Startup Weekend Youth Of Damascus

    Saturday, August 13 - 15, 2016

  1. Overview
  2. Schedule
  3. Speakers
  4. Judges
  5. Coaches and Mentors
  6. Sponsors
  7. Organizing Team

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Startup Weekend Youth Of Damascus

Saturday, August 13 - 15, 2016

Saturday, August 13 - 15, 2016
Event starts at 9:00 am

Reda Saaed Center
Mousalam Baroudy, Damascus, Syria
Reda Saaed Center
Damascus, Syria

Reasons for Choosing Youth As Targeted Audience

Ever since the beginning of the year 2011, the political and economic situations in the Middle East, in general, and Syria, in particular, have prevented its youths from employing their skills and expertise to continue their education and build successful careers. With this present situation, organizing an event such as Startup Weekend is a challenge in itself. Yet unleashing the hidden talent & creativity and encouraging the Syrian youth to live up to their dreams makes the challenge worth undertaking.

We as the organizer of the special version of startup weekend, Startup weekend youth, aim to spot the light on entrepreneurship and its importance for the Syrian youth in addition to empowering this part of the community and help them reach higher goals and better achievements. To reach our goals we will focus on motivating our participants to take the initiative and, start and lead their own professional lives by themselves.

See what it's all about

Learn More


Saturday August 13th

9:00 am
Arrive at the venue and get checked in

9:30 am
Breakfast & Networking
Eat food, share ideas, practice pitches, get to know fellow participants

10:10 am
Inspirational talk

10:20 am
Welcome & Speakers
Review agenda for the weekend and introduce speakers, coaches, and community leaders

12:35 pm
Pitches Start
Optionally line up to give your pitch

1:30 pm
Attendees vote for the top pitches & names announcement

2:00 pm
Form Teams
Teams start forming and discussing ideas

3:00 pm
Begin Work
Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend.

3:30 pm

6:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow .

Sunday August 14th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

9:30 am
Begin Work
Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend

12:30 pm

1:00 pm
After-lunch check-in, status reports, call for help

2:00 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!

3:30 pm

4:30 pm
After-dinner check-in, status reports, call for help

6:00 pm
Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow

Monday August 15th

9:00 am
Arrive, simple breakfast & coffee

10:00 am
After-breakfast check-in, status reports, call for help

12:00 pm

12:30 pm
Coach Meetings
Coaches arrive… final opportunity to ASK QUESTIONS

3:00 pm
Presentation Prep & Tech Check
Final hours of worktime should be focused on perfecting your presentation, tech-check for final presentations also takes place

4:00 pm

5:00 pm
Final Presentations

7:30 pm
Judging & Awards

8:00 pm

8:30 pm
Go Home!


Hani Tarabichi

Hani has 17 years experience of professional management career at Chaoui & Co. as a General Manager for its Paper and Board division. In 2000, Hani co-founded PlanIt Consulting where he consulted and trained extensively for the past 14 years. Hani trained and coached private companies and individuals on issues like Marketing, Sales and Sales Management, Customer Service, and Communication. He qualified professionally in 2003 to become a Certified Professional Trainer. In 2001, Hani Co-founded the Syrian Young Entrepreneurs Association where he served as Vice President for 2 terms. As of 2005, Hani started as an associate professor at the University of Kalamoon where he taught Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Leadership Management, Marketing Management, and Marketing Strategy courses. Hani has served as a judge and coach at Pitch It at Aalto Entrepreneurship Society. Also, he remotely coached teams during Startup Weekend Damascus, and he is mentoring teams in the Lean Lunch Pad course offered by Aalto Ventures Program.

Event Judges

Ahmad Bassel Al Kheshi
Deputy Minister at MOCT Syria

Dr. Ahmad Bassel Alkheshi is the deputy minister at the Ministry of Communications & Technology in Syria. Leading several national strategic ICT projects and initiatives, Dr. Alkheshi has been directly involved in important technology-based socioeconomic development activities in Syria. He has also held several important positions in the academic field, ICT private sector, professional NGO, international cooperation, and lately in the government sector. 

Throughout his role as the head of the executive team for the e-government initiative and as a chairman of board of the Syrian Telecom Company, Dr. Alkheshi had a great role in guiding policy development and implementation of ICT sector in Syria. He is currently the chairman of Damascus Administrative Committee at the Syrian Computer Society. He is also directly connected to the youth community as he is a lecturer at the faculty of Informatics Engineering at Damascus University and at the Higher Institute of Business Administration (HIBA).

