Past event…

Event Ended

IT Plaza, Mazzeh

What is Startup Weekend Damascus?

Startup Weekend Damascus is an intense 54-hour event where local entrepreneurs, developers, designers, marketers, product managers, startup enthusiasts and anyone interested in building a business and help the local community will come together to share ideas, form teams, and launch startups.

Why Are you Doing This?
The event aims to spot the light on entrepreneurship and its importance for the Syrian youth to create their own opportunities, control their destiny in an uncertain future and unleash their creativity in the time their country needs it most. Most importantly entrepreneurship is the hope and key factor for the Syrian youth to contribute proactively and shape the future of their country.

Organizing Startup Weekend in Damascus, in the context of the intense and hard situations currently in Syria is a challenge in itself. Yet the importance of the event to draw the attention of local and global community to the untapped talent and creativity of the Syrian youth makes this challenge worth to be undertaken. One aspect of the country that has not been destroyed is the creativity and willingness of its youth to build a better future of development and prosperity. Please help us by joining and being part of this great event!

Who Are You?
We are a group of Syrian youths enthusiast about startups and entrepreneurship. In partnership with Wikilogia, an open community of makers, doers and dreamers, we aim to organize the first Startup Weekend event in the country, as a part of a larger vision of bootstrapping an entrepreneurial ecosystem led by youth challenging the hard circumstances.

ما هو ستارت أب ويكند دمشق؟

ستارت أب ويكند دمشق هو حدث من 54 ساعة نشاط مكثفة حيث يجتمع رواد أعمال محليون، مطوروا وب، مصممون، خبراء تسويق، مديروا إنتاج، أناس متحمسون لبدء شركات ناشئة، وأي شخص مهتم ببدء عمل أو شركة ومساعدة المجتمع المحلي. يجتمع هؤلاء معاً ليتشاركوا الأفكار، يشكلوا الفرق ويطلقوا شركات ناشئة.

ما هو الهدف من تنظيم هذا الحدث؟
يهدف الحدث إلى تسليط الضوء على ريادة الأعمال وأهميتها للشباب السوري ليصنعوا فرصهم بأنفسهم ويقرروا مصيرهم الخاص بهم في ظل مستقبل مجهول ويطلقوا العنان لإبداعهم في الوقت الذي تحتاج إليه بلادهم أكثر من أي وقت آخر. وريادة الأعمال هي الأمل الأكبر والعامل الأساس الذي يمكن الشباب السوري من المشاركة بشكل فاعل في مواجهة المصاعب القادمة وبناء مستقبل بلدهم.

تنظيم Startup Weekend Damascus في ظل هذه الظروف والتحديات الصعبة التي تمر فيها سوريا يعد تحدياً في حد ذاته. ولكن أهمية هذا الحدث من لفت لانتباه المجتمع المحلي والعالمي إلى المواهب الرائعة والخلاقة غير المستثمرة لدى الشباب السوري، هذه الأهمية الأمر يستحق خوض التحدي. أحد جوانب هذا البلد التي لم تدمر بعد هو إبداع وتوق شبابه إلى بناء مجتمع أفضل بالتقدم والازدهار. ونأمل أن تساعدونا من خلال الإنضمام إلينا لتكونوا جزءاً من هذا الحدث الكبير!

من يقوم بهذا الحدث؟
نحن مجموعة من الشباب السوري المتحمس للريادة والأعمال الناشئة. نهدف بالشراكة مع ويكيلوجيا، وهو مجتمع تشاركي مفتوح المصدر من الصناع والمبدعين والحالمين، نهدف إلى تنظيم حدث ستارت أب ويكند في بلدنا، كجزء من رؤيتنا الكبيرة في نشر البيئة الريادية التي سيقودها الشباب لمواجهة الظروف الصعبة.



Feb 18
  • Registration Starts
  • Breakfast & Networking
  • Welcome & Speakers
  • Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming and discussing ideas
  • Start to formalize teams and take an inventory of skills. Be honest, and direct about what resources and skills are needed for the weekend. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow
  • Dinner
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Feb 19
  • Arrive, breakfast & coffee
  • Teams formed and setting up workspace for the weekend
  • Speaker
  • Call for needs & skills
  • Lunch
  • Coaches help teams one-on-one. They are here to help!
  • Speaker
  • Mid weekend check-in, status reports, call for help
  • Finished for the day. You may stay and work as late as the venue will allow


Feb 20
  • Arrive, breakfast & coffee
  • Call for help (this is self motivated, so don’t be shy)
  • Speaker
  • Lunch
  • Coaches arrive… ASK QUESTIONS
  • Gut check. Start prepping for presentations
  • Judging & awards
  • Wrapup
  • Go home!
Strategic Sponsor
Platinum Sponsors
Silver Sponsors

Ahmad Bassel Alkheshi

Deputy Minister at MOCT Syria   |  LinkedInGoogle+

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).

