change is happening around the globe

Images-2I met Nicholas Noe during my days at MOUSE.  Super smart creative person who really was into politics.  Fast forward, Nic moves to Beirut and becomes the co-founder of the Mideastwire, a news translation wire.  Nic was in NYC maybe a few years ago and we caught up.  He was presenting his report, Century Foundation report, 'Re-imaging the Lebanon Track', to a group and I was impressed how he is really trying to create change in an area of the world where we have a hard time creating new ways to imagine peace. 

I got an email from Nic this past week asking me to speak with David Nabti who is involved in the tech community in Lebanon with hopes of getting as many women involved as possible.  I got on Skype with the two of them this past week.  I still find it amazing when 3 people, Nic happened to be in Tunisia, can get together and talk so fluidly when we are across the globe from one other. 

David is working on AltCity and their tag lines is "a community collaboration production start-up space designed to support innovative, creative, high-impact and socially-relevant media and and entrepreneurial initiatives".  They are working on supporting non-profit and profit at the same time.  I love that they are thinking big but my gut is to go with the profit and take it from there. 

The concept is similar to others we have seen here at home from Techstars and YCombinator even with a little bit of 3rd Ward thrown and General Assembly thrown in.  There will be an AltCity where there are collaborative spaces, a multi-media lab including a resource room and a cafe.  Companies will apply, they will get mentors to work with ( could be through Skype ) and there will be a pitchfest.  After the pitchfest there will be a 3-month accelerator program to get companies to the point of pitching to investors.  So they are spending some time honing the companies first before moving into the regular 3-month program that most companies start in once they have applied in most of the incubators you see around the country.

Here are two guys, who both grew up in the US, that have spent almost the last decade in Lebanon trying to help their peerss in a country that they have grown to love try and create new economies, new companies and foster the individuals there that are budding entrepreneurs.  Impressive, exciting and exhilerating.  I hope that I can help.  This is the kind of thing that should be happening around the globe as more countries, particularly those in the Middle East are seeing the youth finally come out to the streets because of the access to social media screaming for change.  This program will provide the education and tools to begin the kind of change we need to see.


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Comments (Archived):

  1. Emily Merkle

    Wow. Yay. Smiling. Great story. How can I help in any way?

    1. Gotham Gal

      will keep you posted

  2. William Mougayar

    This is a great story Joanne, and I am fond of your involvement in Lebanon. You know Ayah was doing a bunch of things there as well. We will talk further about this at our lunch next month.