Abdallah Absi

Ashoka Fellow
Lebanon
Fellow Since 2016

Citation

This profile was prepared when Abdallah Absi was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Abdallah is creating an enabling environment for innovation across sectors and countries of the Arab region. He is transforming the region from one plagued with conflict and strife to one that contributes to the global innovation and knowledge production arena. Abdallah strengthens and expands the Arab entrepreneurship ecosystem and encourages the emergence of more youth entrepreneurs who contribute to the Arab World’s social, economic, cultural and environmental fields. Abdallah is achieving this through democratizing entrepreneurs’ access to finance at an early stage of their start-up life and launch phases. Through launching the first ever open Arab Crowdfunding platform, Abdallah is mobilizing the Arab crowds and Diaspora to understand what entrepreneurship is about, support and invest in Arab entrepreneurs’ creativity and innovation. Through his platform, Abdallah educates and leads the crowd as well as traditional funding organizations to channel the abundant philanthropy money in the Arab region and re-direct it from charity to empower early stage entrepreneurs, who have limited access to resources and promise long lasting impact and change. In doing so, Abdallah creates access to innovative ideas and offers an easy, trusted and reliable access to young, new innovators.

Abdallah is architecting and tipping a new sector. He is changing the way traditional funders access new innovations. He uses the latter to combat the dryness as well as the bureaucracy of traditional development channels. The power of his idea has the ability to change the later structure through matching between existing funders (such as The World Bank and HIVOS) and potential projects that are spotted using his platform through a partnership between Zoomaal and the latter monetary institutions. This crowd-following investment mechanism has the potential to tip a new sector where reaching out to innovators becomes more democratized and effective. This matching mechanism requires Abdallah to enhance the infrastructure of his platform, which he is pursuing through attracting 2M$ worth-investments relying primarily on his success story of having the platform attract 100 different projects that worth 1.3 M$.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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