Ziad Sabah

Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Syria   |  LinkedIn

Ziad Sabah is the Chief Marketing Officer at MTN Syria, which he joined in 2006. He has been working in the field of mobile telecommunications since 2003. He Carries an MBA from the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

Born in Beirut in 1973, Ziad graduated from the American University of Beirut with a Bachelor in Computers and Communications Engineering.

Abdulsalam Haykal (online)

CEO of Haykal Group   |  LinkedInGoogle+

Abdulsalam Haykal is CEO of Haykal Group, with activities in print and online media, enterprise software, mobile, and payment technology, and commercial representation. Haykal serves on the Board of Trustees of the American University of Beirut, and of University of Kalamoon in Syria, and on the President's Advisory Board of the EARTH University in Costa Rica. In 2009, he was named a "Young Global Leader" by the World Economic Forum. In 2010, he represented Syria at President Obama's Entrepreneurship Summit. Haykal is the co-founder and President of the Syrian Young Entrepreneurs Association, and helped start several other NGOs focusing on education and youth empowerment and served on their boards. In 2013, he led the creation of Syrian Entrepreneurs Worldwide, a virtual eco-system to empower Syrian entrepreneurship in Syria and in the diaspora's adopted homes, enabling its contribution to the country's future. He holds a BA in Political Science from the American University of Beirut and an MA in International Relations from SOAS/University of London, and attended Harvard Kennedy School executive education.

Leen Al Zaibak (online)

Co-founder & Director of Jusoor   |  LinkedIn

Leen is an accomplished, MA-educated fundraising professional with expertise in development, stakeholder relations, youth program management, policy advising, event planning and marketing – and demonstrated success in meeting fundraising targets. She is experienced in developing and sustaining strategic multi-level partnerships and liaising with various stakeholders, energetic leader able to recruit and motivate a multi-skilled team to achieve desired goals, and an engaging speaker on education and philanthropy with recent engagements at the Royal Ontario Museum and Institute for Philanthropy (New York City). She is Co-chair of the 2014 annual fundraising event “ROM Prom,” a Young Patrons’ Circle-organized gala.

Leen grew up in Toronto where she received her Honorary Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Trinity College, University of Toronto, Canada. After working for the Ontario Attorney General for two years, she pursued her post graduate studies and received her Masters degree in International Relations from the University of Manchester in England. Following her graduation, Leen moved to Damascus for two years where she worked as manager on a World Bank supported project at a Syrian NGO. Leen currently serves as a policy advisor to the Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services.


Rania Succar (online)

Head of Brand Solutions - North America at Google   |  LinkedInGoogle+

Rania recently joined Google where she is part of the Global Display Advertising team. Prior to that, Rania was an engagement manager with Mckinsey & Company and was based out of the Chicago office (2008-2011) and the Dubai office (2003-2005). While at McKinsey, Rania advised clients in the financial services and telecom industries on growth and M&A strategy. She also supported Middle Eastern governments on labor market and economic development policy. Prior to joining Mckinsey, Rania was part of Merrill Lynch’s investment banking division in New York, where she worked with global communications equipment and IT services companies on financing and M&A strategy and execution.

Rania co-founded the Harvard Arab Alumni Association (HAAA) in 2001 and served as Co-President and President through May 2008. Rania received an MBA from the Harvard Business School, an MPA in International Development from the Harvard Kennedy School and an AB in economics from Harvard College. Rania currently lives in Chicago in the United States.


Fadi Mujahid

Co-founder & CEO of Game Power 7   |  LinkedIn

Fadi Mujahid is Co-founder - along with Spacetoon Media Group - of Game Power 7, the first online gaming company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the company plays pivotal role in promoting the region as an attractive market for game developers. Game Power 7 developed, localized and published many Massively Multiplayer Online (MMO) and MMO Role Playing Games (MMORPG), such as Rappelz - the top MMORPG in the Arab World in 2008, which was localized and tweaked by Game Power 7 to respect local cultural and religious sensitivities.

A specialist in applying ICT in human development areas, Fadi has worked with international organizations, both as a staff member and as consultant, accumulating extensive knowledge in system analysis, networking and telecom. He was previously a consultant for the United Nations Development Programme and the German Agency for Technical Cooperation.

Ammar Joukhadar

Founder & MD of Elixir   |  LinkedIn

Dr. Ammar Joukhadar is Founder and MD of Elixir for Intelligent Software, Head Master of Artificial Intelligence Department of 2003-2007, Vice President of Higher Commission of Scientific Research from 2007-2008, and National Project Director of Governmental Service Reform & Modernization Program (GSR) in UNDP-Syria from 2008-2013.

Dr. Ammar led the development of several projects in the domain of banking, billing, ERP, and e-government including Eixir framework - a framework for building intelligent enterprise business solutions in two steps "specify and run".