Ghaith Bazerbashi
Business Segment Senior Manager at MTN SYRIA

Born on 1976 in Beirut, Lebanon. Holds a B.Sc. in Business Administration & Marketing fromLebanese American University.
Ghiath has an extensive experience in management and sales, he founded and heldmanagerial positions in many companies (1998-2005), in addition to his experience in the telecom industry, in Baud Telecom (2005-2008),
MTN Syria (2008 - Present). Ghiath currently holds the position of Acting Chief Marketing Officer in MTN Syria. Previously, he headed the Consumer Segment and the Business Segment Departments as a Senior manager.
Mr. Bazerbachi is a member of the Damascus Rural Chamber Of Commerce, LAU Alumni Club,IC Alumni Club, and also the Syrian German Business Club.

Khaled Challah
Co-founder at Ibtikar Advertising Agency, a CNR company

Khaled Challah
11 years of experience in the marketing research and advertising fields.
Managing partner of Ibtikar Advertising Agency, a leading company in marketing and advertising working in cooperation of TBWA since 2009. Despite the current market challanges, Khaled expanded in the advertising domain and established Check Digital Agency, a specialized company in the Digital marketing and Social media management where its serves clients in the telecommunications, banking, restaurants and other domains. 
In the year of 2007, Khaled Co Founded INDICATE Marketing research firm which worked in collaboration of YOUGOV & TNS and has restarted its operations recently to cover all the Syrian cities.
Khaled has a higher education degree in project management from Stanford university in USA (SAPM) and a bachelor degree in Marketing from the Lebanese American University in Beirut.
He is a Co Founder in Amshaj Chemicals  industries, Ethiopia and a board member in Challah Enterprises general trading llc and a board member in the Syrian Indian Business council.

Nasser Al-Deen
Assistant Chief Executive Officer Support Services & Strategic Planning at Albaraka Bank Syria s.a.

Nasser Al-Deen Al-Mawlawi ( Assistant Chief Executive Officer Support Services – alBaraka Bank Syria)Started Working at alBaraka Bank Syria since the beginning of the 2010 as Director of the Administration and HR DepartmentHe was promoted to Assistant Chief Executive Officer Support Services in August 2013Holding a Master's degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Higher Institute of business management, and professional certification project management (PMP)from  the project management Institute - Pennsylvania - United States of America  Has also a professional certificate balanced performance (BSP) from George Washington University Scorecard Institute, USA, in addition to the CIB from the General Council of Islamic banking and financial institutionsHe occupied the position of  Director of the Administration and HR Department  for three years at Syria international Islamic Bank, he also worked at the British embassy in Damascus for 5 years occupied several positions lastly as Deputy managing Director

Eman Hamdoun

Eman Hamdoun enjoys more than 20 years of experience in the field of professional management and sales, where she held different significant positions in national and international organizations and companies. In her most recent position of the last two years, Eman is in charge of the Administration services at the United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS), that provides Project management, Procurement and Infrastructure Services to Governments, Donors, and UN Organizations.
She is well known for her effective interpersonal, intellectual and managerial skills in handling tasks and demands in a timely and efficient manner, in a highly sensitive international work environment . Starting her career in 1995, Eman worked as a “Sales Director” in Computec IT Company, No.1 IT Distributor in Syria, where she was involved in services of offering a cutting edge IT products and services. In 2002, Eman excelled in her duties as the “Head of IT Department” in New Al-Mawared Company/SAMSUNG the Sole Distributor in Syria. In 2010, her distinguished expertise and reputation as a “Target Achiever” with a customer centered focus and team motivator qualified Eman to function as the “IT Sales Manager” in SAMSUNG Electronic Levant Co./ Regional Office in Syria for SAMSUNG, a World-Class Brand Name. In Samsung, Eman was well accredited for her major achievement in the successful launching of SAMSUNG laptops in the Syrian IT Market ,
The recent position for her now is sales consultant at kassem-IT company.
Thorough her professional career, Eman was re-known for her personal integrity, strong work ethics, and professionalism. Eman holds a Bachelor of Business Management from Damascus University, Faculty of Economy, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Business Management, and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) from the Arab Academy for Science, Technology, and Maritime Transport in Cairo, Egypt. She also undertook diverse training courses in management and communication, on top of which, Project Management Professional (PMP) Course.

