Microsoft supports Arab World Social Innovators

A recent article at examines the prospect social entrepreneurship holds for more equitable, sustainable growth in the Middle East and North Africa. As author Susi Soza puts it:

Social entrepreneurship provides a “third way” that can productively balance the desire for greater social equity with the need for rapid economic growth. At the macroeconomic level, social entrepreneurship deploys a stakeholder model that not only provides more robust checks-and-balances in the system but also more fairly distributes profits and benefits and adds greater emphasis to long-term planning. For example, in social entrepreneurship, instead of just focusing on shareholders, the enterprise governs itself by taking into account a network of stakeholders, including customers, employees, suppliers, investors, the community, and the environment.

Sosa highlights the examples of several members of the first class of Synergos Arab World Social Innovators -- Kamal Mouzawak of Lebanon and Mohammed Kilany of Palestine -- as examples of this movement, which has potential particularly in helping the region’s youth. The article also points to the support that major business leaders in the region, such as Fadi Ghandour, the Jordanian entrepreneur who founded Aramex, are given to social entrepreneurship.

Read Inc. article.

Microsoft is also supporting social entrepreneurship in the region, through its involvement with Synergos in which the software giant will help provide assistance in information and communications technology to members of the second class of Synergos Arab World Social Innovators.

Samer Abu-Ltaif, Regional General Manager, Microsoft Gulf said:

Promoting entrepreneurship has always been an integral part of Microsoft’s broader mission across the Gulf to promote social and economic development. The Arab World Social Innovators Program gives us a unique opportunity to help individuals through access to our world-class tools, technologies and market resources to help bring new ideas, ventures and innovations to life

[T]he support of the innovation in our region cannot happen by any one organization on its own, regardless how big or influential or capable financially or otherwise it is. Working together, partnering together means a lot to us because not only will it allow the sharing of best practices, but it brings the value of thought leaders that have been experiencing how this can really help the economical development, how it can help the youth, how it can help the government, really in focusing on what is important

At a celebratory launch of the Microsoft-Synergos effort, His Excellency Sheikh Tariq Al Qassimi, who chairs the AWSI program, said

The collaboration with Microsoft is to establish a vibrant and sustainable network of entrepreneurs across the region.

Raza Jafar, a member of Synergos’ board of directors, added

With Microsoft utilizing its technology and knowledge in support of exceptional Arab innovators, we will be one step closer to Synergos’ goal - the reduction and eventual eradication of poverty.

Read about Microsoft engagement with the AWSI program in The National,, UAE Today, and the Al Jazarah blog.