don’t like. That will destroy your spirit and energy. My advice is: get out of there very, very quickly.

“You have to be hungry all the time to educate yourself if you want to succeed.”

Abeer AbuGaith

As an entrepreneur you have to be very open and absorb what people say. See what you can take from it. Don’t take everything. Be open to hear their feedback. It is very important as an entrepreneur to surround yourself with good support. Mentors, advisors and friends who can support you in your entrepreneurial journey. Your life as an entrepreneur is not easy, you need this kind of support.

For Abeer, good advisors and mentors care about you as a person, and they also are very honest and tell you, something is not right. If you are the CEO thinking you know it all, it is very important to have someone to tell you: “No. You need to learn.”

Who is Abeer AbuGaith?

Abeer AbuGaith is a social entrepreneur holding a Bachelor in Computer System Engineering and a Master in Business Innovation. She founded Mena Alliances.

What is Mena Alliances?

MENA Alliances is a mid-size company, currently they have 17 employees and 200 contractors that work in different projects with MA. MA has more than 700 projects, and more than 2000 active resumes from vetted experts from 22 countries.

Mena alliances offers job opportunities to women and young people in North Africa and the Middle East by matching them with western companies. Abeer calls this: impact hiring. What does she mean by that? Finding the right talent for the client and at the same time creating an impact in the world by hiring women and young people in disadvantaged areas like refugee camps or conflict areas.

While traveling, Abeer found out that there are a lot of innovative projects in the Western countries. At the same time, they are lacking highly educated tech talents, which she finds in her home area – not only in Palestine, but also in Egypt and Jordan. Middle East and North Africa: addressing highest rates of youth unemployment in the world. Through impact hiring, MENA alliances wants to bridge the gap between the lack of tech talents and the highly educated talents in the MENA region.

What are challenges in impact hiring?

The challenge is to explain that there is no decrease in business value when hiring talents from the MENA region. Good business value, uncompromised value and delivering excellence is what Abeer and MENA alliances thrive for. Besides, Abeer constantly creates awareness for the situation in MENA to overcome preconceptions that there would not be any infrastructure like the internet.

In Palestine, 88% of women are educated, but only 17% are in the labor market. This is why Abeer is confident in finding more opportunities for women to find a job and to be financially independent. She believes that more women engaged in the employment market will change the whole region. By offering a flexible work environment she wants to overcome cultural and regional obstacles. Especially in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, mathematics)

Being a female entrepreneur

Abeer had a very special experience while applying for a hardware engineer job. She graduated with honor. At the assessment center, she answered all questions correctly. She was the only woman to pass the test. Also, in the interview, she answered all questions correctly. At the very end, at the last interview, she was rejected for being a woman – because she was expected to get married and be pregnant. Instead, she started to work with a company that empowers women to be ready for leadership and career. With all of her experience, working with international and local companies, she didn’t see any progress. She decided to move to her home and without capital, with her laptop and internet connection she started her own business, in 2013 she founded “Stay Linked”. She started a pilot in Palestine. With expanding the business to Middle East and North Africa her business became MENA alliances.

Abeer was brought up in a refugee camp in a conflict area with no opportunity for women. That created an anger in her, that helps her to help ambitious people. She has always has been an ambitious woman who felt that she had a mission to make this world better. She could not accept that her future was in a kitchen or just raising children. She believes that women that are doing business do not only care about business but also care about the community.

I want to change the world but in my own way, even if society and culture wants to confide me in a kitchen. ‘There are no borders, there are no checkpoints for ambitious women. If you want to achieve it, you can achieve it, if you have the desire inside you!’

Abeer started in traditional jobs and built a very strong trust with her family. She paved the road for a lot of women in her community as a role model.

“When you are like a role model, when the women around you see: oh! She’s successful, she is traveling, she has her own business, you create kind of awareness about the possibilities you have!”, Abeer states about how you can achieve your dreams by yourself.

Abeer was recognized as one of the 100 most powerful Arabs under 40!

In 2015, you were recognized as one of the 100 most powerful Arabs under 40! What does this mean for the social entrepreneur?

‘Actually – nothing’, Abeer states. The reward for her is to help young people and women to meet their opportunities. But of course, for clients and her company this title provides credibility. 

If you want to start a similar business, Abeer has some advice for you:

  1. Automate your processes
  2. Invest in your team
  3. Do not build your business just around you! Try to develop a business that depends on more than 1 person, not just you!

Are you looking for talents?

So, if you have a job opportunity or a project you start, go to https://menaalliances.com/ and be part of the impact hiring initiative of MENA alliances and Abeer AbuGaith

We are really thrilled to win Abeer for our podcast “Mutig und Klug fragt”. Her inspiring story will accompany us in the upcoming weeks and months. We are wishing her all the best and hope to see her succeeding providing 1.000.000 workplaces for women and young people in the MENA area.

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