Aya Kinj

Founder, GM at GWA Group   |  LinkedIn

Aya Kinj is the Founder and GM of GWA Group, a software and IT services company specifically in the education field. The company's main project is The Educational Gate Portal, a free educational website offering interactive services to students in Syria and the Middle East, it is the winner of many regional and global prizes.

Aya has a 13 years experience in managing regional IT operations as a Chief Operations Officer. She holds an MBA with marketing specialisation from Higher institute of Business Administration (HIBA) supported Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona & Bordeaux, France Universities.

Omar ALKhimai

Vice President at Junior Chamber International Syria   |  LinkedIn

Omar AlKhiami hold 3 diplomas in Public Relation, Marketing and Political Science Diplomacy. He is an international trainer certified for many NGO’s and governmental organization in many topics at Business Administration and especially at Public Relation from the perspective of private companies and government institutions as he also holds a Negotiator Practitioner of George Mason University.

AlKhiami is a volunteer in many community organizations for more than 10 years and holds 3 international awards in the field of volunteering and the founder of many teams and youth groups in addition to Farah for development association and I Give initiative. And he is now a National Vice President for JCI Syria.

Mahmoud Al Moufti

Broadband Specialist, MTN Syria   |  LinkedIn

A Syrian blogger, he works at MTN Syria (for 12 years), managing the Broadband products and services. Mahmoud is an active member in TED community and a licensed TEDx organizer.

He attended the One Young World Summit 2013 in Johannesburg and he became the Syrian ambassador of One Young World organization in Damascus. He volunteered in many projects, he is a member in Taghreedat international community for building active Arabic digital content, and he is the social media team leader within Syrian Youth for Peace movement.

Hazem A. Haykal

General Manager at TMS   |  LinkedIn

Hazem Haykal is the managing director at TMS ARABIA, a telecommunication company specialized in value added services and platforms.

Hazem raised the commercial capacity and technical ability of TMS to put it among the leading players in the in the MENA region within no time. Wide knowledge of the market needs and deep customer behavior analysis are on top of the factors that made that success.

Hazem helped a few startups, and was involved in startup events since 2010. He sits on board of TMS ARABIA, Transtek, and a member at SYEA, PMI, and GSMA

Karim Samakie (online)

Investment Associate at Oasis500   |  Google+

Karim Samakie currently holds the position of Investment Associate at Oasis500, a leading early stage and seed investment company in the MENA region. He is involved in training, coaching and preparing entrepreneurs establishing startups in the ICT sector. In addition to that, he is also involved in assisting companies in raising funding and managing relations with investors. Karim works with more than 60 companies that are part of Oasis500’s portfolio. Throughout his career, he has accumulated over 7 years of experience in different departments within the banking sector, from relationship management to operational management.

Karim holds a Management Certificate in Business Administration and a Bachelor of Commerce Degree with concentrations in Finance, International Business, and Entrepreneurship from McGill’s Desautels Faculty of Management.

Hani A. Tarabichi (online)

Corporate Training, Coaching, Entrepreneurship, Consulting.   |  LinkedInGoogle+

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 taught private sector 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 is teaching Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Leadership Management, Marketing Management, and Business ethics courses.

Currently, Hani have several articles pending publishing and is conducting research on family business and startups in Finland.

Hani received a double B.S in Computer Science and General Business from Eastern Michigan University in 1991. In 1994, Hani obtained a Master of Arts degree in Economics, Trade, Development, and Planning from Eastern Michigan University.

Anwar Almojarkesh (online)

CEO & Founder of Braci Inc.   |  LinkedIn

Anwar Almojarkesh is the Founder & CEO of Braci Inc., a company that produces specialized bracelets for the hearing impaired. He is an Electronics and Telecommunications engineer graduated from Jordan University of Science and Technology, where his graduate project was recharging mobile phones wirelessly using only battery with high efficiency.

Fond of competitions, Anwar was one of top five teams to get a 40,000€ investment in Slush event in Helsinki, Finland in Nov 2013. He won the First place in Tech Square in Prague Czech Republic and was selected as one of the team to get grant in Start Up Sauna in Helsinki, Finland. In 2012, Anwar won first prize for the Imagine Cup competition in Jordan and seventh place in the Worldwide Imagine Cup competition in Australia, he also won first place in Creative Business Cup 2012 in Jordan. In addition, he was a speaker in TEDx Amman, TEDx Kings Academy and TEDx Irbid.

Kinan Sweidan (online)

Co-founder & CEO of mdLeaf   |  LinkedInGoogle+

Kinan Sweidan is co-founder of mdLeaf, an online patient check-in software (Chicago). He also founded Shooofi, a social recommendation website for events and places in Syria (2010-2013). Kinan is an expert in SaaS, social networking, and location-based products.

He holds a BS in Electronic Engineering from Damascus University and an MS in Computer Science from the University of North Texas.

Ahmad Sufian Bayram
Al-Amjad Tawfiq Isstaif
Anas Alsabe
Muhammad Al-Syrwan
Tamer Shlash
Tarek Sheikh Al-Shbab
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