Coaches and Mentors

Ray Tawil
Software Engineer at Google

Raed, also known as Ray, is a Google software engineer, currently living in New York City. Before Google, Raed worked at Intel on developing internal programmatic solutions, and at Cambium Networks, a former Motorola Solutions division, as a systems architect. Raed is passionate about prototyping and building products from scratch. He did a research project on drones at Illinois Tech to design and prototype a package delivery drone. He was selected to be a speaker at TEDxIIT 2014 to talk about his drones work and how he envisions the future of this technology. Raed was also a competitor and a winner of multiple programming competitions (Hackathons). Raed transferred in August 2012 to Illinois Tech in Chicago, coming from Damascus University.  He graduated in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. At Illinois Tech, he launched Syrian Club, a student organization that hosted cultural events, and was the president of Sigma Nu Tau entrepreneurship honor society.

Yaman Aboujaib
Aboujaib for renewable energy and electronics ( AFREE )

As a boy , Yaman liked to discover how things around him worked . This interest blossomed into a passion, which led him to study electrical power engineering with a focus on renewable energies at Damascus University in Syria.
Yaman made his big step by being the first Syrian to win Stars of science competition in 2015 with his invention Glean - water & energy efficient washing machine – .
He has been captivated by the potential for solar energy to change the world which has made him choose ‘ solar water pumping system ’ as a graduation project .
Yaman has been chosen as One of the best five Arab innovators under 35 by MIT technology review and One of three Syrian candidates to represent Syria at the Ten outstanding young persons award in scientific and technology development field.

George Batah
Investment Analyst at RCP Advisors

George Batah is a young professional and Syrian activist who moved to the U.S. from Damascus. He currently lives and work in Chicago. Besides his career in finance, Batah actively advocates, speaks and fundraises for causes like Education, Humanitarian Relief and Women Empowerment. In 2015, he led a successful petition to increase the number of refugees admitted by the US, and was invited to speak at the White House about the cause. His work has been featured on CNN, Washington Post, The Atlantic and Huffington Post among others. Eventually, his efforts led to the administration's decision to increase the refugee cap and humanitarian aids to Syria. George writes regularly for the Huffington Post and is the co-founder of “Syrian Youths Empowerment”, an initiative to empower and help Syrian high school students in Syria and neighboring countries.

Jihad Issa
Software Engineer at Business Intelligence Company

Jihad ISSA is a software engineer at Business Intelligence Company which is the developing and operating company of SHAMRA.SY project, the first Syrian search engine. jihad is a member of web development team working on analyzing, designing, and implementing front-end and back-end services and applications.
Jihad also a member of the academic staff, lecturer in tishreen university since 1999. teaching coursesrelating to programming fundamentals, system analysis, designing and implementing databases,designing and managing computer networks.
Jihad has a 17 years experience in building web solutions, MIS projects, and other IT fields projects. in addition to working as trainer at SCS and many other training centers.Jihad has a 4 years experience as a trainer and a supervisor in SOI (Syrian Olympiad of informatics) , and a member of the scientific jury in 2010 , also a coach for multiple teams in SCPC .

Sami Ismail
Co-Founder \ CEO at Intellect

Sami Ismail is a services and tech entrepreneur since 2010, he founded along with his partners a number of service and tech companies in Syria, some of which grew and succeeded, like Findbook, they enjoyed significant growth rates and were able to cover the entire Syrian market till 2013, and in Intellect Events, they have organized a number of very prestigious and high quality business events in Syria since 2011, like EK Conference that were able to attract high caliber entrepreneurship speakers from more than 9 countries world wide. In addition, he's the marketing and branding manager at an award winning advertising agency in Damascus Direct Line. Also Sami talked about experience impact on entrepreneurship success in TEDxRoma 2015, and he conducted three research papers about entrepreneurship published in the Higher Institute of Business Administration Library in Damascus.

Eyad Al-Akkad
Software Engineer

Eyad Al-Akkad, System Designer and Tech Entrepreneur. He Co/Founded several startups. Managing Partner and Senior System Analyst at V-Group for Technology Solutions and a Product Developer at Apliman. Previously he worked at several technology companies. 

