Lebanese entrepreneurs are making headlines on a global scale. The country, despite the challenges, does breed exceptional talent, who are risk-takers and visionaries. The unwavering spirit of Lebanese entrepreneurs has empowered them to grow their businesses and scale beyond borders.
The adaptability of the Lebanese people is one key driver contributing to their success. Another key factor is the notion of perseverance, despite the numerous challenges stacked against them. Hundreds of Lebanese entrepreneurs have made it big globally, growing their businesses beyond borders, changing lives and making headlines.
Let’s take a look at some of the Lebanese entrepreneurial success stories, in part 2 (check out part 1, here) of this series:
- Stephano Fallaha, Podeo: Podeo was founded in 2019 in Beirut, offering Arabic and English podcasts on its mobile app. Podeo has its own podcast shows, and one of the largest catalos of exclusive Arabic podcasts. Recently, the company raised funding in a seed round, led by Razor Capital, along with Globivest VC and professionals in technology and media companies. What Fallaha did right: He identified a market need for Arabic content and created an exceptional technology driven platform. This is his second venture (the first was called Fallound).
- Marc Atiyeh, Pawp: Pawp is Marc’s first venture, after a lengthy career in the financial industry. Pawp is the first digital health clinic, where people can gain access to licensed vets around the clock. It also offers a USD 3,000 pet emergency fund. Prior to founding Pawp, he served as the CSO of Clarity Money, which was acquired by Goldman Sachs, and worked with Paribus. In both roles, he was responsible for the growth of the companies. What Marc did right: He steadily built his credentials, through both his education and in the expansive roles he took on. He then used the skills of what he does best, found a niche market segment, in the pet and vet industry, and tapped into it.
- Sam Darwish, IHS Towers: Sam’s university years were marred during the Lebanese civil war, having to navigate through war, instability and violence. He shares that these experiences taught him “pragmatism” which today, he channels into his company, IHS Towers. IHS Towers tapped into a unique segment in the telecom industry. The company both builds and buys mobile towers from telecom companies and then leases them to operators. What Sam did right: He did not let the challenges he faced while growing up deter him, rather he learnt from them. He continued to specialize in the field of telecommunications, and ventured into untapped markets, building his business from the ground up. Dubbed the ‘accidental engineer’, he sought opportunities that could be capitalized on.
- Rania Hoteit, ID4A Technologies: An award-winning serial entrepreneur, Rania founded ID4A Technologies, which is now a global technology company. The company has been recognized as one of the best entrepreneurial companies in America, and by the White House, for its contribution to ‘Fostering The Development of Advanced Manufacturing in the US as The World’, amongst other awards and recognition. What Rania did right: She invested her time and energy in an area that she is passionate about, turning many technologies into successful startups. She also sees the potential in future entrepreneurs and works to facilitate investments to fund their ventures.
- Omar Ghazzaoui, OTTOGEE Inc: As the co-founder and CEO of OTTOGEE Inc., a Techstars backed technology startup, Omar has been working to transform labor-intensive industries on a global scale. The company identified and tackles the biggest challenges in labor-intensive industries, to improve the working environments for employees. Alongside this venture, Omar also co-founded AlertTrace by VOS Systems, which he also serves as the CEO of. What Omar did right: He took it upon himself to create solutions for a global issue to improve the lives of working men and women around the world.
Entrepreneurs need to identify the opportunities, despite the challenges and power through. This is what every Lebanese entrepreneur has done, and continues to do, whether in their home country or beyond borders.
Stay tuned for part 3, of inspiring Lebanese entrepreneurial stories, from Lebanon and around the world.