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The other revolution bubbling in the Middle East

An Egyptian woman types on her laptop prior to the start of a demonstration opposing president Mohammed Morsi at the Presidential Palace on December 18, 2012 in Cairo, Egypt.

Image of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
Author: Christopher M. Schroeder
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 256 pages

For the past couple of years, the revolutions of the Arab Spring have dominated the news out of the Middle East region. But Chris Schroeder, author of "Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East," says there's another revolution that's quietly emerging that deserves attention: growing entrepreneurship.

From Cairo to Lebanon, Schroeder says thousands of entrepreneurs are successfully problem solving and adapting ideas for the Middle Eastern populations. He also says e-commerce is seeing a stable growth in the region.

"The big story of the Middle East is the mass penetration of mobile devices. What you're talking about is super-computing capacity in the hands of 50 to 60 to 70 to 80 percent of people," says Schroeder.

And despite widespread youth unemployment and problems with infrastructure and human rights issues,  Schroeder says innovative people will find solutions to help alleviate these problems.

"As you look around places like China, India, Brazil, where 10 years ago, 15 years ago we wouldn't have really thought very highly about them as ecosystems," he says. "Also, unbelievable, interesting things have happened there."

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.
Image of Startup Rising: The Entrepreneurial Revolution Remaking the Middle East
Author: Christopher M. Schroeder
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (2013)
Binding: Hardcover, 256 pages
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To bad that the authorities did not solve this problem, it is sad that many people died for nothing, we should see the 'results' of their sacrifice, at least that is my personal opinion!
Dani owner of @ http://fatherofthegroomspeech.us

I was disappointed that there was no mention of Israel in this story. Israel has been a leader in the world tech revolution and entrepreneurship. I believe Israelis used cell phones more and earlier than most and also invented "im'ing" among I'm sure many other commonly used practises.

I jumped on the opportunity to read Christopher Schroeder's Startup Rising as I had a gap in my knowledge of the Middle East. I was not disappointed as he has put together a very good primer to understanding the technology movement and opportunities within the region. While I, like any critical reader, did not agree with all of his conclusions, some of his observations were extremely insightful. In my opinion, six stand out: 1) the growing supply of native venture capital dollars; 2) the pressing need for entrepreneurs to supply job opportunities as traditional industry falters; 3) the increase in online spending--despite historical aversion to credit card usage; 4) the growing opportunities in areas of mobile technology, solar energy and social networks; 5) the concept of "disconnected development" where the impact of individual projects, in aggregate, lead to transformation of the technology ecosystem; and finally, 6) through the focus on technology, entrepreneurs and investors in the region can withstand geopolitical instability.

I would encourage anyone who has an interest in emerging and frontier markets to read Startup Rising. As the author points out as a main goal of his in writing the book, it will force you to rethink beliefs on the area and allow you to begin understanding opportunities in the Middle East.

Michael Armao
Washington, DC
13 August 2013

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