Eyad holds a B.Sc in Software Engineering, he has an experience in informatics and technology field for more than 6 years by contributing in designing software systems, smart algorithms, and implementing new ideas that helps in developing the product.

He Co-Organized TEDxYPU, the first TEDx event in his country Syria. Also, he participated in organizing several events for the community.

Tawfiq Alnhlawi
ICT Assistant at UNDP

Tawfiq Al-Nehlawi is a specialist in web and information technology, had more than 8 years of experience in working with ICT departments of International Organizations in Syria like Municipal Administration Modernization Programme Funded by EU and currently with the United Nation Development Programme, in addition, he is a co-founder of Guestra a web development and graphic design agency and he’s a member of Comic characters’ team HomelessPro. He holds a bachelor's degree in Information Technology from Syrian Virtual University, and currently he is working on his Master’s degree in Web Science. In addition, He had experience in Training web technologies and design training courses, moreover, he worked as Technical Teacher in Middle institute of information Technology at the Ministry of Higher Education. He is very interesting and an active participant in the entrepreneurship community events and activities.  

Bashar Hobbi
Monitoring assistant WFP

Development practitioner, advocates for youth empowerment and engagement Bashar has 8 years of extensive experience in planning and implementing projects with more than 12 companies, NGOs, international organizations and youth led initiatives as well as participation in various international events and conferences as speaker or panelist. He currently works in M&E division in UNWFP Syria, in parallel with being "A World At School" Global Youth Ambassador, the MENA region focal point for DRR in UNMGCY and a Co-founder in different upcoming initiatives

He believes that investing in youth will make the Syrian community more resilient and powerful in the recovery and reconstruction phases that are yet to come he is a graduate from Damascus University, Business Administration Department

Omar Al-Khiami
National President in Junior Chamber International Syria

Omar AL-KHIAMI held several leadership positions in NGOs and volunteering Groups in Syria for more than ten years. In addition, he has a record of accomplishments and awards. In the same time while volunteering, he worked with many companies in different sectors, which enabled him to see the work of the various management methods and models.Omar AL-KHIAMI established and managed many companies and NGOs (db. Syria Company, Raya Lingo Company, VOOM BSC, Farah association, IGive, and Phoenix Advisory). He holds a practicing negotiator certificate from George Mason University (USA), graduate of the Academy of digital media Literacy (AUB). In addition, he is a member in Arab Union of the Internet (Beirut) and is currently the National President of JCI Syria

Muhannad Oukal

Dr. Muhannad Adnan Oukal is the founder and chairman of ALTANMYA Group, which consists of ALTANMYA - Education & Development, ALTANMYA - Consulting & Auditing, and ALTANMYA- Technology Solutions.Dr. Oukal has obtained PhD in Financial Risk Management from New York University in 2013 and a Master degree in Islamic Economic from American University of Technology in 2009, and he is now a Master candidate in Accounting at Al-Jinan University. Dr. Oukal holds many internationally recognized certifications as: Certified Trainer, CFC, Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance, CIB, CIPA, SCPA, and Int’l Commercial Arbitration from Canadian Sudanese Collage. Dr. Muhannad Oukal is a Member in the American Institute of Financial Consultants.Dr. Oukal has participated in the success of Economic Days, Startup Weekend, iGive Mini-MBA Program, and he was recognized for his achievements in providing over 5,000 voluntary training hours for students of different sectors and universities in Syria & Lebanon.

Event Sponsors, and Partners

The Startup Weekend Youth Of Damascus team is grateful for the support of local community partners without whom this event would not be possible.
Learn how to become a sponsor here.

Strategic Partner




Community Sponsor

Organizing Team

Techstars Startup Weekend Damascus is 100% led by volunteer community leaders.
Learn how to get involved here

  • Rafik
  • Majd
  • Kinda
  • Roudain
  • Omar


Rafik Takieddin
Business Process for SAP Influence Team

Tech enthusiastic, Studies Business informatics, Works in Business Process Mangement

Event Staff

Eyad Al-Akkad

Omar aljubbah

Bassel AlMadani

Farah Ramadan

May Massijeh

Ghalia Turki

Nadine Ghannoum

Rama Nahawandi

Mohammad Alhamwi

Oday Alhamwi

Ghalia Shebib

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